Kendrick Lamar: Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City 

Aftermath

When Kendrick Lamar refers to his "new appetite for failure" on his latest album's biggest single, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," you'd be forgiven for wondering what he could possibly be talking about. The 25-year-old emergent star from Compton's Black Hippy crew has had a blessed couple of years and seems to be in the midst of a rare, Midas-like period of consistently remarkable productivity. Continuing the streak, his major-label debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City, is one of the year's most ambitiously conceived rap albums, cinematic in its expansive scope and attention to detail. Fragments of overheard dialogue and answering machine messages serve as the connective tissue between autobiographical song suites, and in the end, you're left with the imprint of Lamar's voice, which is elastic, reedy, and painfully sincere. (4 out of 5 stars)

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