I cannot count the number of times where a wrong turn, both literal and figurative, could have changed the course of my life as an adolescent and teenager. Open containers littered vehicles of unknown origin, and those vehicles were often filled with smoke and teenagers desperate to impress. These circumstances are the stuff of cautionary tales and after school specials, yet there we were, some who knew better and had parents who cared, others that didn’t, all risking our futures for rebellion and some strange understanding of fun.
This is the backdrop for Kendrick Lamar’s new track “The Art of Peer Pressure.” As former good kid who was raised in my own “m.A.A.d city,” I immediately related to Kendrick’s tales of a day with “the homies” and how a young man might put aside his morals to fit in. This is an example of what we don’t get nearly enough of in hip-hop today: real stories about real people. While no track list has been released, here’s hoping that this latest leak makes the album, and is indicative of the level of quality of the project as a whole.