Thursday, 27 December 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #342 - Kendrick Lamar, "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

The age I am, I don't hear about fucking scenes or collectives these days until they're a Sunday Times article away from being on The One Show. So I know nothing of Los Angeles group Black Hippy. I get all hopeful of a Native Tongues of the West Coast with blunted angles. But there are plenty of niggas and bitches strewn everywhere. Is it just me? Or does he sound a bit like Westwood? Also his actual surname is Duckworth, which tickles me alright. Doesn't found very Compton, do it?

However sweet the sounds behind, however much Kendrick positions himself as a "sinner", a lover in the cosmos not a fighter, it's hard to warm to a track title like "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe". Sounds a bit like G-Funk, the South Central genome is evident. There are snippets of dialogue and phone messages that could have come straight out of "Killer of Sheep".

"I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel tower/So I can fuck the world for seven-two hours".

I like the number 72, one of my favourites. Even when he says about sending "a lead shower" to those who don't respect his mind, I don't know if I'm fearful of him. "I never was a gangbanger/ I mean, I was never stranger to the folk either" he explains on "The Art of Peer Pressure" over a track that rumbles and clicks on like a brooding locomotive.

"Money Trees" has a beautiful treated background that could've leaked out of a My Bloody Valentine recording session while he spools out more observations about Compton life. "good kid" has an electric, jazzy feel to it - like a version of Kanye that is able to add something to the R&B heroism he samples rather than just trying to give himself some depth. Then "mAAd city" gives the Hitchcock-staccato, grime-infused flipside to the sunnier brass sounds before MC Eiht steps out of the Nineties Compton to lend some historical heft.

"Sing About Me, I'm Dying Of Thirst" sounds like it is a big opus sitting across the album. I can't give it the attention it deserves right now; but there is a Grandma bit at the end about redemption after all the baller stories up to that point. "Compton" closes it off with Kanye brass stabs and an appearance from Dre, a man who's haunted a couple of the tracks anyhow. Kendrick fits in quite neatly.

"Look who's responsible/For taking Compton international!"

Rating: Curved out of Compton

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