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Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, Maad City” Turns Eight Today

2012 Aftermath Entertainment

2012 Aftermath Entertainment

Eight years ago, Kendrick Lamar stunned the game with his Aftermath debut “Good Kid, Maad City.”

Kendrick Lamar‘s Good Kid Maad City has become the gold standard for modern-day rap, universally praised as one of the best albums released this past decade. And while some have argued that Kendrick’s politically-charged and musically eclectic To Pimp A Butterfly is his magnum opus, many have stood firmly behind his Aftermath debut. And no surprise, given the sheer volume of depth Kenny brought to the table, his penmanship requiring repeat listens to fully unpack.

Though many tracks have been immortalized as timeless classics, the one-half title track “Good Kid” has also flown beneath the radar. Boasting a mysterious, noir-esque instrumental from Pharrell Williams, the track provides plenty of room for Kendrick to strengthen the album’s central thesis: the coexistence of his dueling identities. “For the record, I recognize that I’m easily prey, I got ate alive yesterday,” he muses, in the opening verse. “I got animosity buildin’, it’s probably big as a buildin’ / Me jumpin’ off of the roof is me just playin’ it safe.”

Though lacking the immediate intensity of its counterpart, there’s something contemplatively haunting about “Good Kid,” rendered brilliantly through Pharrell‘s unsettling production and Kendrick’s brilliant lyricism. Be sure to show it some love in the comments below, and all too often this one goes unsung in the wider conversation. Happy anniversary to a classic.

QUOTABLE LYRICS

I can never pick out the difference and grade a cop on the bill
Every time you clock in the morning, I feel you just want to kill
All my innocence while ignorin’ my purpose to persevere
As a better person; I know you heard this and probably in fear
But what am I ‘posed to do when the blinkin’ of red and blue
Flash from the top of your roof and your dog has to say woof
And you ask: “Lift up your shirt,” because you wonder if a tattoo

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