Here are my favorite Kendrick Lamar albums, ranked in order of importance:
1) good kid, mA.A.d city
2) good kid, mA.A.d city
3) To Pimp A Butterfly
good kid, mA.A.d city is listed at #2 for its sheer replay value, and is at #1 for the memories I associate with it. The best albums are the ones we make special through experience and the meaning we tie to them. GKMC dropped in 2012, sometime during my freshman or sophomore year of college. Parties were hype with drunken choralists and fraternity stepping when Swimming Pools dropped. During that time, there wasn’t a better song to binge drink to beside LMFAO and Lil John’s Shots released a year earlier, and even that’s a maybe. My college crush was my Sherane and she, like everyone else, liberally seasoned their their day-to-day lives and social media posts with “ya bish.”
When a former highschool classmate died of cancer, I cried to Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst. The production? Phenomenal. The sonic sceneamatics? Phenomenal. The force and cadence of Kendrick’s voice throughout? Phenomenal. This album is tight as fuck!
A part of what makes the album feel so seamless is how well its song progression vibes with its interludes: Kendrick’s drunk and horny dad fiening for Dominos, Kdot’s mom’s concern shifting from her car to her son’s safety, the siren song of criminality and camaraderie in The Art of Peer Pressure…
I am not an album person. I gravitate toward individual songs and play them on repeat. When that becomes too routine, I play remixes of those very same songs. That said, GKMC is one of the few albums I play through every once in a while. This album put Kendrick squarely in the public conversation about the state of hip-hop and granted him enough clout to pull off the Control verse with Jay Electronica and Big Sean. The Dr. Dre production, Zapp & Roger vibes, odes to Compton and other homages to West Coast rap didn’t hurt the album either. It has a few flaws, but I’d be shocked if this album isn’t thought of favorably for years to come.
Thematic Development: 5/5
Memorable lines: 5/5
- Money trees is a perfect place for shade and that’s just how I feel
- Pull up, drank…faded…faded
- I am a sinner, who’s probably gonna sin again, Lord forgive me…BDKMV
- All my life I want money and power, respect my mind or NIGGA IT’S GO TIME Flips table