Album Review: KDot “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (Track-by-Track)
YO. Your eyes and minds are now being occupied by the words of the almighty, KB.
Lets skip all the formal introductions ..we ain’t meeting the Queen of England or nothin’ like that. We came here to talk about pure, 100%, unadulterated HIP-HOP. Speaking of pure, 100%, unadulterated hip-hop, does the name Kendrick Lamar
Duckworth ring a bell? Or what about KDot? No? ok…..what about “Look Out For Detox”……or “Section.80″……or “Overly Dedicated”? If none of these ring a bell to you, I can bet my bottom dollar you live under a rock, don’t have access to the internet, or you only listen to “radio rap”, A.K.A. the Mainstream. Ok. So lets say you are one of those, (or a mixture of all 3), here’s a way you’ll probably know him: on Drake’s Take Care album. You know “Marvin’s Room” right? ok. At the end of that joint, after seconds of somebody (that’s proally not Drake) playing the piano, there’s a lil “5 second rap” called “Buried Alive” where this kid spits for not too long, but long enough to where you’ll think “damn. who is this?!” well, he’s
Ok, now that all that’s out the way, let me proceed to tell you about this…..masterpiece. Basically, in the words of KDot, “Everybody sit ya bitch ass down and listen to this true mothafuckin’ story told by Kendrick Lamar on Rosecranssss, ya bish.”
This album is probably one of the most intricate stories told since the God MC JayHova dropped “American Gangster.” This concept album, from my opinion, is one of the greatest hip-hop concept albums to date. The story follows a young KDot as he gets a larger dose of the regular male teenage lifestyle: the chasing of one particular girl and the mishaps and adventures that accompany that chase (*sigh*). We’ve all been there before. Well, let me not speak for EVERYbody, cause the stuff KDot talks about in his “chase” makes a regular neighborhood guy like me say “damn. was it worth ALL THAT?” But, his lyrical talent + his immaculate delivery + his storytelling ability + just him in general = one HELL of an album. So here we go, good kid, m.A.A.d (my.Angels on.Angel.dust) (DOPE right??) city.
1.) Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinters Daughter (a hoodrat for you slow ones) – the album opener. Starts off with the sounds of a cassette tape (or VCR) beginning to play, and horns in on somewhat of an eerie prayer (that you NEED to remember). After the prayer is done, the beat smoothly creeps its way into your ears, and i don’t know about you, but when I heard the music start to fade in, I KNEW this was gonna be good. Then, Kendrick begins to explain how he met, and who, to what I understand, is the title’s namesake, Sherane. He met her at a house party, and the girl is bangin’. Typical subject for a male teenage chase. But oh ye of little faith, this one’s different. She and Dot flirt back and forth, but in all of this, there is one line that sticks out to me the most, and basically explains the reason for GKMC to even exist: “17 with nothing but pussy stuck on my mental, my motive was rather sinful.” Typical, but yet answers any question you may have in this album. Anyways, he and Sherane talk over the whole summer, and they get pretty close, down to where sex comes in the picture. Dot even ignores the fact that Sherane has a notable gangbangin’ cousin named Demetrius. But they eventually make a date to meet up, and Dot takes his mom’s keys to her minivan (yes, the one on the deluxe cover), and heads towards Sherane’s house. While driving, she sends him a pic of her tits and he gets even more anxious (almost wrecks). He gets close to her house and can see her waving from the door, but then he’s sees two niggas in black hoodies and he freezes. Then his phone rings. AND IN COME THE SKITS. THE AMAZING, ALMIGHTY SKITS. Basically, his mother calls and asks where’s the car because she needs to get her kids some food. Then PapaDot hollers about some dominoes, and as he and MamaDot argue, he tells her to turn his music back on, cause she’s killing his vibe.
2.) Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – G E N I U S. That “track assist” as i call it, was purely AMAZING. But, overall, chilled out beat, excellent KDot as usual. “I am a sinner, who is probably gonna sin again. Lord forgive me….Lord forgive me, things i don’t understand. Sometimes i need to be alone…..B.D.K.M.V” Next skit: Dot’s homeboy’s tell him to get in the car. They have a pack of Black & Mild’s and a beat CD. They tell him to get his freestyles ready.
