Kendrick's success is due to many factors, not the least of which is his ability to appeal to a wide breadth of hip-hop fans. He tackles subjects that have popular appeal—drinking, macho bravado—but complicates his relationship with these attitudes, giving them a real dimension. He creates a world on good Kid in which actions have consequences, a realistic response to a genre that oftentimes plays with exaggerated, intoxicated fantasies. He bridged a divide between the streets and the fully-emerged middle class hip-hop fanbase. He managed to please "lyrical" heads while remaining accessible and creating worthwhile songs.
In essence, he managed to pull together a lot of impulses within hip-hop that seemed at odds, and make them fit in a natural way on his debut album.