Editors’ Notes Already known as a hip-hop prodigy, Kendrick Lamar dropped a massively ambitious epic with 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, a gripping album-length tale about a young man struggling to grow up on the streets of Compton. Taking us on a dramatic journey that’s both hauntingly poignant and furiously intense, Lamar flexes his virtuoso mic skills on bangers like “Backseat Freestyle,” but it’s introspective cuts like “Swimming Pools (Drank)” that truly give the album its emotionally raw power.

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