Best Hip-Hop Album (Mainstream) of 2012
When the Illmatic comparisons actually start to sound plausible, you know you've got one hell of a debut album on your hands. Whether or not Kendrick Lamar's freshman full-length is still mentioned alongside Nas' epochal set in a decade's time, good kid, m.A.A.d city is a phenomenal work of art, exploring complex themes and presenting a compelling narrative without eschewing entertaining rhymes and catchy hooks.
Nas - Life Is Good
It was almost impossible for Kendrick Lamar to match the enormous expectations placed on his major label debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d city; he didn't just meet expectations, he surpassed him. Truly cinematic in scope, GKMC gave us both outright bangers like Backseat Freestyle, complex narratives like Sing About Me and everything in between. If 2012 produced one classic album, this was it.