Label: Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope

Kendrick Lamar’s last album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, is like a modern day Illmatic. It’s the last straight-up rap album to become a universally acclaimed classic. Funny thing is, although good kid came out in 2012, Kendrick didn’t really solidify his Best Rapper Alive status until last year. He spent 2013 coasting off the strength his major label debut, cruised past a million in sales, and spit a name-dropping, game-changing, earth-shaking verse on “Control.” This year, the ball is back in his court and the pressure is on.

Little is known about his next album, but the snippet we heard in his recent Beats By Dre ad sounded fucking nuts. So if good kid is Illmatic, will his follow-up be an inspired but ultimately disappointing effort like Nas' It Was Written? Or can Kendrick once again outperform expectations? Can King Kendrick Lamar, comfortable on the throne, add another gem to his crown? —Insanul Ahmed 

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