Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid, M.A.A.D City”

Released: October 22, 2012

Genre: West Coast hip hop • gangsta rap

Label: TDE • Aftermath • Interscope

Producer: Hit-Boy • DJ Dahi • Jack Splash • Just Blaze • Like • Pharrell Williams • Rahki • Scoop DeVille • Skhye Hutch • Sounwave • T-Minus • Tabu • Terrace Martin • THC • Tha Bizness


Kendrick Lamar is one of the most influential rappers of his generation (& if you ask me,) of all time. From his remarkable & conscious lyricism, to cohesive projects, Kendrick has become one of the most successful rappers with over 70 million records sold.

After the release of his stellar debut album Section .80, Kendrick signed a record deal with Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment. Eventually, he went on to release his second studio album, titled Good Kid, M.A.A.D City on October 22, 2012 on TDE, Aftermath & Interscope Records.

GKMC is an album that is based on Kendrick’s experiences in his hometown of Compton, California. Good Kid, M.A.A.D City tells the experiences of a young Kendrick and he tells us the world through his eyes with the themes of gang violence, economic disenfranchisement, drugs, street life, police brutality, women, etc. Kendrick’s brilliant lyrics and storytelling makes this album even more enjoyable because it’s one of those albums you can’t play on shuffle or play just certain songs because it is a true tale period. Cinematography is a huge factor on Good Kid, M.A.A.D City & is what makes it successful because rappers aren’t making albums that tells us STORIES anymore. Everything about GKMC is timeless, and is in a sense…one of Kendrick’s strongest albums.

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City debuted at number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart with first week sales of 242,000 copies, while peaking in the top two of the Billboard 200 chart. The album has since been certified triple platinum by the RIAA. While working on this album revisit…it was announced that GKMC has spent 10 consecutive years on the Billboard 200 chart, spending 520 weeks on the chart to date. ICONIC AF!!!

Ladies & gentlemen, I present to you Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.

Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Christopher Whitacre • Justin Henderson

The album opens with Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter, an introductory record that tells the story of Kendrick meeting his teenage crush, named “Sherane” for the song. Sherane is one of the characters who is apart of the story being told, with him lusting. While on his way to meet Sherane in his mother’s van, he meets Sherane and with two dudes..while receiving a voicemail from his parents telling him to bring her car back and his dad asking where his dominoes are. The skit at the end of the song leads into the following song.

Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Mark Spears • Robin Braun • Vindahl Friis • Lykke Schmidt

***Features background vocals by Anna Wise & additional vocals by JMSN

Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe is the follow up record, and is told from the perspective of Kendrick from present day, who was not pleased with the state of rap music. The song was released as the fifth and final single from the album, peaking in the top ten on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts respectively. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe has been certified 4x platinum, and heavily sampled Tiden Flyver by Boom Clap Bachelors.

Backseat Freestyle

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Chauncey Hollis, Jr

All my life I money and power, respect my mind or die from lead show.

I pray my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower, so I can fuck the world for seventy-two hours.

Kendrick Lamar, Backseat Freestyle, 2012

Backseat Freestyle is a flashback from the outdo to Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe where Kendrick’s friends asks him to rap. We listen to the thoughts of a teenage Kendrick who’s caught up in a chaotic society. It goes so hard, that it’s ridiculous. The song peaked in the top 40 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. The song contains samples of songs from The Chakachas and from a Powerpuff Girls episode and was sampled by Taylor Swift as well.

The Art of Peer Pressure

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Jonas Vestergaard • Rune Rask

The Art of Peer Pressure is one of my favorite highlights on the album, and it’s largely due to the lyricism. Lyrically, the song speaks to how Kendrick had to see the ways of peer pressure the hard way. the song contains a sample of Helt Alene by Suspekt.

Money Trees featuring Jay Rock

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Johnny McKinzie, Jr • Dacoury Natche • Victoria Garance Alixe Legrand • Alex Scally

***features background vocals by Anna Wise

It go Halle Berry, or hallelujah..pick your poison, tell me what you doin’.

Everybody gon’ respect the shooter, but the one in front of the gun lives forever.

Kendrick Lamar, Money Trees, 2012

Money Trees is a timeless Kendrick record, and you cannot tell me anything different. From a lyrical standpoint, he discusses the events of the home invasion that was mention in The Art of Peer Pressure, and how he bragged about sleeping with Sherane to his homeboys. The song contains a sample of Silver Soul by Beach House.

Poetic Justice featuring Drake

Written by Kendrick Duckworth •!Aubrey Graham • Elijah Molina • James Harris III • Janet Jackson • Terry Lewis

Poetic Justice will always be a vibe, and you know it’s true. The song is a dedication to Sherane, and it’s a dedication that would’ve had me sold. Drake is featured on the lustiest, smoothest rap record I’ve heard in a very long time.

The song was released as the album’s fourth single, and peaked in the top ten on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs & Hot Rap Songs charts. The song contains a sample of Janet Jackson’s Any Time, Any Place.

Good Kid

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Pharrell Williams

good kid is a follow up to the outro to Poetic Justice, which has the skit of Kendrick being jumped by two guys in hoodies at the end of Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter. Collaborating with Pharrell was great for Kendrick on this song because it flows so well and Pharrell is one of the best producers of all time so it was pure magic.

M.A.A.D City featuring MC Eiht

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Aaron Tyler • Mark Spears • Ricci Riera • Axel Morgan

***features additional uncredited vocals by Schoolboy Q

m.A.A.d. city is my joint for real, for real! m.A.A.d is a reference to a Compton based hip-hop group WC & the Maad Circle & means “My Angel on Angel Dust and My Angry Adolescence Divided. Lyrically, the song has the rapper thinking about early memories of situations that was similar to his recent jumping.

Swimming Pools (Drank)

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Tyler Williams

The lead single from the album was Swimming Pools (Drank), and it is an introspective in regards to Kendrick’s viewpoints on alcoholism and the peer pressure & complications that comes with it from friends and family. The song was one of Kendrick’s earliest hits, peaking in the top 3 on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts and going quadruple platinum by the RIAA!

Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Gabe Stevenson • Derrick Hutchins • Quincy Jones • Alan Bergman • Marilyn Bergman

***features additional vocals by JMSN, Anna Wise & Camille Davis

Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst is a two part song that discusses real life situations that Kendrick’s witnessed in his life, including witness his friend’s murder with his own eyes. The tragic situation made the rapper think about things differently and an elderly women telling them about God and saving yourself.

The song contains elements of Maybe Tomorrow by Grant Green and Use Me by Bill Withers.

Real featuring Anna Wise

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Terrace Martin

***features background vocals by JMSN

Real is a song that emphasizes the importance of loving yourself, and taking a look at life, having morals and your own mind.

Compton featuring Dr. Dre

Written by Kendrick Duckworth • Sly Jordan • Justin Smith • Charles Richard Cason

The closing song on the album is titled Compton, which features the legendary Dr. Dre, who is a west coast icon and the founder of one of the labels Kendrick is signed to (aftermath).

Lyrically, the song is an epilogue to the story the album is telling, and how the rapper has changed his ways and becoming someone he can be proud of. The song contains excerpts from What’s This World Coming To by Formula IV.

Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is one of the best albums ever released, largely of the fact that we see the rapper evolves over the course of the album. Over the years, Kendrick has evolved with each album, but this album introduced him to a larger audience and made him the household name he is now. Forever an icon. -MW.

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