Kendrick Lamar – M.A.A.D City Feat. MC Eiht
Kendrick Lamar was already in the process of turning heads through a breakout slew of mixtapes, Detox reference track bangers, and his independent classic Section 80, his first major-label release found him revealing the full extent of his artistic vision. For one, the entire project was delivered in a nonlinear fashion, a sprawling and loosely autobiographical saga encompassing one kid’s relationship with his wonderful and chaotic locale.
As with all good sagas, there comes a peak. On Good Kid Maad City, that peak is “m.A.A.d City.” Positioned as the album’s thematic centerpiece, K Dot’s explosive and violent reflection finds him delivering frantic reflections on his Compton come-up. Having grown accustomed to him occupying the “good kid” narrative, his shift into the darker end of the morality makes for a refreshing twist. Not to mention his brilliant use of the unreliable narrative literary device, further cementing him as hip-hop’s most well-rounded writer. Is it fair to name this one as one of the decade’s best?