By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
If Planet Earth had testicles, they'd belong to Kendrick Lamar. Because, proverbially, homie's got the world by the balls.
With five critically acclaimed mixtapes and an independent release already under his belt, it's easy to forget that the Compton MC's first major-label LP hasn't even dropped yet. The much-blogged-about Good Kid, Mad City (stylized good kid, m.A.A.d city) isn't due until October 22, but Lamar is already generating more media attention than a Mitt Romney gaffe.
At a recent Good Kid, Mad City preview listening party, Rolling Stone called the record — what they'd heard, at least — "precious," citing Lamar's "double-time barrages of syllables" and the album's "fierce drumbreak loops that screw your face up."
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Raised on N.W.A.'s hood-life narratives and influenced by his own upbringing on the very streets that his mentor, Dr. Dre, depicts in his music, Lamar gives a portrayal of present-day South Central L.A. that's not just vivid. It's essential.
"Some of the best music comes from failure," Lamar recently told Def Pen Radio. "People just want to talk about situations they can't say through a regular conversation. It comes out better through sounds and melodies."
Sure. Especially when you sprinkle a little Black Hippy, a dash of Lady Gaga, and a whole lot of "Pussy and Patron" into the mix.
Black Hippy. An independent record label and its four-man roster was all it took for Black Hippy to take off. Made up of Lamar, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q, this West Coast rap crew has been "perfecting the craft," Kendrick told Fader, for about seven years. "We've just been in the studio since," he says. "That same studio."
Clearly, the dedication has paid off. Black Hippy is one of the most talked-about rap crews in a conversation flooded with buzz bands and fleeting trends. In July 2011, Midwestern MC Tech N9ne called the group "the new N.W.A.," the ultimate compliment.
But don't expect Black Hippy to release its Straight Outta Compton anytime soon. Schoolboy Q recently told music and entertainment website Page 31 that the idea of a collaborative record is "corny."
"Why we can't just do our own shit?" he asks. "[A group album] will never come out right."
Lady Gaga. In the late '80s and early '90s, it would've been too weird for a 25-year-old rapper to become friends with a 26-year-old pop star who wore dresses made of raw meat and referred to her fans as "little monsters." In 2012, however, it's a perfectly natural musical friendship.
"We got something in the works," Lamar said in a recent interview with MuchMusic. "[Lady Gaga] reached out, just being a fan of hip-hop, being a fan of music."
In particular, Gaga really loves "The Recipe," Kendrick's first single off Good Kid, Mad City. She tweeted about it earlier this year and even watched Lamar's midday set at the Pitchfork Music Festival.
Life is good when Mother Monster is in your corner. But it certainly doesn't beat...
"Pussy and Patron." Some people might consider it crass. But Lamar can never get enough booze. Or female companionship. When "going through something with life," Dr. Kendrick recommends soothing the pain with a healthy swig of "Pussy and Patron." And when having "Sex With Society," you simply have to "keep the pussy wet," just like the gangsta-rap forefathers of yesteryear. (See: Eazy-E's "Gimme That Nut.")
It may be dirty, possibly even "stankin'" like Eazy's girl, but it'll never be in short supply. The vagina is just another one of rap's time-honored symbols, like money and weed. Embrace it.