3.) Backseat Freestyle – G E N I U S. Yet another amazing track assist. This right here is a banger. Straight heat from beginning to end. One of the hardest tracks Kendrick has ever made. “Martin had a dream…..Kendrick have a dream”
4.) The Art of Peer Pressure – This track continues with Dot and his boys in the car. This is a two-part song; the 1st part is a pretty balanced beat that explains how he’s doing all the things he never does, “but he’s with the homies right now.” Basically, the definition of peer pressure. Then, the 2nd part kicks in, which has a more sinister beat, and explains the going-ons of that day. Basically, he does a lil of everything that day….smokes, drinks, jumps some random niggas, even bumps “Thug Motivation 101,” just because he’s with the homies. Then, they break & enter this house and upon entering, find someone’s in there, so then they buck, get chased by the cops, then buck the cops. Peer pressure. Next skit: the homies all congregate and make a plan of their events for the rest of the evening, and include the fact that Dot wants to go hit Sherane, therefore this is actually BEFORE track 1. They notice that Dot may have hit the wrong blunt, this one being the one laced with “shenanigans,” or cocaine, A.K.A. Angel Dust (peep the album title).
5.) Money Trees (feat. Jay Rock) – Ahhhh. The official “ya bish” track, ya bish. Basically, over a laidback beat, this is a recap of everything that’s happened so far, ya bish. Kendrick talks his home invasion, hittin’ Sherane, and even freestyling with the homies, ya bish. He also may have hinted at catchin’ a lil “sumn sumn” from Sherane…..ya bish. Next skit: MamaDot calls back again and leaves another voicemail, saying that she got another appointment but she still needs her van. Then, you hear an obviously drunk PapaDot singing about MamaDot’s “fat ole ass.” Saying how he basically wants to hit MamaDot real quick because of her “fat ole ass.”
6.) Poetic Justice (feat. Drake) – “Every second, every minute, man I swear that she can get it.” G E N I U S . This is an undercover, lowkey track assist for two reasons: one for the previous skit, which sets a sex-themed, “I really wanna hit so I’ll sing to you if i have to” scene, and two for the possibility of Dot crooning to Sherane, which probably was his pre-planned mission before running into his 2 “friends” (refer to track 1). Now, this is the “gotta get em wet with this one” track, as you have one of the leaders of the “Gotta Get Em Wet Army”, Drake, rapping with KDot. It’s something about the hook….I don’t know, but i love it. Next skit: We now hop back to the end of the first track “…two niggas, two black hoodies…”. You here, who is apperantly one of those two niggas interrogating Kendrick: sounds like Dot refuses to speak or get out of the van cause they prod him to answer the question of where he’s from. Then, they notice that he’s there for Sherane, but still don’t care. They continue to interrogate him until they become fed up and they demand him to get out of the car.
7.) good kid – The first part of the title’s namesake. Now, when I saw Pharrell’s name all over this, I LOST it. I love the Neptunes and this was an amazing Neptunes-produced track (Skateboard P sings on here too!). This begins a new vibe in the album, where we start to notice that Dot is realizing his place and how gang violence, temptation, police, and other normal Compton things are not “where it’s at.” This is basically Kendrick explaining how he was a good, well-raised kid in a crazy enviornment.
8.) m.A.A.d city (feat. MC Eiht) – Now Kendrick gives us that crazy enviornment. Of course, the second part of the title’s namesake. A Sounwave-produced BANGER. “If Pirus & Crips, all got along, they’d probably gun me down by the end of this song. Seem like the whole city go against me. Everytime I’m in the street’s, I hear YAWK. YAWK. YAWK. YAWK.” He continues to talk rap about his existence in a rough enviornment, but this time, he does so in a two-part song. The first part features a knocking, rough beat where he explains an experience at nine where he saw a man get killed, then hints at the fact that he may know who did the killing (but the name was bleeped out, of course.) Then, the second part kicks in, which is where the track changes from modern-day banger to classic, throwback Compton/Westcoast style music. Dot and MC Eiht rap about the different mishaps in Compton, including Dot smoking that laced blunt (which was his first) and how that blunt had him foaming at the mouth (the reason he doesn’t smoke now), and then Dot finishes up by explaining how he’s Compton’s “human sacrifice” and how the city made him an angel on angel dust. Next skit: all of the homies meet up after Dot gets beat up and they try to calm him down and make him feel better by offering him some alcohol.
