Overly Dedicated or just a good kid in a m.a.a.d city
In an industry where those that actually made it a profitable genre were the likes of Jay-Z and Eminem, pioneers who have sold millions of records and embodied what it means to “rap”. It sure has been a long time since Hip Hop was blessed with anyone new who actually delivered it to the masses in it’s purest form.
Hip hop has had it’s own defining eras and this is evident in the past 15 years. It has went from mostly gangster rappers like 50 Cent who would flood your ears with drug deals and shoot outs would.
Well before they met their demise to a college dropout from Chicago and blessed the world with a “backpacks and pink Polo’s” side to hip hop. A side where drug deals did not exist and the real life problems were confronted i.e. your man on the street who worked the grave shift at a fast food joint to pay his rent. Along with a more softer side that spoke of falling in love and the pain of losing the girl you loved.
I mean most of us can’t relate to harbouring a pistol or a key of “dope” in their wardrobe in real life. Shit to tell the truth, I don’t even know what dope really is.
So a breath of fresh air was necessary, because it did not forget the roots of the genre. More it was blown to bring along with it a form of genius in the unfamiliar yet familiar expression of it.
The world followed suit but those that did not understand what hip hop represented took a path that familiarised them with the songs that would make them dance or push out bass in their car audio systems.
Albums sold to make a noise and those motivated by the profits pushed the genre into a territory where hip hop became about heavy beats, 808s and no more heartbreaks. I know Yeezy must have taught them better than this.
The pioneers would return to grace with The Blueprints, Eminem Shows and Late Registrations to win small battles. The war itself though, was slowly being lost to an enemy that had numbers. Seemingly able to push out their form of the genre in unlimited amounts.
The Hip hop I loved was slowly losing it’s soul.
At the gates of its pure Hip Hop’s castle stood a general that had given us The Documentary and sold more than 2 million copies of the project, with a fourth studio album on the way. Which was not met much acclaim as previous projects. What it did bring along with it was a second track that introduced a sound that had not been heard in a while. The Gane as he’s known featured an artist who’s broke through on the record with a verse that was all acapella, no beats, all delivery.
Had the world had just witnessed a complete turn around to the Hip Hop I loved?
“Kendrick, and I wear a pendant on my shoulder, soldier, like a lieutenant “
Had the war appointed a soldier we hadn’t been informed about or had the Hip Hop I loved changed?
Those inquisitive enough to take time and research the “newly” appointed soldier in this war soon realised there was nothing new about him. Projects like Section.80, Overly Dedicated and a self titled EP had already been blessing those who had not forgot what the hip hop I love is about.
Kendrick Lamar, his birth name was his identity and in itself it is as though this represented the fact that he’d always give you himself without any masks to hide behind or any experiences in his words to lie about.
“The hardest thing for me to do…is to get you, to know me within sixteen bars”
“Who is K.Dot? A young nigguh from Compton on the curb writing raps next to a gunshot”.
He’s an “Average Joe” but nothing about his upbringing or the words he gives to the world seem to be. In the track aptly named he goes about describing the day to day life he’d experience growing up in a neighbourhood influenced by gangs and violence.
More average for his inability to see the worth of being involved in all that is considered above average to those around him.
Kendrick never hides from the experiences that made him, the people that named him and the streets that raised him. He more accepts that because of all of this he is not avergae at all.
In a hip hop world where the biggest claim to be gangster. He tells us that the only one not claiming to be part of the crowd, has more gangster in him than the whole crowd. This trend is felt throughout all the projects that Kendrick gives to the world.
Taking time to remind us and himself that it’s not because he ran away from the influences but rather his perseverance.
Perseverance in his own lane within what was considered normal during his upbringing, he is able to be more than average.
Because after all there are three types of gangsters in the world. They’re either dead, in jail or behind the scenes getting real money.
I stare at the mirror and realise that real lies within me
Kendrick Lamar is a breath of fresh air to an industry filled with those that only give people what sells.
Diluting the Hip Hop I love for the love of money.
His words represent a mirror that is a reflection of who he is and always will be. In his words people are reminded of why they should always be who they were made to be. Not what they feel they should be and in his words is why so many people appreciate the artist that he is.
Through mixtapes he was able to receive a fan base that understood who Kendrick Lamar is. Through his fan base he built the hype necessary for a true statement to why he’s always believed himself to be nothing but great. This good kid in a seemingly m.A.A.d city.
