From an Ignorant Victim to a Saved Suspect

The early life story of Kendrick Lamar is still one of the most powerful narratives in a rap album.


Batiste Safont

Kendrick Lamar’s second album is still one of the most powerful albums.

Adam Davies, Staff Writer

The young hip hop genre has swept through the United States and is globally loved, but the genre has seen a lot of changes, such as the message hip hop has set forth to people. Kendrick Lamar was one of the people that changed that. He did not just create a legacy for himself, but a new rap culture and a new generation of young influencers following his voice.

He made his second album debut “good kid, m.A.A.d city” on October 22, 2012 after debuting his first album in 2011, “Section.80,” which was liked by many and is a concept album. Even eight years later, his second album is still one of the best to ever be made. The songs are rapped from the perspective of teenager Kendrick Lamar about the one day that changed his life.

This album is articulate with its overwhelming spots and words of importance in every song that one might miss. His first song is opened with a prayer, which is substantially important to the whole album as this is where he prays for his forgiveness for the story he is about to tell a story that he takes with blood and heart.

He makes his first song about his sexually influenced relationship with a girl named Sherane, but as the songs go on, the rugged lifestyle of a young Kendrick Lamar shows his dangerous actions with his friends, changing his good side to a mad side, and killing menacingly for blood and fun. He continues with his songs to define how a good kid is trapped in the hot, tight hands of Compton, gasping for breaths of life, as death will catch up to him faster than expected if he continues with his foolish actions.

After this, “Swimming Pools” turns the motive of the story into the eyes and consciousness of Kendrick. He sings about his community’s heavy influence into drinking and drugs that led him to commit terrible acts, where he finds himself with the consequences of life. His brother gets killed in a drive by at the end of the song.

When he starts “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” he sees his problems through the lens of his partner, talking about Kendrick’s willingness to stick by his brother’s side and to sing about him before his album dropped. 

He then sings about his friend Kiesha’s sister, who did not want to be in the song at all. However, he found many problems circling Kiesha, giving himself more perspective of himself in the same song. This is the exact turn in his thoughts and actions, as his love of God is revealed, being saved by following the Lord, and being taken into the Lord’s hands.

Real shows the actuality of being real, taking care of your family, and never forgetting where you came from. This album was meant to touch the little kids that live in impoverished neighborhoods, such as Compton, but I don’t think it has to strictly be for that one group. 

Everyone can listen to this music and relate to themselves in the songs. You can really feel the pain, sadness, confidence and anger in his voice as every song pushed out a new character inside of him. These songs can reach out to even kids like me, who don’t grow up in the same situation as he does, but have the same mindset in life: how to become a man, he followed his path of God, and I can relate as I have had a rough patch with finding God.