Pop Culture

Kendrick Lamar and The Art of An Album

[We reached our goal of $20K - plus some - for our Indiegogo campaign. We will address that tomorrow but trust and believe, we are all moved and humbled by the generosity. Panama almost cried. I was cutting onions. Thank you all so much for the love, support, and donations.]

(You all will have to forgive me, sometimes I think I’m a music journalist. Today is one of those times.)

Man I love this album cover.

This past Monday, October 22, Kendrick Lamar released good kid, m.A.A.d city, (GKMC) one of the most puzzling yet fascinating debut albums of recent memory. My use of the word puzzling isn’t meant to be pejorative at all. In fact, because it made me go “hmm” so hard, I’m actually liable to think he may be some sort of genius sent from the Aftermath Gods to Earth to craft the most inaccessible album that actually does well commercially, if that makes any sense.

Let’s start a few years back though. I’ve been a fan of Kendrick Lamar at least since 2009. I was perusing some rap website I frequent and came across the song “Wanna Be Heard” from his Kendrick Lamar EP, a misnomer since the EP had like 15 records on it. I heard the song and instantly got hooked. At the time, the beat reeled me in though I came to find it was a looped version of a beat Black Milk made and put on one of his instrumental albums. Anyway, after listening to his EP I was completely sold on  him. I kept trying to put my boys on…some successfully, others just didn’t get it. That EP was my favorite of his “mixtapes” so to speak. (O)verly (D)edicated is the one that got him major looks for its diversity and breadth. Then came Section 80, the most cohesive of his works.

Now his progression as an artist and as an arranger could be felt from mixtape to mixtape. The albums sounded more cohesive and had a better flow. The tone meshed well and lyrics got sharper. You could literally see a man getting better at his craft year by year. And all of it was in preparation for his major label debut.

During this time, he gained the co-signs of everybody that mattered on the West Coast culminating on that fateful day when Snoop passed the torch to young K.Dot. And now, we got GKMC. He’s singed to Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) and has a deal with Dr. Dre via Aftermath/Interscope. Given the powerhouse moneymaking machine that is Interscope, you’d think that we’d get an album that sounded like it was intended to sell units.

We didn’t. We got a concept album that is seamlessly woven together via skits, interludes, and really long songs (“Sing About Me, Dying of Thirst” clocks in at over 12 minutes long). There are no discernible singles on this album. Even the song with Drake, Mr. Billboard himself, is a pretty subdued and non-radio friendly song even with its Janet Jackson “Anytime, Anyplace” sample. It’s a very dark and moody album that represents a day in the life of Kendrick when he was 17 years old and attempting to meander through his surroundings.

Most artists nowadays, if I can call them that, don’t really focus on albums. They make singles, package them together, and release the collection and add some non-sequitur title to it. Nearly all new major label artists are doing that nowadays. There’s very little thought required and most of these albums are easily digestible with catchy hooks and wanton ass lyrics.

SIMILAC.

When I listen to GKMC I keep hearing Jay’s “if skills sold truth be told…I’d rather be…” line from “Moment of Clarity” on The Black Album. His point there was that he’s trying to sell records and the people who buy records don’t want all that thought-provoking deep stuff. They want to be able to get it on the first listen and repeat it if need be. Part of that, especially for new artists is that you need to create enough buzz and pomp around them to get people’s attention. Dense rhymes and multi-syllabic rhyme patterns only works if you’re Nas.

Enter Kendrick who has pretty much been rapping about whatever he wanted – largely life, women, and humanity – however he wanted. He was just that interesting and picked up enough co-signs that people started listening. He wasn’t going to the streets, he brought the streets to him. He got the chance to work with all of the hot producers he wanted to and had everybody singing his praises. With that type of set up you’d think he’d release an album that sounds like I imagine Meek Mill’s album will sound.

Instead we get an album that sounds like what would have happened if Outkast made an ATLiens Part II. The tone, feel, and vibe is very dark, melodramatic and moody. This isn’t an album you throw in when you’re trying to get ready for the club. This is the kind of album you listen to on a long car ride when you’ve got time to digest everything. The closest thing to a radio single is “Swimming Pools (Drank)” which is deceptively dark and even that you have to really listen to in order to fully understand.

You have to listen.

For the first time in a long while, I appreciate a hip-hop album. It’s not the kind of album where you pick out your “jam” and bump that. Most songs feel incomplete without listening to them in context. There’s a story and you need to hear the whole thing. Hell, some people might not listen to it more than once.

Which again, gets back to this interesting cross section. Kendrick Lamar is on a major label and releases an album without a true identifiable single and is still projected to sell a couple hundred thousand his first week. That is cultivating a fan base like none other. And it speaks to his talent and what Interscope is truly banking on – that Kendrick is a rapper’s rapper and the type of artist that people truly care about. Buying his album means you’re not in it for the single and the throwaway pop-rap record. You’re in it for the experience of venturing into the world of Kendrick Lamar. That’s what albums are supposed to be about anyway. You’re supposed to take a trip with the artist into whatever place their mind has led you. Only then do you get to truly experience art. That’s the Kanye approach. It’s impressive to me that Interscope allowed this album to be released as it is because it signals to me that they truly think that Kendrick and his fans are in it for the music and they’re betting the farm on that producing at the retailers.

I hope it does. Short of Kanye, and for the first time in a long time, we got an album out of a more mainstream hip-hop artist and for once, that was crafted with care down to the white meat and intended to do what we always claim hip-hop is supposed to do…tell a story. That’s the art of it all.

