Tag: Kendrick Lamar

LeBron James Loved It When Kendrick Lamar Showed Up At Lakers Practice

Life in Los Angeles for the Lakers is a bit different than in past seasons. There’s always glitz and glamour, but LeBron James makes them a significantly more interesting team than in previous years. That won’t always translate into the win column, as it failed to on opening night against Sauce Castillo and the Trail Blazers. The game began with a few dunks from LeBron, but the final result wasn’t what’s going to get that team into the playoffs.

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Still, the hype is real for James and the Lakers this year. Quavo wrote a song for the Lakers’ opener, and the intersection of music and sports continued for L.A. on Friday night when rapper Kendrick Lamar joined the team after practice to share some words of wisdom.

The Lakers posted about Lamar joining them for their “genius series,” where apparently he addressed the team about, what else, staying humble.

It’s not clear exactly what he said, but the words certainly resonated with James, who posted the group photo the Lakers shared and also said what the meeting meant to him on Instagram later that evening.

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“The homie @kendricklamar came in today and blessed us all with mad game talk, inspiration, drive and what it means to get to the mountain top from the bottom and remain there throughout it all,” James said on Instagram. “Appreciate you brother!”

Playing in Los Angeles makes these kinds of interactions easy for James, and the “genius series” certainly makes these kind of talks a bit more common for the team.

KENDRICK LAMAR

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Few hip-hop stars have arrived as fully formed as 25-year-old Kendrick Lamar. Hailing from the MC hotbed of Compton, Lamar has been cranking out increasingly adventurous mixtapes since he was a teen, at first under the name K.Dot (a moniker he later abandoned). But with the release last fall of his proper major-label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d. city(Interscope/ Aftermath/Top Dawg Entertainment), Lamar took his show widescreen. He subtitled the album A Short Film by Kendrick Lamar, and there is something palpably cinematic about it. It’s a deftly nuanced work filled with richly painted vignettes, complicated characters, and shifting perspectives that begins with a 17-year-old Lamar trying to find his way as he is being pulled in multiple directions by his friends, parents, hip-hop fantasies, girls, and the culture of Compton, and ends with him figuratively taking the baton from Dr. Dre while wondering if what he has achieved is a victory or simply part of a cycle. (Another Compton legend, MC Eiht, appears on the track “m.A.A.d. city.”)

On the back of the hit singles “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice,” good kid, m.A.A.d. city reached No. 1 on both the Billboard Rap and R&B/ Hip-Hop charts. This past March, Lamar was even anointed “Hottest MC in the Game” by a panel of experts empowered by an authority no less than MTV (formerly an acronym for “Music Television”).Nevertheless, to reduce good kid, m.A.A.d. city to a pop phenomenon is to, in part, ignore the thrust of its instant-classicness: Like some of the best records in the history of pop, it’s an album that not only tells a compelling story, but a near-definitive one of a specific time and place, offering a window on the varying complexities of turn-of-the-century Compton, where the gangs, drugs, and guns are all still plentiful, but the kids now also have a generation of grade-A hip-hop to fall back on in struggling to navigate it. In fact, songs on good kid, m.A.A.d city like “The Art of Peer Pressure” deal directly with the glorification—and the growing urban mythology—of the rags-to-riches gangsta-rapper narrative that surrounded Lamar as a kid. But good kid, m.A.A.d city is also an intensely personal album that draws its power from Lamar’s frequently ambivalent—and conflicted—relationship with the people and world that he is chronicling. In one of several voicemail interludes that punctuate good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar’s mother offers him some advice: “Tell your story to these black and brown kids,” she urges. “Let them know you was just like them, but you still rose from that dark place of violence, becoming a positive person.” Near the end of the capper, “Compton,” the true complexity of that story is brought into full relief as Lamar slyly raps, “Harsh realities we in made our music translate / To the coke dealers, the hood rich, and the broke niggas that play . . . Roll that kush, crack that case, 10 bottles of rosé / This was brought to you by Dre . . . In the city of Compton / Ain’t no city quite like mine.” CONTINUE READING

Rap or Rock or Folk-Jazz, They’ve Got Soul: Jon Pareles’s Top 10 Albums of 2012

16PARELES1_SPAN-articleLarge1. FRANK OCEAN “Channel Orange” (Def Jam) The moody introspection of a soul-ballad man fuses with the metaphor-making skills of a rapper in the sparse, aching songs that fill Frank Ocean’s official debut album. Even with some resemblances to Prince and R. Kelly, he’s an unusual character for R&B: estranged but observant, admitting an attraction to a man, finding emptiness where others find material or emotional comfort.

