Saturday Sample Session- Good Kid M.A.A.D City

TDE Frontman Kendrick Lamar released ‘Good Kid M.A.A.D City’ in October 2012. Nine years later, the project is still making history. The Source wrote an article a few months ago congratulating the rapper for surpassing the ‘Emimen Show’.

What does this mean? Kendrick Lamar’s album is now the longest running hip hop album in Billboard history. Good Kid M.A.A.D City has remained on the charts longer than any other hip hop album in history. But it’s not surprising.

Good Kid M.A.A.D city was a masterpiece. And even though he’s released two albums since then it’s still my favorite. The album features naturalistic skits that dramatize the characters’ limitations.  Jon Caramanica of The New York Times finds them to be a part of the album’s “narrative strategy”, with “prayers and conversations and different voices and recollections and interludes, all in service of one overarching story: Mr. Lamar’s tale of ducking Compton’s rougher corners to find himself artistically.”

Pitchfork‘s Jayson Greene feels that they reinforce the album’s theme of “the grounding power of family”, interpreting “family and faith” to be “the fraying tethers holding Lamar back from the chasm of gang violence that threatens to consume him. I usually don’t like too many skits on an album, but Good Kid MA.A.D City is the exception. The skits help set the tone and tell a story. And the skits that include his parents are extremely funny.

Good Kid

Good Kid is one of the dopest songs on the album. Kendrick shares the experience of the average kid in Compton who doesn’t bang, and how they survive:

Mass hallucination baby
Ill education baby
Want to reconnect with your elations?
This is your station baby

Look inside these walls and you see them having withdrawals
Of a prisoner on his way
Trapped inside your desire
To fire bullets that stray
Track attire just tell you I’m tired and ran away
I should ask a choir, “What do you require
To sing a song that acquire me to have faith?”
As the record spin I should pray
For the record I recognize that I’m easily prey
I got ate alive yesterday
I got animosity building
It’s probably big as a building
Me jumping off of the roof
Is just me playing it safe
But what am I supposed to do?
When the topic is red or blue
And you understand that I ain’t
But know I’m accustomed to
Just a couple that look for trouble
And live in the street with rank
No better picture to paint than me walking from bible study
And called his homies because he had said he noticed my face
From a function that tooken place
They was wondering if I bang
Step on my neck and get blood on your Nike checks
I don’t mind because one day you’ll respect
The good kid, m.A.A.d. city

The second verse is just as brilliant. Red and Blue is a continuous theme, but for verse 2 the colors represent police lights:

All I see is strobe lights
Blinding me in my hindsight
Finding me by myself
Promise me you can help
In all honesty I got time to be copacetic until
You had finally made decision to hold me against my will
It was like a head-on collision that folded me standing still
I can never pick out the difference
And grade a cop on the bill
Every time you clock in the morning
I feel you just want to kill
All my innocence while ignoring my purpose
To persevere as a better person
I know you heard this and probably in fear
But what am I supposed to do?
When the blinking of red and blue
Flash from the top of your roof
And your dog has to say woof
And you ask, “Lift up your shirt”
‘Cause you wonder if a tattoo
Of affiliation can make it a pleasure to put me through
Gang files, but that don’t matter because the matter is racial profile
I heard them chatter, “He’s probably young but I know that he’s down”
Step on his neck as hard as your bullet proof vest
He don’t mind, he know he’ll never respect
The good kid, m.A.A.d. city

We Live In Brooklyn

How can you not love this song? So I was listening to the album a few weeks ago and I heard the sample for the first time. I’m almost ashamed to admit, but it’s true. In my defense, I’ve heard a more blatant use of the Roy Ayers tune on Smif-N-Wessun’s Home Sweet Home.

But anyway, here it is:

What is your favorite song on Good Kid M.A.A.D City?

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