Good Rapper, Mad Industry: 5 Reasons Why Kendrick Lamar Isn’t “Trash”


Words by Tony Grands

Rapper Shyne is more popular for his actions (namely shooting up a club for his then-boss, Puffy Combs) than he is for making music.His latest string of disses, which include the aforementioned Puff, 50 Cent, & others, has extended it’s reach to Compton’s Kendrick Lamar, whose name & album are currently bulldozing rap music’s landscape. That’s a good thing, by the way.

In an attempt to rock the virtual rap boat, Shyne recently tweeted that Kendrick’s album was trash, & that allegation set off a backlash from supporters & fans that echoed throughout the internets.

Seriously, not only is good kid, mA.A.d City not trash, but it’s worth the money that I suggest you spend on it. & even if you don’t like it, here are five reasons why Kendrick Lamar isn’t trash.

5. Voice
The closest thing to a musical instrument that any rapper has is his voice. The consummate rap dude who is aware of this pigeonholing fact has the vision & ability to step outside of the proverbial recording booth & into a world beyond monotone flows & repetitive vocal fluctuations. K Dot’s voice doesn’t sound strained or contrived, & that neutrality gives him room to experiment a little. & the results are nice.

4. Storytelling
The art of storytelling has been eclipsed by bodacious bragging & imaginary tales of real-life situations. Flashing, flossing, & flexing have become the basic supplement in most Hip Hop meals that are being served to us, whether we saw the menu or not. Kendrick’s gkmc is an entire story, broken down into stories, told through rhymes, complemented by skits. Somewhere, right now, Nas & Slick Rick are beaming with pride. Telling me how to sell dope or slap bitches doesn’t count as a story, for the record.

3. Vision
After my gkmc listening session (shout out to my ace boon coon, Esquire), I realized what all the hyperbole was about. The west coast has struggled for years to find a true identity, an identity beyond random gang celebrations, weirdo raps, & interwoven hood anthems. Alas, Kendrick is proving to be the leader of the new West Coast, providing a more realistic, & even more vivid in-look at the place we call home. His story is like a lot of ours; neighborhood ties & set affiliations out of necessity & survival, not necessarily just to be “with the business.” Not every fan can relate to slanging, hanging, & banging, but the majority of us can definitely relate to “the homies.” If you grew up in California, you were either Kendrick Lamar or his gangster compatriots, at some point. Really, though. Consider Kendrick a frontline reporter, like a young, Black, rap Wolf Blitzer.

2. Work Ethic
Point blank, this kid raps his ass off (shout out to Treach). If Good Kid didn’t prove this to you, refer to his previous mixtape, Section.80. Where Trap Rap has impeded the flows of many MC’s, KL has avoided those barriers with consistency. Now that I think about it, I’ve never heard him take a breath between bars. Writing rap songs has become a watered down process whereas the fans are only receiving 2 minute verses labeled as songs. I can adamantly say that Kendrick may break this lackluster cycle.

1. The People Love Him
Even the most skilled rapper has detractors. Take Jay-Z, for example. For what it’s worth, he’s the king of New York for various reasons. He’s proved he is worthy of every accolade Hip Hop has to offer. Yet, he is equally loved as much as hated. Maybe even a little more so on the hate side. Kendrick, however, was criticized by a not-so relevant rapper & most of the United West Coast responded to the criticism with death threats & vacation pass revocations. Why? Because Lamar’s tantamount to that little brother or cousin that you want to see succeed in life. A lot of rap songs & albums rotate around self-service & narcissism, but it’s hard to find that quality in him, for now. My pops used to tell me that if a lot of people feel a certain way about something, there’s a reason for it & it’s probably true. People like Kendrick Lamar. Shyne might as well have tweeted “Fuck puppies & anything that makes people smile.”

Not for nothing, but you should purchase good kid, mA.A.d city as soon as your hard-hustled recession dollars allow you to.

Words by Tony Grands


13 comments on “Good Rapper, Mad Industry: 5 Reasons Why Kendrick Lamar Isn’t “Trash”

  1. Big Money says:

    Looking forward to giving this album a listen. I’ve heard nothing but good things. And who the hell is Shyne? Some people just want to see their name in print.


  2. Capital G says:

    Been listening to this album for the first time today in the truck during my travels. As of yet the beats ain’t exactly grabbing me but this young man can rap his ass off. This is something I’m gonna have to give a thorough listen to in order to fully digest and form an opinion. I’m east coast all day but dopeness is recognized regardless of region and I truly want to see this kid succeed and live up to the hype.


  3. mtume says:

    this is the best review of the album ive read besides big ghost’s

    sucks that shyne is new face of struggle before he g’d up in took the heat for puffy his music was tough as fuck…now dissing albums everyone loves is the only way he can keep his name in the news

    seriously tho bad boys knocks


  4. Capital G says:

    Okay, day 2 of listening. Fuck what MC Kosher L’chaim has to say. The beat change on m.a.a.d. city is fuckin crazy, Compton is dope as all hell. I was looking for big bombastic cinematic beats but this slightly subdued sound allows you to actually listen closely to appreciate the skill. I’m old and grizzled on some “these kids ain’t saying shit” but Kendrick is the truth. And this is a sober as the day is long review. Go cop this shit if you haven’t already.

    (so impressed I pulled over to bang this comment out on my phone. Take that for what it’s worth)


  5. DV says:

    Copped yesterday. This album is a complete work of art. It has a theme and stays on course, not a album full of singles or the cookie cutter album ( club banger, girl song, radio song, street single, rinse, repeat). I dig. Wonder who wrote Dre’s verses on Compton tho?


  6. […] listening to – the most surprising, easily – Notorious B.I.G. The day after I had the GKMC listening party with Sean Esquire, my cousin was quietly banging it on the computer. I asked was it Kendrick, he said yep, & we […]


  7. realnagan says:

    yeah i’m a convert. old and grouchy so i find new artists don’t make it onto my radar. weird voices aside and some production that took me a couple of listens to vibe with. yeah … great album. reckon he aint even peaked yet.looking forward to his next LP


  8. Word, I’ll cosign all of this especially reason 5. I get free music all the time (from labels, not downloading) and I still went and bought the album. One reason is because I think it’s dope, and two, I like the kid, I want him to succeed. And let’s face it; if we want to keep our favorite rappers around, we have to support them with our dollars.


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