This is a charged listen that should appeal to everyone. Kendrick Lamar spins great stories with very poignant messages while keeping an entertaining edge.
The production is different from what is out there currently, with less emphasis on polish and more on dynamic impact. Each beat is effective at creating the atmosphere for the point of each track. Kendrick has already shown that he can make polished tracks and it is interesting to see that this was designed to be gritty and not so finessed.
The lyricism is obviously amazing and Kendrick Lamar uses his impressive wordplay skills to embellish his stories. Each bar is layered with meanings and every lyrical device is included. There are no issues here with a varied delivery, interesting flow and great rhymes.
The features are good because they help bring another level to the album with fresh voices. Each does a good job of adding a new flavour to the track they are on and aiding in making this project more cohesive. Some more rap guests could have made a few more interesting moments, but Kendrick does so well that others might have brought the quality down.
Overall, this is a truly great release and will only have commercial success. Kendrick Lamar is doing a lot to shape the youth and is doing it in a very effective way.