good kid, m.A.A.d piano (Medley)

Artist: Kendrick Lamar

Transcribed by: The Theorist

Length: 9 pages

Instrument: Piano

Level: Advanced

4.9 (7 ratings)

Why we think you'll like it

"good kid, m.A.A.d piano" is a five song medley containing the following piano arrangements by The Theorist:

  1. m.A.A.d city
  2. Bitch Don't Kill My Vibe
  3. Real
  4. Money Trees
  5. Swimming Pools

It's weird to think that 2012 Kendrick is three years older than 1993 Snoop was, since Snoop seemed completely in control of the world around him: Calm and laconic, his constant intoxication never enough to stop him from snapping necks at the slightest provocation. He was a larger-than-life character. Kendrick, by contrast, is a recognizable, empathetic human being coming up in a place that does not value humanity. The album title more or less spells it out: He's smart and introspective and wants better things for himself and his family. But he's also young and prone to doing dumb stuff, to delight in doing that dumb stuff, sometimes because he wants to see himself as the archetype that Snoop once embodied so completely. When he makes it out to better things at the end of the album, it's partly because he had the talent and the farsightedness to figure out what steps he had to take. But it's also, more than once, because he got lucky.

The context of the album changes some of these songs, too. When it found its way to the internet last week, "Backseat Freestyle" was a thrilling pure-rap workout. On the album, though, we hear Kendrick's dad encouraging his gifts, forcing him to sit there and rap along to this beat. And so all its talk of bullets and bitches emerges as ideas that Kendrick is playing around with while he's trying to find his rap voice — things he's talking about because those are the things that rappers talk about. And even with all that context in place, "Backseat Freestyle" is still a thrilling pure-rap workout; it just has more levels now. And that brings up another point about the album: Even with all its layers, all the parsing its lyrics demand, Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City is great on purely musical terms. Kendrick is a dazzling technician, one whose triple-time delivery and gift for multiple voices seem to branch naturally from his seething passion and restless eloquence. The album's producers have put together a varied but cohesive tapestry, full of lazy guitar-plucks and woodblock-thunks and hazy beds of synth. Kendrick is a writer, but he's also a great musician, one who knows what sort of tracks work best with his voice. Even when you don't feel like digging through his words, it's a great ride-out rap album.

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