With five critically acclaimed mixtapes and an independent release already under his belt, it's easy to forget that Kendrick Lamar's first major-label LP hasn't even dropped yet. The much-blogged-about good kid, m.A.A.d city isn't due until later this month, but Lamar is already generating more media attention than a Mitt Romney gaffe. At a recent good kid preview 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." 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, but essential.
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