Complex Magazine just delivered an amazing article (written by Insanul Ahmed) covering Kendrick Lamar, and I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
I’ve been wanting to write about Kendrick Lamar for a long time now. My close friends know how much I respect this guy. But as many times as I’ve tried to write about his previous album, my words could never do him or the album the proper justice. I wanted my review to match the quality that I heard in the music—and after realizing that I couldn’t review the album as well as I wanted to, I’ve been on a quest to become a better writer and reviewer ever since.
Ali (Kendrick’s mixing and recording engineer):
Watching Kendrick is like watching a master chess player playing five games at one time. He can do five songs in one day. He’ll start one song, then he’ll be like, ‘I’ma start on this.’ ‘I’ma go back to the old song.’ ‘I’ma start on this.’ There’s just so much going on in his head.
good kid, m.A.A.d city is one of my favorite albums of all time — and the fact that it was Kendrick’s introduction to the mainstream world makes it that much better. To step up to the plate, and to his peers, with as much force as that album has, it’s unrivaled.
[…] good kid, m.A.A.d city was more than a great album; it was a landmark event, a modern masterpiece to rival Illmatic, Reasonable Doubt, and Doggystyle. It’s an artistically ambitious, highly personal piece of work: a day in the young artist’s life, encompassing gang culture in his Compton hometown, alcohol, drugs, life, death, God, family, and the pursuit of a girl named Sherane, a “concept album” that managed to sell over 1.2 million copies while making zero creative concessions.
What I enjoy most about Kendrick is that he’s a student of the game. He understands all the ingredients needed to be, not only successful, but also viewed as a threat to the best lyricist out there. I can hear the amount of detail that went into making that album. From his witty, yet conscience lyrics, to the soulful, yet aggresive production, to the interludes that make the whole thing sound like a movie, from the catchy hooks to the imagery used to paint a vivid picture: every second of every track has been carefully thought out.
Nas was quoted in this article:
Kendrick’s an album guy and the album artist has a whole different kind of value. Kendrick is going to be one of the most important writers of our time; dude’s a rhyming animal. Whatever he does will be appreciated, but at the same time he knows he has to bring it.
When Kendrick Lamar delivered a classic with good kid, m.A.A.d city, nobody saw it coming. Now that the whole world is watching, can he outdo himself? […] creating a worthy follow-up is one of rap’s greatest challenges […] the world is waiting to see if he can deliver twice. Expectations are high. After good kid, good simply won’t be good enough.
There’s no guarantee that he can do it again, but I definitely wouldn’t bet against him. This quote lets me know that Kendrick Lamar is prepared for an important follow-up:
He’s still just “getting his ideas down,” but so far Kendrick’s recorded 30 to 40 new songs for the album (he recorded 60 to 70 songs for GKMC). He says he’ll be ready for a fourth quarter release.