Today in Hip Hop History: October 22, 2012
4 years later, this modern classic has become less of the former yet undeniably more of the latter.
In 2012, Kendrick Lamar, aka K Dot, released his second studio album, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, through Top Dawg Entertainment and Aftermath Entertainment. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City followed Lamar’s 2011 debut album, Section.80, and serves as his major label debut. The album contains production from Dr. Dre, Top Dawg, DJ Khalil, DJ Dahi, Scoop DeVille, Pharrell Williams, Terrace Martin and several others. It also features vocal contributions from Jay Rock, Drake, MC Eight, Anna Wise and Dr. Dre.
Lamar took inspiration from his home town of Compton within the album; the cohesive project is essentially a day in the life of Kendrick Lamar during his upbringing. The story goes: The good kid attempts to escape the mad city by avoiding its negative influence, but it continually catches up and pulls him back into its influence. The album cover features a young K Dot with two of his uncles and his grandfather. Their eyes are censored, to symbolically express that the album is expressed solely through his eyes.
The production on the album fuses contemporary hip hop with classic West Coast vibes, courtesy of none other than the forefather of G-Funk, Dr. Dre. Lyrically, the album discusses a range of topics and issues: gang violence, crime, economic conditions, women and street relations.
Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is arguably the best conceptually holistic album released in the past decade.
The album received phenomenal critical reviews. XXL claimed it as “one of the most cohesive bodies of work in recent rap memory.” It was named the best album of 2012 by music publications from BBC, Complex, Pitchfork, New York and Fact. Complex declared Good Kid, M.A.A.D City as one of the 25 classic hip hop albums of the past 10 years.
Furthermore, the album earned Kendrick several awards: BET album of the year and 5 Grammy Award nominations, not to mention a Grammy snub of Best Rap Album. It peaked at #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 and #1 on the US Top Rap Albums Chart, among several other chart topping positions. As of 2013, the album is RIAA Certified Platinum status. Indubitably, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City remains one of the greatest hip hop albums in recent history, and possibly of all time.