The Question: Will we look at Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city as the defining album of this hip hop generation, just as many look to Illmatic as the cornerstone of 90s hip hop?
First off, I want to say that I really enjoy Kendrick Lamar. He is a nice emcee and has a unique sound. I love concept albums and this one keeps the concept all the way to the end. On the other hand, crowning it a classic right now is too early. Sadly (and this is no way a shot at Kendrick in any way), but with the state of hip hop, it’s easy to say anything that isn’t of the norm right now is a classic. Going even further, I couldn’t compare this to Illmatic. True, both Kendrick Lamar and Nas brought out new and lyrical projects from their own coast and made a impact in hip hop, but we haven’t seen if people will be talking about this album ten years from now… yet.
I think people are getting way ahead of themselves. Do I love this album? Absolutely. However, we need to let this album make its history first. We also need to let the album soak into the culture of hip hop and see the contribution/discussion that it can possibly make. Only after that can we determine if it is a classic. Until then, all hip hop heads need to be patient.
Illmatic defined an era, a generation and the genre as a whole, and the effects of the album are still felt 18 years after its release. good kid, m.A.A.d city is an amazing album that was beautifully executed but it is very unlikely it will have the same type of effect that Illmatic had on rap. It is unclear whether GKMC is even album of the year, so how can it define an era? Due to over saturation of the genre, a rapper may not even ever have the same chance Nas did to make such an impact with one record. The comparisons are as redundant as comparing Lebron James to Michael Jordan. There will never be another Michael Jordan but that doesn’t stop Lebron James from creating a legacy of his own, just like Kendrick Lamar will.
good kid, m.A.A.d city will certainly stand the test of time; we will remember it. That said, it can only stand shoulder-to-shoulder will Nas’ Illmatic if newcomers pick up the mantle of not only his stark, reflective tales of society but his well-oiled cornucopias of flows and deliveries. No other man can jack his life story that weaves in and out, but supposing they produce a drinking chant as deceitfully vindictive as “Swimming Pools (Drank),” that would marvel even the most cynical backpacker. GKMC will not stand for tilling fresh ground, but for bringing adolescents to mind states long left fallow. And right now its too soon to guess.
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