There was an instant buzz surrounding Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city when it dropped a year ago on October 22, 2012. The LP, like most LPs in this digital age, had leaked a few days prior, and fans gobbled up individual tracks like the Drake-assisted "Poetic Justice."
The magnitude of the first coming-of-age story however, would grow over time. There were early whispers that Kendrick had crafted a classic album and now 365-days later, there is little to no doubt about good kid, m.A.A.d city's greatness.
The album works best when it is digested as a whole; try to separate the singles from the body and you may miss key vignettes centered around the temptress Sherane, or the homeys L Boogs, Lucky and Yan Yan.
It was July 2011, while he was out promoting his independent LP Section.80 when Kendrick first referenced good kid, m.A.A.d city to MTV News. It was a passing mention that went over the heads of most. He wasn't directly talking about the album at the time, but rather, his newly formed relationship with GKMC executive producer Dr. Dre.
"As far as the music we got a chemistry in the studio that's unmatched to me, alongside the music, we just talk about stuff, talk about life in general, because it's a side of Dre that the world's never seen before," he said. "It's really my story and my life which I'm putting out in my music. I think that's why we clash together so perfect because he sees a good kid, in a mad city, the same way he grew up."
The deal with Dre wasn't reported until March 2012, and the very next month, K-Dot and Doc dropped good kid's first single, "The Recipe."
The track was celebrated, but didn't make the impact that many expected and was regulated to a bonus song on Kendrick's tightly woven album. It was good kid's second release, "Swimming Pools (Drank)," which would spark the most excitement for the pending release.
By the time the LP officially arrived on October 22, 2012, it had prompted 242,000 people to go out and buy it — it has since sold more than 1 million copies. A year later, a good kid is still one of the most notable albums in a time where rap mainstays Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Eminem have all released — or are prepping to release new LPs.
As powerful as singles "Swimming Pools (Drank)" and "Poetic Justice" are, other indispensable narratives include album intro "Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter," "The Art of Peer Pressure," the dramatic gang ode "m.A.A.d city" and the 12-minute, gut-wrenching "Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst."
"No compromise at all," Kendrick told MTV News of his LP from a Las Vegas studio three days before its release. "They told me to go, and continue doing what I'm doing, Interscope, Dre, continue doing what I'm doing."
He hasn't stopped yet.