Good Kid, M.A.A.D City - Kendrick Lamar
Metascore
91

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Jan 24, 2013
    89
    The quotidian problems and longings of the title track making up the real heart of the album, a rough and tumble struggle to the top.
  2. Jan 10, 2013
    90
    In another rapper's hands the concepts might have been overcooked or the messages too self-righteous, but Kendrick manages to achieve scale while remaining firmly grounded on two feet.
  3. Dec 21, 2012
    90
    This is the best rap album of 2012--not just because of champion verses and immaculate drops, but because they recognize that the most brilliant foreground only shines against a well-defined backdrop.
  4. Dec 12, 2012
    90
    With his major label debut, Kendrick Lamar has done something that few new MC's are capable of, and that is, live up to the hype. [Dec 2012/Jan 2013, p.87]
  5. Dec 11, 2012
    80
    Where Good Kid, M.A.A.D City really succeeds is in its powerful emotional core.
  6. Dec 7, 2012
    90
    Despite its complexity, the album is full of ravishing, soulful production and vocals--as catchy and emotionally stirring as it is subversively and intellectually thrilling. [Dec 2012, p.75]
  7. Dec 5, 2012
    80
    His major label debut good kid m.A.A.d city solidifies his burgeoning reputation and stands out as a landmark contemporary hip-hop album.
  8. Nov 26, 2012
    80
    Kendrick Lamar may not have saved hip-hop, but he's certainly provided us with one of 2012's best records.
  9. The atmospheric beats Dr. Dre and his hirelings lay under the raps and choruses establish musical continuity, shoring up a nervous flow that's just what Lamar's rhymes need.
  10. Nov 15, 2012
    94
    Surely there's despair and persistent uncertainty, but there's an unspoken beauty to the struggle.
  11. Nov 5, 2012
    80
    Lamar has once more asserted a great and formidable talent, and good kid is triumphantly and unmistakably his, but the artists that stick around longest are the ones who let us make their art our own.
  12. Nov 1, 2012
    80
    From its ambitious narrative arc to its fine linguistic detail, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City is a honed and deliberate major label debut.
  13. 91
    This Dr. Dre-endorsed phenom delivers on the promise of his rabidly beloved mixtape Section.80. [2 Nov 2012, p.68]
  14. Oct 31, 2012
    80
    It's a wise, mature labyrinth of an album that's both filled with vibrant life and haunted by death.
  15. Oct 30, 2012
    80
    He may be young and he may like to have fun, but he's also gotten depths of thoughtfulness that you don't have to dig deep for before they shine.
  16. Oct 30, 2012
    90
    Add it all up and subtract the hype, and this one is still potent enough to rise to the top of the pile.
  17. Oct 30, 2012
    83
    Good Kid is an exercise in tasteful restraint, with Lamar employing his boundless budget in creative ways.
  18. Oct 25, 2012
    100
    Lamar's invincible on good kid, and reveals just how deft his hand is.
  19. Oct 24, 2012
    95
    Lamar's no impressionist, however; his lyrical gifts weave a complex, yet uniquely-West Coast set of influences into something that feels new and forward-thinking.
  20. Oct 24, 2012
    100
    Every record is both complexly arranged and sonically fitting, foregrounding Kendrick's vivid lyricism and amazing control of cadence. There's not a single loophole.
  21. Oct 24, 2012
    100
    A heavily introspective tour de force, Lamar has created a stubbornly parochial soundtrack to his life in Compton, CA.
  22. 100
    We now have an album from him so masterful that it'd be greedy to ask for much more.
  23. Oct 24, 2012
    88
    It's a masterpiece of storytelling, empathy in the midst of chaos.
  24. Oct 23, 2012
    70
    There is plenty here to suggest Lamar has a long career ahead of him. But the album nevertheless falls short of the pedigree his storied elders have set for him, and its status as an all-time classic is far from guaranteed. For the most part, though, good kid is solid.
  25. Oct 23, 2012
    95
    The miracle of this album is how it ties straightforward rap thrills--dazzling lyrical virtuosity, slick quotables, pulverizing beats, star turns from guest rappers--directly to its narrative.
  26. Oct 23, 2012
    90
    Lamar concentrates the ideas of hip-hop narrative and nonfiction into such a form that's shocking for how simultaneously accessible yet full of depth it is.
  27. Oct 23, 2012
    80
    It's a completely exhausting listen, one that might prove easier to admire than enjoy. But at the very least, it's never anything less than fascinating.
  28. Oct 23, 2012
    100
    Good Kid, m.A.A.d City impresses with its diversity and scope, but it's not just a record to admire: put simply, there's an embarrassment of killer material here.
  29. Oct 22, 2012
    90
    The Compton MC's long-awaited major label debut is a breakthrough, as he both resurrects and reinvents West Coast hip-hop.
  30. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    He reaches beyond his home state for a broader sound, and the results are remarkable.
  31. 60
    It might lack the raw appeal of Kendrick's 2011 mixtape 'Section.80', but it's also a big-budget reminder that the 25-year-old hasn't forgotten his roots.
  32. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    The plush production of tracks like the Neptunes-produced centerpiece "good kid" hearkens back to Seventies blaxploitation soundtracks and Nineties gangsta-rap blaxploitation revivals, and good kid warrants a place in that storied lineage.
  33. Oct 22, 2012
    80
    Lamar's major-label debut, probably the year's most significant hip-hop release, proves his talent to be as prodigious as his online output.
  34. Oct 22, 2012
    100
    He's given us all he could possibly give us; an album worthy of being called a classic.
  35. Oct 22, 2012
    90
    With Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City, Compton's flag bearer unveils a group of songs equally potent individually and collectively, meeting the mainstream and rabid fans in the middle, improbably touching that thinnest slice between mass appeal and mass respect.
  36. Oct 22, 2012
    88
    ["Compton" has] one of the few predictable moments on an album that otherwise brims with comedy, complexity and the many voices in Kendrick Lamar's head.
User Score
8.8

Universal acclaim- based on 553 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 4 out of 129
  1. Oct 22, 2012
    10
    Absolutely an instant classic. Every song has incredible production. Kendrick's lyrics are some of the best ever heard on a hip hop album, and it is amazing how his album follows a story line, often resulting in songs that have unique beat changes or skits in them. Overall this really is a 10/10 album, an instant classic, and the official crowning of a new king of hip hop. King Kendrick Lamar. Full Review »
  2. Oct 26, 2012
    10
    By contemporary standards, this album was almost beyond reproach. Just a note - if you thought that (with regard to content) "Swimming Pools" was like "every other rap song," you clearly missed the point of the record. In fact, if somebody suggested that it diametrically opposed "every other rap song" about drinking, it'd be a more valid (yet still flawed) statement. If you don't see how the song coheres to the larger narrative of the album, you clearly didn't get it conceptually. Full Review »
  3. Oct 22, 2012
    10
    Absolutely an instant classic. Every song has incredible production. Kendrick's lyrics are some of the best ever heard on a hip hop album, and it is amazing how his album follows a story line, often resulting in songs that have unique beat changes or skits in them. Overall this really is a 10/10 album, an instant classic, and the official crowning of a new king of hip hop. King Kendrick Lamar. Full Review »