Published on October 22nd, 2013 | by Boman12l0
Kendrick Lamar and Good Kid, M.a.a.d City a Year Later
Damn what a year Kendrick Lamar has had. A year ago, many of us thought the release of Good Kid, M.a.a.d City was the climax. The culmination of a story Kendrick has been trying to tell for the last three years. Kendrick’s major label debut was intelligent, conceptual, accessible, more importantly it propelled Kendrick to a grand stage and made very few sacrifices. Songs “Bitch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice” became radio hits that were not filled with vapid and empty lyrics but with genuine emotion and thought. We could not have known back then, but Good Kid, M.a.a.d City was only the beginning of Kendrick’s rise to the top.
For many, the album delivered and even the most jaded cynical fans had to admit Kendrick had something special. Good Kid M.a.a.d City was met with universal praise from both fans and critics, many throwing around the word “classic.” A year later no Hip-Hop release has been praised as much or had the same impact of Kendrick’s debut. The album was damn good back then and still damn good today. As time goes on, claims of “Classic” status seem less hyped-fueled poorly articulated reaction and more an accepted intelligent conclusion. Releases from J. Cole, Wale, Kanye, Drake and even Jay Z have all had to live in the shadow of Good Kid and the receptions of their albums have been worst because of it.
The further we got away from the release, the less it looked as if Kendrick was slowing down. His feature appearances on tracks for the likes of A$AP Rocky, Big Sean, T.I. and Schoolboy Q consistently overshadow the work of peers. His verse on Big Sean’s “Control” made him a national talking point creating headlines on major news and gossip sites like Gawker, Buzzfeed and the Huffintonpost. While every rapper north of the equator was being sold the story they had some moral obligation to respond to the record. It sparked debates in and out of Hip-Hop. Even the most adverse music listener had a cursory knowledge of Kendrick because of his verse. Kendrick was a rapper making news not because of controversy or who he was dating but because of his music. The effects of “Control” are still being felt as many still ask who will step to answer Kendrick’s challenge.
Perhaps what even more amazing is the fact that Kendrick has done this all while on tour. Kendrick and TDE have been on the road almost constantly since before the release of his album. The Good Kid, M.a.a.d City Tour feature more than forty dates across North America and Europe, including fifteen dates at various music festivals. Kendrick has performed in small venues to sold out stadiums, Ali rocking on his laptop to full bands blasting “M.a.a.d City,” going on earlier in to day to being the last act of night. Kendrick’s presence alone is enough, as fans are already singing his lyrics before he has the chance to raise his mic. Currently, he is opening for Kanye on the Yeezus tour. After that, he will join Eminem on his 2014 Rapture tour across New Zealand and Australia. There are few act sought after more in Hip-hop right now than Kendrick and there are good reasons for that.
If anything, Kendrick is even bigger than when Good Kid, M.a.a.d City released. He did not need to run to the studio and bust out another album to ensure his place at the top. Very few have come close to comparing quality wise to his album and even fewer can compare his work ethic when it comes to touring. Yes he’s got a little arrogant with some of his latest guest work, but he has the body of work to back it up and his features are showstoppers that continue to marvel fans in new and exciting ways. It’s clear, Kendrick earned his spot and Good Kid, M.a.a.d City is worthy of placement among the greats.