9.) Swimming Pools (Drank) Extended Version – G E N I U S. Yet another track assist. *sighs* the mainstream KDot is still nice. I ain’t gone explain this one, but I will say that I wish the ignorant minds of our youth would stop looking at this as a “turn up” song. This is a description of the alcohol-inspired demons of Dot’s past. Anyways, THE “extended” PART IS AMAZING. Cause I usually skip the singles on an album but i saw the “extended” so i had to give it a listen….and I’m glad i did. Next skit: “Tha Homies” are together and one comes up with the idea to take KDot home because he doesn’t look so good, and that plan is quickly X’d by the rest of the homies. Then, the OG plan is revealed: they’re going to roll up on the guys who stomp’d out Dot and “pop a few shots, then they gone run opposite ways, fall right into ‘s lap, & he gone tear they ass up. Simple as that.” Sherane, if she is in attendance, is included in the jumping and/or shooting. Then, they spot someone and open fire. They rejoice in their successful attempt, then check to see if everyone is good. Upon their check, they find that Dave is hit. The skit ends with Dave dying in Dot’s arms and Dave’s brother screaming “THESE BITCH ASS NIGGAS KILLED MY BROTHER.“
10.) Sing About Me/Dying of Thirst – This, to me, is the best track(s) on the album. Basically, this is a “play in two acts.” Dot takes on the conversations between him and two people, one with a positive message for Dot, and one with a negative message. The first is, from what I understand, Dave’s brother. He calls Dot to basically recap the events of the night before, and thanks him for holding him and comforting him as he passed on to glory. His brother obviously wants revenge, but is calling to ask Dot for a piece of mind. He sees that the infamous gang wars are somewhat absurd, but states that he is a Blood till the death and that will never change. He asks Dot to promise him that when he makes it big, he tells this story (the entire album). “And if I die before your album drop, I hope-*shots cut him off*” He does get killed before the album drops. SIDENOTE: Correct me if i’m wrong, but this conversation and entire stage of events CLOSELY resembles…..ahh, how can I put this….Yeah. Next, Dot talks to the sister of Keisha (refer to Section.80), and she expresses her dislike in how Dot set her sister out, and reveals that she too is a prostitute. She says she feels wonderful, despite a doctor’s report (implying that she possibly has HIV/
AIDS), and that she’ll “never fade away”……then, her voice fades away into the song…..amazing. Then, Dot finishes up with his entire perspective about death and heaven and says that he, one day, hopes someone will sing about him and his legacy. Next skit: The Homies are obviously in shock over what just happened, and someone suggests that they go back now and finish the crew off for killing Dave. Dave’s brother then cries out about how he is “tired of this shit” (much like Tre’ in the ‘Wild Swinging/Crying scene’ in BNTH) and he is tired of running. PT. 2: the “Dying of Thirst” portion of the song. Dot starts off saying “Tired of running….Tired of hunting, my own kind…” and goes on about the different ways that we as a people and as a generation are “dying of thirst”. Next skit: Basically a continuation of the “Sing About Me” skit, he repeats the “tired of this shit” line, this time a older woman talks to them and asks them why they have so much anger. She then suggests that they are dying of thirst, not literal “thirst” but the thirst of holy water, implying that the boys need to be baptized. She then asks them if they want to receive Jesus as their savior, and tells them to “repeat after me”: and this is where that eerie prayer from track 1 comes back in and the album comes full circle. Amazing amazing amazing. After the prayer is concluded, she tells them to remember this day as the start of a new life, their REAL life.
11.) Real (feat. Anna Wise of Sonnymoon) – G E N I U S. Yet another track assist. This is Dot rapping about the importance of self-love and being REALLY real. Skit #1: PapaDot leaves a voicemail to tell Kendrick that he’s done tripping about the dominoes and that he heard about the death of Dave. He tells Kendrick that being REAL is not killing someone, REAL is responsibility and God. Skit#2: MamaDot gets the phone and tells Dot that she’s not tripping over her van. She knows that the lady spoke to them about God (previous track) and tells him that Top Dawg called the house. With this, she realizes that Dot is taking his music passion very seriously. She then tells her son to use this experience as a teaching tool, to come back as a man and no longer a boy. She ends by saying she loves him. Then, the cassette player is stopped and rewound.
12.) Compton (feat. Dr. Dre) – Self explanatory: an ode to his city. And one hell of a way to end an album.
Please. PLEASE. PLEASE do not sleep on Dot and ESPECIALLY not this album. Most modern day artist’s debuts don’t hit like they’re supposed to, but I believe we can all say that Kendrick out did EVERYONE’S expectations. I can bet my bottom dollar that this will one day be considered a classic.
I award this album TLM’s FIRST 5 out of 5, which we will deem a CLASSIC.
And that’s the truth, Ruth.