Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city is, thus far, the best-reviewed rap album of 2012. The production is as fantastic as it is eclectic (13+ producers contributed), the guest spots (including members of Lamar’s Black Hippy Collective, neurotic comrade-in-arms Drake, and elder statesman/mentor Dr. Dre) are on point, and the vastness of the lyrical world that Lamar creates is dizzying. The album, referred to by Lamar as a “short film,” serves as documentation of the 25 year-old rapper’s come-up in one of hip-hop’s most notorious neighborhoods: Compton.
In contrast to the gun-toting machismo in the lyrics of N.W.A. and its members’ later music, Kendrick focuses on the deeply personal elements of his maturation, most notably religion, family, loss of virginity, alcoholism and peer pressure. In the face of the previously-existing Compton aesthetic, it’s jarring, even awkward at times (the two minute-long baptism skit at the end of “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst” is particularly unsettling). The young MC succeeded in one way– making one of the year’s best albums– but if extreme awkwardness was his only goal, he definitely could have stepped his game up. Here are five suggestions that would make good kid, m.A.A.d citythe most awkward thing in music since the Janet Jackson Superbowl faux pas.
1: Audio of Kendrick’s participation in the other Christian sacraments (“Do you, Kendrick Lamar, take the rap game to be your lawfully wedded wife?”)
2: A harebrained, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy-style short video that accompanies the album and reveals Kendrick’s true vision. It would probably feature him posing in many ponderous positions, and would end with him, Jay Rock, Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul riding off into the sunset singing “California Love.”
4: An entire song written from the point of view of Steve Carell’s character in The 40 Year Old Virgin, like the “put that pussy on a pedestal” line in “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe.” Ideas include: “Grab a woman’s breast, feels like a bag of sand/I’m fabricating sex-scapades while playing poker hands,” “I make them hoes say ‘oh, you’re nailing me! cool!’/makes me so thankful i got my chest waxed, fool,” and “I need poon, I’m talkin’ genital connections/ex-lesbians like my girlish complexion.”
5: A Nevermind-esque album cover featuring baby Kendrick and his exposed penis (see above)
As awkward as it may be, good kid, m.A.A.d city, is one of the more unique hip-hop albums of 2012 and an enthralling listen. Stream it here.