The Compton MC’s long-awaited major label debut is a breakthrough, as he both resurrects and reinvents West Coast hip-hop. Instead of fantasies of stacks and strippers, Lamar spins tales of everyday life with telling details. Over diverse beats he captures the heat of the street and the inner lives of people trying to survive these trying times. He’s preoccupied with money and power, but he recognizes that they come with responsibilities. He leaves the nihilism of classic West Coast hip-hop behind but retains much of its impact and contradictions (“m.A.A.d city”). This is very much an LA record, as “The Art of Peer Pressure” evokes the sights and feel of the city while Jay Rock, Dr. Dre (Lamar’s mentor), and veteran MC Eiht all make contributions. Lamar displays empathy as well as a sense of humor (“Backseat Freestyle”). The centerpiece is the 12-minute meditation on mortality and legacy, “Sing About Me/I’m Dying of Thirst,” which transcends mainstream hip-hop. A triumph. (Out now) KEN CAPOBIANCO
Album Review | HIP-HOP
Kendrick Lamar, ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’
By Ken Capobianco| Globe Correspondent October 22, 2012
Read it all, now.
Don't miss any of your favorite stories again. Read the stories that matter to you as much as you want, whenever you want when you subscribe to BostonGlobe.com.
Get full access today for just 99¢