Kendrick Lamar’s “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” (“G.K.M.C.”) is a short film about a Compton youth trying to find his way in a city infamous for its gang presence.
“G.K.M.C.” has already been declared a classic within the first week of its release. To me, now is not the time to call it a classic, but I believe it to be one of the most important hip-hop albums in the past decade, particularly for the West Coast.
“G.K.M.C.” has drawn comparisons to Nas’ debut album, “Illmatic,” arguably the best hip-hop album ever, but that comparison is apples and oranges. Kendrick is West Coast through and through. I consider the album to be the most significant left-coast mainstream project since Dr. Dre released “The Chronic: 2001.”
One thing I would say is very similar between Kendrick and Nas is their ability to tell a story. A straight listen through “G.K.M.C.” could prove that better than I ever could.
The journey starts when Kendrick takes his mother’s van to see a girl and is greeted by two guys in hoodies.
“good kid, m.A.A.d city” The song abruptly ends and transitions into a recording of his voicemail with his mom and dad asking where he is with the van.
The tone is set. The theme of stories about typical Compton days with snippets of voicemail messages from his parents and dialogue between Kendrick’s friends in a car continues.
The short film, as he calls it, seems to be one told by a deceased Kendrick.
He’s honest about the temptations of growing up in Compton and admits to how he dealt with them, not always in the best way, but nevertheless how he dealt with real problems. No glorification of Compton life, just a story about it.
One of the best descriptions of Kendrick’s approach came from his debut studio recording, “Section. 80.” Kendrick says about himself, “I’m not on the outside looking in, I’m not on the inside looking out. I’m in the dead f***ing center, looking around.”
“G.K.M.C.” is not a compilation of rap songs. “G.K.M.C.” is a short film by Kendrick Lamar.