Year In Review- Music

By: Danny Sedlazek
Muisc
Album of the Year: good kid, mA.A.d. city– Kendrick Lamar
I’ve already written a column about why the success of Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, mA.A.d. city is nothing but a monumental triumph for hip hop, and music as a whole, so I’ll try to avoid rehashing too much. To make a long story short, Kendrick Lamar, a young rapper from the hard streets of Compton, became one of rap’s biggest stars by preaching positivity and social consciousness, spitting some of the most interesting and left-field flows since Kool Keith and Andre 3000, all while maintaining his artistic integrity.

Kendrick Lamar created a whole album of exactly what rap needs, and at some level, has always needed: the lyrical banger. Songs that you can bump in your car, at the club, and in front of your girlfriend that don’t just phone in the poetry part of RAP (Rhythm And Poetry) music. Songs like “Swimming Pools,” “Money Trees,” and “Backseat Freestyle” are all fun songs full of quotables that anyone can enjoy.
Kendrick delivers not only on a surface level with a barrage of witty wordplay and tongue-twisting deliveries, but also manages to create a 13 track album that tells one cohesive tale that is heavily inspired by his childhood– from his young loves to the death of his best friend. It’s very much rooted in the ’90s tradition of unflinching street poetry.
However, the most amazing aspect of this record is that, at its core, it is all about peer pressure, not just the aptly titled “The Art of Peer Pressure.” It’s an album about how peer pressure can not only elevate you, but also cause your life to be ripped apart at the seams. Anyone, regardless of socio-economic class, who has been a teenager can relate to that, and Kendrick tackles the topic beautifully.
Why would you not want to hear a lyrical, fun, emotional, deep, relatable, and, dare I say it, classic album?
I can’t imagine a single reason why not.
Honorable Mentions:
Channel Orange– Frank Ocean: Frank Ocean proves himself not only as the best songwriter in pop music, but also as the only Odd Future member that still matters. From heart wrenching laments about religion, to retrospectives of love lost, to socially conscious numbers, Frank spins an emotional roller coaster over a lusciously produced backdrop courtesy of the legendary Pharrell. Easily the best RnB album this year.
Trophies– Apollo Brown & O.C.: The best pure hip hop album this year. One producer, one rapper– nothing but 15 tracks of hard-sitting soul beats chopped to perfection by rising star Apollo Brown, and introspective and passionate rhymes delivered by old school legend O.C.. It’s the best collaboration of the year, and O.C. gave the best performance of his critically acclaimed 18 year career. A must listen for any fan of New York hip hop.
People Hear What They See– Oddisee: I’ve already discussed this in my mid-year review, so I’ll be brief: excellently produced soul, funk, and jazz beats with deeply uplifting, introspective, and political rhymes all in one tight package. Plus he’s from PG County. What’s there not to love?
Year in Review: Games
Year in Review: Television
Year in Review: Movies