Artist: Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is one of the most exciting things to happen to hip-hop in a long time. His latest album, Good Kid, m.A.A.d City, gives new depth to the notion of rap as poetry in its description of the harsh realities of a life growing up in Compton.
To many, hip-hop has become more about sleeping with strippers and glamorising gang violence than dealing with issues of racial inequality and crime. Lamar takes Hip Hop back to the days of the greats. ‘The Art of Peer Pressure’, a look at the pervasive violence in black neighbourhoods, is as harrowing as it is affecting, with the repeating line “Me and the homies”, looping in a haunting cycle much like its subject matter. There is no doubt that Lamar is making a statement.
Lamar’s album is a not only thematically riveting but also structurally complex, with the music often broken by recordings taken from Lamar’s voicemail. Tracks such as ‘Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe’, ‘Money Tress’ and ‘Poetic Justice’ are both catchy tunes and innovative feats of musicianship.
There’s certainly a new generation of Hip Hop artists emerging at the moment. With the likes of A$AP Rocky, Action Bronson, and Lamar turning away from some of the superficiality that had characterised the genre as of late and back towards Hip Hop’s original roots, the future, simply put, is looking very exciting indeed.
In a Nutshell: A complex album, exciting in content and moving in sentiment.
By Laura Woulfe