Kendrick Lamar continues his meteoric rise to the top of the hip-hop world with a phenomenal chart debut from his new album, good kid, m.A.A.d city.
Billboard magazine reports that the 25-year-old sold 241,000 copies of his first major label record in its first week on the market. Though chart-topper Taylor Swift easily eclipsed Lamar by moving 1.2 million units in the past week, the rapper’s major label debut represents the best opening week for a solo male artist since Eminem’s The Eminem Show premiered all the way back in 2002. Lamar also topped Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop and Rap charts for this week.
Lamar’s ambitious major label debut has been highly vaunted by critics for its sweeping conceptual grandiosity and magnificent technical execution. It charts Lamar’s life on the tough streets of Compton as he becomes involved with petty theft and gangbanging. Eventually Lamar finds salvation through religion and the rap game, but the scars of his former life refuse to fade as he documents a bleak world where choices are negligible and too often between life and death.
The hip-hop prodigy’s sprawling concept album marks a commercial high point in what has already been an impressive year for hip-hop. With his mix of socially conscious rap and biting verbal mastery, Kendrick Lamar has laid down the gauntlet for his cohorts. Hopefully they’ll take his cue and step up to the challenge.