A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Compton-raised Kendrick Lamar's Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City is a powerful and important reinterpretation of West Coast "gangsta" rap culture, using vibrant narrative structure in the form of hip-hop music to tell the story of his South Central. Although parents may be wary of the explicit language (including "f--k" and the "N" word), violence, sexuality, drugs, and mature themes, the overall message is positive and inspiring.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Is it any good?
Kendrick Lamar is such a brilliant and intricate rapper that it takes a few listens to really hear what he's saying, but once you do, you realize that this is a man with a powerful perspective and an important message. The lyrics are clever and thoughtful throughout the record, the production is deep and haunting, and the imagery is vivid and palpable. The songs flow together perfectly, making the album a coherent masterpiece, a testament to the power of hip-hop to tell a true story. For mature teens and adults, there is plenty to consider and discuss.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how hip-hop and the media in general have influenced public perceptions of economically downtrodden urban areas. Do you think the sensationalistic focus on crime, violence, and drug use contributes to the continued degradation of low-income communities?
Do you think the fact that Lamar switches between apparently endorsing substance use and vehemently critiquing it sends a contradictory message?
It's been 25 years since the release of N.W.A.'s classic Straight Outta Compton. How do Lamar's depictions of Compton compare and contrast with those of fellow South L.A. luminaries Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy-E?
For kids who love lyrical hip-hop
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.