Kendrick Lamar's Recipe: Black Hippy, Lady Gaga, "Pussy and Patron"
With five critically acclaimed mixtapes and an independent release already under his belt, it's easy to forget that the Compton MC's first major-label LP hasn't even dropped yet. The much-blogged about Good Kid, Mad City (stylized good kid, m.A.A.d city) isn't due until October 22, but Lamar's already generating more media attention than a Mitt Romney gaffe.
At a recent Good Kid, Mad City preview listening 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's portrayal of present-day South Central L.A. isn't only vivid. It's essential.
"Some of the best music comes from failure," Lamar recently told Def Pen Radio. "People just want to talk about situations they can't say through a regular conversation. It comes out better through sounds and melodies."
Sure. Especially when you sprinkle a lil' Black Hippy, a dash of Lady Gaga, and a whole lot of "Pussy and Patron" into the mix.
An independent record label and its four-man roster was all it took for Black Hippy to take off. Made up of Lamar, Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Schoolboy Q, this West Coast rap crew has been "perfecting the craft," Kendrick told the Fader, for about seven years. "We've just been in the studio since," he says. "That same studio."
Clearly, the dedication has paid off. Black Hippy is one of the most talked about rap crews in a conversation flooded with buzz bands and fleeting trends. In July 2011, Midwestern MC Tech N9ne called them "the new N.W.A.," the ultimate compliment.
But don't expect Black Hippy to release its Straight Outta Compton anytime soon. Schoolboy Q recently told Page 31 that the idea of a collaborative record is "corny."
"Why we can't just do our own shit?" he asks. "[A group album] will never come out right."