Good Kid: M.A.A.D City
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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. Billed as a “short film by Kendrick Lamar” on the album cover, the concept album follows the story of Lamar’s teenage experiences in the drug-infested streets and gang lifestyle of his native Compton. D City was being studied as a text in the freshman composition class of Georgia Regents University professor Adam Diehl, alongside other coming of age works such as the James Joyce novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Gwendolyn Brooks' Selected Poems, James Baldwin's short story " Going to Meet the Man", and the John Singleton film Boyz n the Hood.
Eventually, it was confirmed that Lady Gaga would not be featured on the album due to timing issues and creative differences. Dre, Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy, Scoop DeVille, Jack Splash, and T-Minus, among others, contributing to the album. Dre and his hirelings lay under the raps and choruses establish a musical continuity that shores up a nervous flow that's just what Lamar's rhymes need. The album was also ranked number two by Billboard, the Chicago Tribune, MTV, Spin and Time, number four by Filter, Jon Pareles of The New York Times and Ann Powers of NPR, number five by The Guardian, number six by Rolling Stone and number eight by Entertainment Weekly.One week before the standard edition's release (October 22, 2012), snippets of the album leaked online. Add it all up and subtract the hype, and this one is still potent enough to rise to the top of the pile. In 2022, it was ranked number one on Rolling Stone 's "50 Greatest Concept Albums of All Time" list.
The theme of the class was meant to "inspire students to find an outlet to bring some sanity to our own mad city–Augusta", Diehl told HipHopDX. The album was supported by five singles – " The Recipe", " Swimming Pools (Drank)", " Backseat Freestyle", " Poetic Justice", and " Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe". Music journalist Jody Rosen characterizes him as "a storyteller, not a braggart or punch-line rapper, setting spiritual yearnings and moral dilemmas against a backdrop of gang violence and police brutality. Recording sessions for the album took place at PatchWerk Recording Studios in Atlanta, Encore Studios in Burbank, TDE Red Room in Carson, and "At My Mama's Studio" in Los Angeles.He explained that the reason why he had not censored his own eyes was that the album's story was told through his eyes, and is based around his experiences. Any hesitation about the horror of it all is quickly wiped away by Kendrick's mix of true talk, open heart, open mind, and extended hand.