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Take Another Look: Kendrick Lemar’s GOOD kid MAAD City

Mateo Fournier, Writer

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A few years ago my father bought this new album that had just came out.

“I heard it was good so I just got it,” he said.

He threw it to me while I sat on the couch with a dusty laptop in my lap. I was making some terrible sounding beats. A polaroid photo of a mini van on a cracked road surrounded by sloppy cookie cutter households donned the cover of the CD.  I read “GOOD Kid MAAD City, A short Film By: Kendrick Lamar.”

At 13 I was a bit small minded and I was still in the long and continuing process of finding myself. I put the CD into the dust covered laptop and opened my ears to the first waves of sound which was a VCR tape being slid into a player, I was taken on a journey I’ve never been on, but it felt so familiar.

Ambient singing surrounds a smooth baseline and eerie keys to create a mysterious vibe. Finally we hear the first lines: “I met her at this house party on El Segundo and Central..” Kendrick Lamar’s mellow voice appears as he begins his story. It’s a story of how he met this girl who would be a strong element in many of the events of his teenage life and how his lust for this girl got him into trouble. On my first listen to this song I was intrigued by the direction I was being taken as was Kendrick by the female he just met. It all seems like a normal crush and typical beginnings of a relationship until two men in black hoodies jump him.

It’s a simple story but the sound and tone had me instantly hooked into what else the album could bring. “Don’t Kill My Vibe” is a song about not killing his “vibe” or his excitement. Don’t ruin his fun.  “Backseat Freestyle” is a vibe you can only get when you’re with friends in the car, beats blaring and freestyling off the top of your head

“The Art of Peer Pressure” is a scene when Kendrick is persuaded to partake in robbing homes and other illegal activity. The album continues to relate to events of his teenage life in Compton, a teenage life that just about every teen can understand. Life as a teen isn’t all sprinkles and sunshine,; the same can be said for life in general. Kendrick brings some harsh truths to the picture. The emotional rollercoaster of a teen is captured vividly up till the very end.

At the time of this album’s release I was in middle school. I listened to the album religiously and it was the first time I ever truly felt the artist’s message. I wanted to get into music from then on, and most of my ideas have changed due to this album. I didn’t get a full scope of the album, however, until a year later as I went into my freshman year of high school. I had realized how much relevance this album still holds.

Different people, different time period, similar experiences. Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid Maad City” is a timeless piece of music and will forever hold a relation to a teenage life. The way the album replays the beginning on the closing track shows a sort of loop, and one day someone will grow to have similar experiences. This album is a teenager’s album, rebellious, full of energy, and it is for people in search of themselves.

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Take Another Look: Kendrick Lemar’s GOOD kid MAAD City