Kendrick Lamar burst into the national spotlight in 2011, following the release of his debut album Section.80, which included the hits “HiiiPoWeR” and “A.D.H.D.” If that album — lyrically focused on issues of drug addiction, violence, love, lust, and the battle to improve oneself — got people talking about Lamar as if he was next in line for the rap throne, 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City proved they were right.
The accolades for M.A.A.D. City haven’t stopped since its release, Lamar’s chameleon style — even though some connoisseurs may find it too derivative of the young rapper’s wide palette of influences — has earned him comparisons to everyone from André 3000 to 2Pac. Whether it’s chopper-style rapid fire, laid-back poetry, hyped-up growl, or hypnotic faux-Jamaican-accented groove riding verses, there’s just something about the 25-year-old Compton native’s vocal charisma and earnest enthusiasm that make us want to hear what he has to say.
Thursday at Whitewater Amphitheater, though, when the man comes through our area for the second time in eight months, he won’t be the only act to get excited about. In tow for the Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City tour are some of Lamar’s longtime associates: Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, and Jay Rock. The four comprise the gloriously named Black Hippy collective. Here’s a quick and dirty rundown of why you’ll want to drive north for more than just Lamar.
A crooning rapper with one of the most unique styles in hip-hop today, ScHoolboy Q rhymes about ennui, drug-induced experiences, corruption, personal struggles, and the street life with an off-kilter swagger. Must hear album: Habits & Contradictions.
With an alternately laid back and furious flow and an anti-establishment slant, Ab-Soul approaches gangsta rap with a flippant air of revolution. Must hear album: Control System.
The most traditional MC in the group, Jay Rock’s heavy-voiced style is reminiscent of greats like E-40 or even fellow West Coast rapper Dr. Dre. Must hear album: Follow Me Home.
Kendrick Lamar feat. Ab-Soul, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Kid Ink
8 pm Thurs, June 13
11860 FM 306 (New Braunfels)