2. FIONA APPLE “The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do” (Epic) Fiona Apple’s fourth studio album teeters, moment to moment, between obsessive confession and dark vaudeville.

3. BOB DYLAN “Tempest” (Columbia) Sure, his voice is a wreck. But nothing any prettier could encompass the bitterness, sorrow, lust, nastiness, longing, vengeance and backhanded humor that course through the songs.

4. KENDRICK LAMAR “good kid, m.A.A.d. city” (TDE/Aftermath/Interscope) Kendrick Lamar wades through contradictions on his second album. He’s from Compton, Calif., gangsta rap’s home turf in the 1980s and ’90s, and in some ways he’s an old-fashioned hip-hop storyteller, chronicling a cityscape still shaped by poverty, gangs, crime and police, over tracks that echo both ’70s soul and vintage gangsta rap.

5. GRIZZLY BEAR “Shields” (Warp) Grizzly Bearclarifies its music without simplifying it on its fourth album. Vocals are less hazed in overdubs, drums are pushier, lyrics are slightly less enigmatic as they ponder intimacy and distance. Yet the new songs are still labyrinths of tension and release; there’s no telling which way they might waft or surge at any given instant.

6. ALABAMA SHAKES “Boys & Girls” (ATO) This isn’t a soul revival. It’s plain old soul, and the only gimmick is that there’s no gimmick. Alabama Shakes are a small-town Southern band with a singer, Brittany Howard, now 24, who earns Janis Joplin comparisons because she’s dynamic, direct, improvisational and raw.

7. NORAH JONES “Little Broken Hearts” (Blue Note)Norah Jones modestly (of course) but thoroughly overhauls her music here. The 100 percent organic, folky-jazzy whisperer has metamorphosed into a deft pop songwriter, with pithy breakup and post-breakup songs — sometimes doleful, sometimes sly — that turn a handful of moving parts into mechanisms of catchiness.

8. METZ It’s just about always clobbering time for Metz, a three-man Canadian band that has reclaimed and distilled post-punk into a galloping, scrabbling, feedback-laced catharsis. The arrangements and production on “Metz” (Sub Pop) focus the music into a bristling, concentrated attack, so fierce that the complaints that fill the lyrics come across as full-blown existential crises.

9. BETTYE LAVETTE “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” (Anti-) Along with a rip-roaring autobiography, “A Woman Like Me” (Blue Rider Press), the soul singer Bettye LaVettemarked her 50th year as a performer with this cannily chosen assortment of songs about alienation: romantic, political, psychological and philosophical. Her voice bites into every one, from Neil Young’s “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” to Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy,” drawing lessons informed by her unerring sense of drama and by the scarred resilience of the blues.

10. DJ RASHAD “Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi” (Lit City Trax) The budget is minimal and the creativity extreme for DJ Rashad, who makes music to accompany footwork, the competitive dance style that has been a local Chicago phenomenon for more than a decade. With the shallow, brittle sounds of cheap drum machines and keyboards, stray vocal snippets and very rarely, out of nowhere, a recognizable instrument or chord, DJ Rashad sets up twitching, spattering rhythms, then splinters and fractures them; it’s ultra-austere music that keeps ambushing itself.

Watch Kendrick Lamar’s Intimate Interview With Fuse

In a very intimate sit down with Kendrick Lamar, Fuse asks the Compton, Calif. MC some tough questions. He reveals that in third grade he sang a great rendition of “Silent Night,” and says that when he is home alone he loves to watch Martin. Watch the video above, and cop Good Kid, m.A.A.d. Cityhttp://www.complex.com/music/2012/10/watch-kendrick-lamars-intimate-interview-with-fuse?nocache=1