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New Kendrick Lamar album success

Connor Vanderweyst, Sports Editor - November 14, 2012

There’s a difference between an album being good and an album being important.
Ludacris’s new album might be good, but it won’t be important. Music scholars won’t write books on it, classes won’t study it and no one will care about it in two to three years.

On the other hand, there are albums that spark discussion and transcend genre. In hip-hop culture, Nov. 9, 1993, is viewed as one of the most important days in history. On that day, Wu-Tang Clan’s “Enter the Wu-Tang” (36 Chambers) and A Tribe Called Quest’s “Midnight Marauders” were released. Almost two decades later, both albums are still viewed as important parts of the hip-hop lexicon.

Last month, Compton native Kendrick Lamar, aka K. Dot, released his major label debut album “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.” Even though it isn’t even a month old, it should be viewed and talked about as a classic.

Lamar takes the audience back to when he was a teenager growing up in South Central, Los Angeles.

The album covers numerous themes, including young love, peer pressure, alcohol abuse and identity crisis.

Most people only know the Compton they see in movies or on television. K. Dot gives listeners a different perspective as he tells tales of freestyling with his friends, being pressured into breaking into houses and getting jumped by gang members.

The most striking attribute of GKMC is how relatable it is. In no way can South Everett be compared to Compton, but when I listen to “The Art of Peer Pressure,” I can’t help but think about all the trouble I used to get into with my friends in high school. (Sorry Mom.)

Peer pressure can be tough to deal with. Kendrick knows he shouldn’t be breaking and entering, smoking or drinking, but at the same time doesn’t want to look stupid in front of his friends. Every teenager deals with a similar dilemma.

Kendrick also walks the line between making a party song and critiquing the excessive use of alcohol. “Swimming Pools (Drank)” touches on how, in today’s society, if you’re at the bar, club or party and you aren’t drinking heavily, you are looked at as a square.

Lamar has already been co-signed by West Coast legend Dr. Dre, and “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City” has received universal acclaim. It’s not too early to call it a classic album and start comparing it to other notable hip-hop debut albums like Nas’s “Illmatic,” Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt,” and the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die.”

With the mainstream hip-hop scene being suffocated by glamour rap, it’s refreshing to hear an emcee talk about real life and not be fraudulent about their life. (Rick Ross, I’m looking at you.)

Drake might be the most popular new rapper out right now, but Kendrick is the best and it’s not even close.

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