Kendrick Lamar, 'good kid, m.A.A.d. city' (Aftermath/Interscope)

Kendrick Lamar of Compton has been headed toward this moment for the last few years, anointed by L.A. rap royalty Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the Game as the so-called future, and with "good kid" his promise has been confirmed. A brilliant, dynamic, lyrically sophisticated artist whose words on the page are as riveting as they are coming out of his mouth, the rapper on "good kid" has created a snapshot of Los Angeles 2012 as vivid and important as any piece of art this year. But what's best: You can dance to it.

( Wally Skalij, Los Angeles Times / Aftermath / Interscope )

Kendrick Lamar of Compton has been headed toward this moment for the last few years, anointed by L.A. rap royalty Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and the Game as the so-called future, and with "good kid" his promise has been confirmed. A brilliant, dynamic, lyrically sophisticated artist whose words on the page are as riveting as they are coming out of his mouth, the rapper on "good kid" has created a snapshot of Los Angeles 2012 as vivid and important as any piece of art this year. But what's best: You can dance to it.

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