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October 23, 2012

Music Review: Kendrick Lamar's "good kid, m.A.A.d city"

After dropping 3 critically acclaimed albums, "Kendrick Lamar EP", "O(verly)D(edicated)" and "Section.80" on the Top Dawg Entertainment indie imprint, the artist formerly known as K.Dot delivers his major label debut, a short film called, "Good Kid, m.A.A.d City". With so many artists conforming to the major label corporate agenda, dropping the typical radio single that sounds cookie cutter and manufactured in hopes of selling a lot of records only to recoup that advance back to the label; The great Dr. Dre gave Kendrick complete artistic control of this album that has no out of place songs or forced colabs. This album unfolds just like a movie. There are characters, good times, drama, thrillers, violence, a sex scene, redemption and some deep thought.

The film starts in the end. Pulp Fiction-esque. The album opens with a prayer in which he is asking Jesus to be his Lord and Savior. What is remarkable about Kendrick is his story telling ability. At the very beginning of the album he’s telling a story about how he met Sherane over the summer and then began to lust over her even though her family is tied into gangs. He then takes his mother's car to pay her a visit and is greeted by two guys in black hoodies. The song is interrupted by one of several skits that helps creates this album's cohesiveness. His mother calls asking him, “when are you bringing the car back?”, and his Dad is in the background irritated that Kendrick took his dominoes.  In the skit he states that Kendrick's mother is killing his vibe. Then the story really starts to take off with “Backseat Freestyle”. His homies come and pick him up and everybody is feeling good and carefree. Kendrick's friend pops in a beat CD and Kendrick lets off a barrage of aggressive rhymes with tales of being young and reckless over another banger produced by Hit Boy ("N’s in Paris", "Clique", "Theraflu").

The Art of Peer Pressure” enters with stating that he is actually a sober soul, but he’s with the homies so he’ll indulge in their mischief of weed smoking, liquor drinking and hollering at girls.  His crew also gets involved with jumping guys from the wrong neighborhood and doing home invasions. The album takes a turn after he gets jumped by the guys in the black hoodies after he pulls up to Sherane's house. He finds himself in the role of Trey from "Boyz in the Hood", upset with the violence and police corruption that he is surrounded by with the Pharrell produced track, “Good Kid”. The MC Eiht assisted “m.A.A.d City” finds and his friends retaliating for the fight and ends up with K.dots friend Dave killed in the battle.

In “Sing About Me /I'm Dying of Thirst”, Kendrick finds hope in Jesus and holy water as he feels as though he’s dying of thirst and truly needs some type of guidance. The album ends with “Real” and “Compton”. His father explains to him that “real is in responsibility/real is in taking care of your family/real is God nigga” and “Compton” is the victory lap in which he is giving homage to the city that made him.

The lyrics, the beats, the cohesiveness, the introspective view and the concept of this album are all what’s missing in mainstream/radio Hip Hop today. Instead of throwing random songs together with the typical "flavor of the month" features, Kendrick took matters into his own hands. This debut album is a body of work and a rare commodity in gaudy mainstream Hip Hop. He’s definitely the “Good Kid in a m.A.A.d. city”. Certified classic debut.

By Shannon Page

Are you a fan of Kendrick Lamar?
Have you heard his mixtapes?
What do you think about his debut album?
What is your favorite track on the album?

October 22, 2012

Why Do Men Have Kids By Women They Don't Like?

Men having children by women they can't stand is no new occurrence or phenomenon.  Sure there are plenty of parents that were in love when they conceived their children, and later, due to unforeseen circumstances, fell out of love.  But what about the men who were never in love with the mothers of their children, yet consistently had unprotected sex with these women, knowing they would not get along in a parenting situation, or even worse, that they would be unfit mothers?  Who is holding these men responsible for planting seeds in women that they knew beyond the shadow of a doubt would make things hard when it came to seeing their child or would use the child as bait to get the things they want from the man?

I will give some the benefit of the doubt in saying that maybe the woman flipped once she found out she was pregnant or that the man didn't want to be with her, but many men knew the temperament and personality of the women they were having unprotected sex with and instead of "pulling out" or even better, wearing a condom, they chose to go all in.  Scratch that, how about choosing not to deal with women whom you have nothing in common with other than sex so things like this don't happen at all?  Does something happen when a man is inside a woman that doesn't allow him to restrain himself from ejaculating in her?  Does the woman's vagina have some sort of timed vice grip that holds the man inside her until he fertilizes her egg? Somebody help me out here.

It may seem like I'm being silly or funny, but I'm dead serious!!!  Why do men continuously impregnate women that they can't stand and have no possibility of having a future with outside of child support cases and birthday parties?  It seems to me if said men took a little time to think past their penis, they would be smarter when dealing with women where signs of negativity are already present.  A child is a lifetime responsibility and I'm sure many men regret that one fatal time where they let the vagina get the best of them.  Men want to be seen as so strong and macho, yet can't fight off a woman that means them no earthly good.  What's the point of having muscles and endurance if you can't fight off a lifetime of heartache and regret?

I think men need to think twice when having sex with ANY WOMAN that they deem is not mother or wifey material.  That way, they can lessen the chances of impregnating a woman that will literally suck the life out of them throughout the duration of their co-parenting of the child.