Album: good kid, m.A.A.d city
Producer: Sounwave, THC, Terrace Martin 
Label: Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath, Interscope

“m.A.A.d city” is Kendrick Lamar’s “N.Y. State of Mind.” The locales are disparate and miles apart, but the penetrating sensory details, the intricate and deftly rapped lyrics, and the cutting insight are unmistakably of the same ilk. It is the culmination of a youth spent cataloging fatalities, ducking stray shots, and watching twisted fingers result in stiff bodies. It is an expose on the detrimental effects of living in a place where a truce expires without notice, where announcing your grandmother’s address may prove fatal. Throughout, Lamar’s voice cuts through both of the song’s manic, teeth-rattling suites; aggressive and riddled with pain, occasionally on the verge of breaking. MC Eiht lends his lyrics as much as he does his authority as one of L.A.’s greatest gangster rappers. His inclusion displays Lamar’s reverence as much as it does his intellect. Eiht’s verse, by design, smacks of the past that Lamar spends his verses rallying against.