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Hometown: Compton, CA.
The lineup: Kendrick Lamar (vocals).
The background: Kendrick Lamar has been quite a big deal in the States for a while now, appearing on the front of XXL's annual Freshmen Issue early last year and featuring as part of a Spin magazine cover story on hip-hop's DIY moment alongside Odd Future, A$AP Rocky, Main Attrakionz, Clams Casino, G-Side , Danny Brown … all the quirky blog rappers that we've been raving about in this column and who have helped make this as exciting – that is to say, seductively ethereal – a period for hip-hop as any we can remember. With his freewheeling meditations on everything from relationships to the fallout of Reaganomics over spaced-out synths and blissed-out melodies, Lamar's Section.80 was a lush but lacerating affair, and one of the albums that made 2011 such a classic, even if, as the 25-year-old from Compton pointed out, "mixtape" hardly did it justice. "I treat every project like it's an album anyway," he said. "It's not gonna be nothing leftover. I never do nothing like that. These are my leftover songs y'all can have 'em, nah. I'm gonna put my best out. My best effort. I'm tryna look for an album in 2012."
That album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, is due in October, and with its arrival imminent it remains to be seen whether Lamar can retain the independent, idiosyncratic spirit that has made him as popular in Pitchfork's world as he is in hip-hop circles. Because it has been produced by Dr Dre and is being issued by Interscope in conjunction with Aftermath, Dre's label, it's hardly going to be an under the radar release. The first single from the album, The Recipe, however, augurs very well for the collaboration and suggests Lamar could be next in line for Dre's Midas Touch treatment – one of his former proteges, Snoop Dogg, has even crowned Lamar "the new king of the West Coast" (he's also getting Twitter-love from Lady Gaga, but that's another story).
The Recipe has the heavy, hazy, menacingly languid atmosphere you'd expect, and is addictive enough to withstand repeat plays – and demand summer ubiquity – with its loping, looped beat and sample from New York indie act Twin Sister's creepy Meet the Frownies dropped into the track as dextrously as Dre did Dido's Thank You on Eminem's Stan. The forthcoming single, Swimming Pools (Drank), is another promising taster from the album, with its dark, dragging beat and intoxicating swirl. It's a good sign, too, that there are names on the credits of good kid, m.A.A.d city of some of the producers that made Section.80 such a diverse delight, with its astral jazz, comatose funk and manic 8bit interludes, which makes us imagine that being on a major won't mean Lamar's idiosyncrasies will be ironed out and that the album won't just be a vehicle for Dre and the ideas he hasn't quite managed to commit to tape for his long-awaited album Detox.
The truth: Lamar's going to have his Dre day.
Most likely to: Work with Gaga.
Least likely to: Go reggae.
What to buy: good kid, m.A.A.d city will be released on 2 October by Interscope, preceded by Swimming Pools (Drank).
File next to: ScHoolboy Q, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Main Attrakionz, Andre 3000.
Monday's new band: Father Sculptor.