Kendrick Lamar at Emo’s 10/27

With a wide array of great shows that come to Austin on a regular basis, occasionally people overlook the chance to see something truly special. The concert at Emo’s this Saturday night featuring Kendrick Lamar might be the most exciting opportunity to catch an incredible rapper in the midst of a huge week. In case you haven’t heard, Kendrick Lamar is a west coast rapper who just released his major label debut, good kid, m.A.A.d. city this past Monday to well-deserved widespread critical acclaim. In what sometimes feels like a rare occurrence these days, the hype behind Kendrick’s meteoric ascent is entirely justified. His major label debut is not only the best rap album of this year (or last year really), but a strong contender for the best album period of the year, and also probably the best debut rap album since Nas’s Illmatic. It’s that good.

Kendrick Lamar is a 25 year old from Compton who is a member of the Black Hippy crew, a rap collective that features other talented young rappers such as Schoolboy Q, Ab Soul, and Jay Rock. Lamar built a following off of mixtapes such as Overly Dedicated, but didn’t reach the radar of most music enthusiasts until last year with the release of his wonderful independent album Section.80, one of the best rap albums of the year that ended up at the #5 spot on XXL’s year-end list. The album was built off the strengths of inspirational singles like “Hiiipower“and darker, more contemplative songs that made insightful social commentary about drug use such as “A.D.H.D.“. Kendrick’s star rightly blew up after that, first with a feature on Drake’s album followed by signing with Dr. Dre’s label. He soon developed a protege-mentor with the legendary Dr. Dre, collaborating on smash singles such as “The Recipe“. Kendrick spent most of the past year working on his new masterpiece, pausing to release excellent singles such as “Cartoons and Cereal“, one o the most innovative and personal confessionals that also happens to feature Gunplay at his best.

Songs like the above performance with The Roots are a strong indication of what makes Kendrick great. On first glance, “Swimming Pools” appears to be a normal catchy rap song about how fun it is to drink, especially with that fun chorus, but as you delve deeper into the lyrics, you will find a expertly written critique about peer pressure and society’s dangerous inclination to constantly take partying and drinking to the extreme. It’s the lead single from his latest album, which has received across the board rave reviews including a rare 9.5 from Pitchfork, the same score Frank Ocean’s brilliant debut received. The album is nothing short of a masterpiece, featuring a wide array of brilliant tracks. The album is anchored by a winding narrative about growing up in Compton, covering topics such as gang violence, love, religion, peer pressure, social constraints, and challenging the preconceived notion of how life has to be for the youth growing up in harsh urban environments. The album features huge guest stars such as Drake, Dr. Dre, MC Eiht and more, but none of them stand up to Kendrick’s expert flow, one in which he can twist his voice between multiple personas and pitches in the course of one track. The album is incredibly deep, with the potential to be the best album of 2012.

Kendrick Lamar is an incredible young talent who is being rightly recognized for his amazing achievements, and the chance to see him live in concert Saturday night at Emo’s is not one to miss. Albums like good kid, m.A.A.d. city don’t come around too often, and to see his concert less than a week after the disc’s release date is a huge deal. Whether he sticks to old favorites or new classics, Kendrick’s live shows are known for excitement and throngs of loyal supporters rapping along to every word. After riding a wave of so much positive energy behind the album’s release, you know that Kendrick Lamar will undoubtedly put on an incredible performance that everyone will be talking about. You can like this page for a chance to win free tickets, but you should absolutely buy a ticket as soon as you can. Kendrick’s new album is too good, and his star is only going to rise higher from here on out. Catching him at this Emo’s this weekend is a huge bargain, so make sure you get your tickets before this sells out. You want to get a jump on this before everyone finds out how great a rapper Kendrick is because the next time he comes to town, it will probably cost a lot more money to see him.

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