Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar didn't have to do anything to put Compton on the map, but he has certainly got his name on the map, and having finally got around to giving him a listen, i understand what the fuss is all about. This is album is an instant classic, a strong and diverse record bringing the best of old and new to the table. We hear a lot of talk about the state of Hip Hop, but with records like this there's nothing to worry about, we are in good hands.
Lets start with the instrumentals, theres a diverse range of style and creativity across these 12 tracks, with moodier introspective tracks, obnoxious party bangers and Hip Hop anthems. I find myself engrossed from start to end with the shifts in mood coming effortlessly. Theres great detail in the beats which offer more than a grooving loop, often bringing in extra hits and percussion that help direct and flow these tracks along there course. The sampling is choice, theres depth in quantity with many tracks bringing subtle layers of sounds and sample that add to the main focus. In general, theres just a lot of craft and care put into these instrumentals that you can really enjoy deconstructing them with your ears.
Lamar's flow is gripping and slick, he doesn't drop the most memorable of lines, but keeps you engaged with colorful story telling. His choruses stand out as a strength with a craft for striking a balance between substance and thrills. With a lot of guest vocalists across the songs the variety and diversity keeps things fresh and exciting which is a nice change in a formula that can sometimes suffer from a lack of such. Theres some great double tracked vocals in a few tracks too and Dre's appearance on "Compton" is sublime, the man still has it, bursting onto the track like he's kicking down the door of rap. Overall this album offers substance and quality in quantity, with a large collection of memorable songs this is a classic Hip Hop album.
Favorite Tracks: Backstreet Freestyle, Poetic Justice, Good Kid, Swimming Pools, Sing About Me, Compton