In 2012 the world waited for what they believed to be a project that none would have been blessed with before. He called it good kid m.A.A.d city and it was to be his first studio album. His first delivery to the world that would finally have him throwing punches in a game blessed with word smiths and heavy weights.
Presented as a story of a day in the life of a younger self, his interludes from the first track provide a picture to those who still have the imagination. While his words provide the subtitles to those who could not hear what hip hop had to offer before.
The album further presents Kendrick’s artistic ability to run in a lane beside those around him who all seem to be running in the same lane.
I’m trying to keep it alive but and not compromise this feeling we love
The feeling is hip hop
Kendrick Lamar presented a project that opened many eyes to a world that had been slowly fading. A world that had been painted by “bling” and verses that represented a life that most people will never know.
A false Hip Hop.
Kendrick delivered a project that brought forward not only those that strung words together to form stories but it also provided a platform in the form of beats to storytellers.Producers where allowed into the limelight, none more than Dj Dahi. His Money Trees production revealed that club records need not be only known for their heavy bass and beats. They could still have content and depth.
See the album presented not only Kendrick to a world that had not had the chance to know him. It presented him a new light to those that already did.
Good kid m.A.A.d city gave a bit of everything that is so beautiful about hip hop, diversity in delivering emotion from what is a God given talent.
“When the lights shut off and it’s my turn to settle down…Promise that you will sing about me, promise that you’ll sing about me”
The words encompass what good kid m.A.A.d city is as a representation of a true believer in his craft. Especially in a world that can’t even understand the craftsman.
The words are from a place where many are unable to tap into when delivering their art to the world and for this he believes he deserves to be remembered long after he’s gone. So I promised to sing about him to those who did not.
The album is rounded off by his mother, who understands more than any what Kendrick represents. Her final interlude in the project is a plea to her son that from his music, may people learn true love again. A love for Hip Hop
“If I don’t hear from you, by tomorrow… I hope you come back, and learn from your mistakes. Come back a man, tell your story to these black and brown kids in Compton. Let ‘em know you was just like them, but you still rose from that dark place of violence, becoming a positive person. But when you do make it, give back, with your words of encouragement, and that’s the best way to give back. To your city…”
The decision is out and Kendrick Lamar is officially the hottest thing to hit the mainstream streets.
Many a critic would still argue otherwise though.
But it’s hard to ignore the mark the album left. The response he received for his offering was too loud. Those who are higher up could not act like he was a small time player.
The award committees gathered and debated. In every hip hop category that followed Kendrick Lamar could not be shaken.
I mean he was nominated for 7 Grammy’s at the 56th edition. Those who understood the art still can not understand how Ryan Lewis and Macklemore beat him out of any honours that year.
I mean a Thrift Shop is not the worst place to be but those were records put together to form an album. No part of it resembled anything we hadn’t heard before. Personally, Kendrick put together a mall full of couture garments.
Good kid m.A.A.d city was put together by someone who could not be anymore in touch with hip hop’s soul than if they were actually calling themselves Hip Hop. Geez I mean even Hip Hop Lamar has a nice ring to it.
The other accolades are numerous but to the world only the Grammy’s count and that would make sense as only the best that have pushed the genre have received that honour.
The most recent pioneer on the team and no Grammy? Kendrick Lamar doesn’t have a Grammy?! *inserts disfigured WTF face here.
The powers that be would experience a riot if this was not corrected. The masses were already rumbling to such a travesty.
So much so that they had to include him in the 57th Annual Grammy Awards.
Nominating him for “Best Rap Song” and “Best Rap Performance” for his latest offering “i”, Kendrick Lamar was in the hot seat again. This time there were no challengers, not that there had been before even with 7 nominations previously. Kendrick left with both honours.
Marking a new chapter in the career of a young legend and the only thing the world waits for is that 3rd studio album now Kendrick.
The announcement was made late 2014 and with the release of “i” and “The Blacker The Berry” we’re hearing the creativity and artistry that is associated with him once again.
“Some saying what up, what up, nigguh you made it”
Words heard often now. See the world waits…the world anticipates and the world believes in Hip Hop again.
Its next chapter? Hopefully a chapter in growth, growth of an art and an artist that few still properly understand.