Kendrick Lamar’s follow-up to 2012’s Good Kid, m.A.A.D City is no doubt one of the most eagerly awaited albums of 2014, even though fans don’t really know too much about what they can expect from Lamar. That didn’t stop us, though, from putting together a wish list of what we’d like to hear when Kendrick comes with his sophomore effort.
1. More of The Weird
While some aspects of Kendrick’s first major release were relatively standard hip-hop fare, some of our favorite parts of the album were where it got weird. Take, for instance, the Memento-esque chronology of the LP, which starts at the end and loops back on itself. Our favorite bits, though, were the elements of sonic weirdness. Take, for instance, the 4:45 mark of “M.A.A.D City,” right after MC Eiht’s verse ends, where Lamar’s vocals go up and down like he’s on helium and you’re on ketamine.
That kind of sonic weirdness is the sort of thing you don’t really get from rappers content to color inside the lines. Kendrick can do it, and Kendrick does it well, so Kendrick should do it.
2. More Spitting
If there’s any part of Kendrick’s last album that left us a bit unsatisfied, it was in the area of lyrical flexing. Good Kid was more of a concept work, yes, so there was less room for some old-school signifying, but “Backseat Freestyle,” while fun, wasn’t enough to scratch the itch to hear one of the best emcees doing it spit. Especially not when you consider the raw technical brilliance of “Rigamortis.” Oh, what’s that? You haven’t heard “Rigamortis” off Kendrick’s Section 80? Go ahead, listen. We’ll wait.
“I pass the weed to the pastor.” Oh, really now, Kendrick?
See, that’s the sort of raw we’re hoping for more of on Lamar’s next album. The pensive is good, but the raw is better. We’re thinking we’ll see more of it, too, if Kendrick’s guest spot on “Control,” which set the hip-hop world on fire last year, was any indication of Lamar’s future plans.
3. Black Hippy
Any sane hip-hop fan wants to see what these cats can do together on an album. Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, ScHoolBoy Q, and Ab-Soul. We first came across some of their earlier work a couple of years back while looking for other Kendrick tracks. One listen to “Zip That, Chop That,” and we were hooked, waiting for more material.
The CEO of Lamar’s label said earlier this year that we could expect a collabo album from Kendrick and crew some time later, and here’s to hoping it materializes. In the mean time, we’re hoping Lamar’s next full-length has at least one posse cut with the whole of Black Hippy coming to bear on listeners’ ears.
4. More Imagine Dragons
Truth told, there aren’t enough eyeroll gifs in the world to express our disdain for your average rap-rock track. Kendrick’s breakout performance with Imagine Dragons at the Grammys, though, had us so captivated that the eyes had no space to roll. The two later went on to rock out Saturday Night Live as musical guests, and the official single version of “Radioactive (Remix)” with Kendrick guest starring topped the download charts for quite some time afterward.
A bit more rock flair might fit in well with Lamar’s theme for the album, as the rapper has said that he’s going darker for the Good Kid follow-up. Since Imagine Dragons and Kendrick are both under Interscope, here’s hoping that the powers that be deem it necessary to get them together on Lamar’s next full-length.
5. A Better Eminem Collabo
This one’s a bit out of left field, we’ll admit, but not nearly as out of left field as was “Love Game,” the track from Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP2 that Kendrick guest-starred on. It was a fun track, but come on: weren’t you expecting a bit more from Eminem and Kendrick, two future hall of famers? We think Lamar and Mathers deserve a mulligan, and Kendrick’s next work seems like the perfect spot for it. We’d ask for a Dr. Dre-produced tracks as well, but we’re betting he’s a bit busy right now trying to make sure he becomes the first billionaire in hip-hop.
6. More Multi-Lingual Rhyming
The Compton-born emcee gave us a glimpse of some wider capabilities on his homey ScHoolBoy Q’s track, “Collard Greens.” Out of nowhere, Kendrick pops in and drops a few bars in Spanish before segueing into a vicious double-time flow for the rest of the verse.
Even ScHoolboy was shocked when Lamar stepped into the booth and habla-ed some hot ish.
“I have no idea what he said,” Q told MTV News last year. “And I had no idea he was gonna do that. I remember seeing him talking to a Spanish dude while he was writing it and he came up with that and I was very upset because he killed it.”
That’s the kind of unexpected virtuoso stuff that’s got us hyped for Kendrick’s sophomore effort.
7. For It To Actually Come Out in 2014
Top Dawg Entertainment has a lot on its plate for this year in addition to a new Kendrick Lamar album. Kendrick’s LP will no doubt be the most hyped release, but getting everything lined up to drop albums from Jay Rock, Ab-Soul, and Black Hippy could make it harder to get a Kendrick album out on time. We haven’t heard anything but positivity from TDE and Lamar, though, so we’ve got our fingers crossed.