Review #115: good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar

Karla Clifton
3 min readJun 22, 2021

#115: good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar

It’s been a while, but we’ve heard Kendrick Lamar before. To Pimp A Butterfly was the only Kendrick album I’d ever heard before I started doing this, but I knew I was going to love it — Kendrick Lamar is English major catnip.

This is a very cinematic album about Kendrick Lamar’s childhood in Compton, even subtitled as “A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar,” which I am just all about. Lamar said that “m.A.A.d.” stands for both “My Angry Adolescence Divided” and also “My Angels on Angel Dust.” Like I said, English major catnip.

RS uses the cover for the Deluxe version, so that’s the one I listened to. (Whether or not “Deluxe versions” should count at all remains to be seen.)


“Sherane a.k.a. Master Splinter’s Daughter” — Wow, that prayer at the beginning feels very horror-movie-esque. Also I love the voicemails from his parents.

“Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe” —Two guitar chords that play over and over.

“Backseat Freestyle” — Move over, Joni Mitchell! This is my new favorite running song.

“The Art of Peer Pressure” — Tale as old as time: Almost going to jail because your friends told you to.

“good kid” — This would make an awesome jukebox musical.

“m.A.A.d city” —Leaning into his scary voice.

“Swimming Pools (Drank)” — This is the scariest song about addiction ever, and I used to hear it at parties all the time! (Only slightly scarier than that Tove Lo song that was also played at parties all the time.)

“Sing About Me, I’m Dying Of Thirst” — AH. The part where he says “If I die before my album — ” then there’s GUNSHOTS, I jumped. When this song moves into its Act 2 with the “Oohs,” I lost it. Definitely a horror movie.

“Compton” — It’s Dr. Dre!!! They even name drop N.W.A.! Excellent.

“The Recipe — Bonus Track” — All the bonus tracks are pretty good, but this one is my favorite. The Deluxe version also has a remix of this song and “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” both of which I think are just okay.

“Now Or Never — Bonus Track” — You stuck Mary J. Blige on the bonus track?!


“Poetic Justice” — The soprano solo in the background is just so grating, and it’s just kind of a generic romance song. Probably because it has Drake on it.

“Real” — This one is a little bit like “It’s A Small World,” in that it’s annoying, repetitive, and really high-pitched.


I actually happened to be driving around my hometown when I listened to this album. My upbringing was probably much cushier than Kendrick Lamar’s, but it still made me feel very nostalgic. Then again, maybe Kendrick Lamar is just English major catnip.

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