When the lights go off and it’s my turn to settle down, my main concern…promise that you will sing about me…

Yep, I think they will.

good kid, m.A.A.d. city

-VSB P aka THE ARSONIST aka MR. YOU WEREN’T LOOKING FOR AN ALBUM REVIEW, NOW YOU GOT ONE aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Filed Under:
Damon Young

Panama Jackson is a co-founder of VSB and co-author of Your Degrees Won't Keep You Warm At Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • Andi

    I know we’re going to address this tomorrow, but I love everyone here so much. That is all.

    • legitimate_soul

      Congrat to all of you! Yay! Hugs to Andi!

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      awww…sweet Andi came thru with the sweet message.

  • iamnotakata

    Soo…..I have no clue who Kendrick Lamar is….

    • http://testorshia.blogspot.com Tes

      I think he’s a rapper… I think.

      • http://www.iamyourpeople.com I Am Your People

        So far i only know white hipsters that are into Kendrick Lamar, so I’ve filed him next to Azaelia Banks in that regard

        • miss t-lee

          *cackles*

    • Beautifullyhuman

      This was my introduction: http://youtu.be/BwjTqaBp1jQ

      Perhaps you’ll like this song. It’s old, but it still slaps.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      He’s a rapper from Compton. One of those rappers that comes around every so often that gets beaucoup cosigns and actually delivers on them a la Drake. Except hes not a pop rapper like Drake, which is no shot to Drake…

    • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger

      One of the best intros to hear Kendrick Lamar is His Pain II w/ BJ the Chicago Kid (who is a frickin BEAST in his own right). It’s a song that IMO, sums up what Panama said without having to set aside time to get all the way in to GKMC. But once you hear it, if the music and sheer rapping ability don’t hook you, the story telling will.

      Please don’t miss out though. I think K. Dot may be a legend in the making.

      • http://www.todisspits.blogspot.com MicTheMessenger
      • http://catelouie.com catelouie

        Co-frickin sign on BJ the Chicago Kid being a BEAST. My goodness. I love “Kush & Corinthians” that he did with Kendrick. My favorite collab of theirs.

  • 1heathen

    long time lurker

    +1000

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      +1 more

  • Meisarebel

    Honestly, thank you for this.

    I must admit, that I wasn’t an early bandwagoner of Kendrick. I didn’t get him at first. Wasn’t a fan. Didn’t care. Then I heard Cartoons and Cereal. And I was sold.

    Kendrick has talent. Seriously. And this album is the truth. I’m no hip-hop head by any means, but I can appreciate an album when I hear one, and I appreciate good kid, m.A.A.d city. Short of MBDTF and Ready to Die, I can’t say I’ve enjoyed many ALBUMS. And I know I’ll be crucified for what I just said, but f it. It’s how I feel.

    Plus, Kendrick’s verse on A$AP’s F***in Problem is nasty.

    • http://barronnetwork.com CHeeKZ Money

      His verse on F’ing problem is perfect. That is exactly how rappers with artistic integrity should write on a mainstream records. “that means a benz to me is just a car”

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      you like what you like. And his verse is crazy on that ASAP joint.

    • The F.acially U.nappealing C.hicago K.id?

      I actually think Drake had the best flow on that song. Kendrick probably had more quotables, but Drake rapped his azz off on that song.

  • African Mami

    I ‘ve been hearing a lot of KL. At first, I thought he MUST be an RnB hot thang, because he is soooooooooo easy on the eyes, but alas, no. I wish him all the best doe, with his pretty boy looks.

    Please, let me be shallow for a minute. I thought that one of the requirements in hip hop, although not explicitly stated, but certainly implied, is looking a certain way. Allow me to elaborate: “It’s a hard knock face” [Baby, Plies, Busta Rhymes, Chamillionaire, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne], “cracked/burned lips, that need special vaseline especially in the winter time” [Gucci Mane, brrrrr, Young Buck], no necks [Busta Rhymes]. Street cred is no longer a requirement, [Aubrey Graham] or am I just so gotdarn clueless….be kind, God don’t like ugly.

    PS: my crater inducing lover, I’m looking forward to your comment(s), you’ve been raving about this boy oo, for the past 100 years.

    The Joy-Milo & Otis, is where all my attention is right about now. Just discovered them. They are fantabulous.

    • The F.acially U.nappealing C.hicago K.id?

      “my crater inducing lover, I’m looking forward to your comment(s), you’ve been raving about this boy oo, for the past 100 years.”

      Lol, well the man is amazing. He had the best album of 2011 with Section.80, behind Drake’s “Take Care” and Childish Gambino’s “Camp”. And he’s released another superb album. Their whole Black Hippy group puts out quality music. I hope he sells well. I bought two copies of the album.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I just can’t get with Childish Gambino anymore. When “freeks and geeks” dropped you couldn’t convince me that dude wasn’t about to be the biggest sh*t ever. But his subject matter is so so limited. It’s like he has nothing to rap about short of being an outcast (odd since outcasts have been in for years now), non-Black chicks, and his d*ck. Albeit witty, but its just like…something new. Point is, I didn’t love “Camp” not even a little bit.

        • The F.acially U.nappealing C.hicago K.id?

          He does what Drake does and raps about what he knows. And I don’t blame him. Because we all know people will complain about what he’s rapping about now, but then when he switches it up and raps with more of an edge, people will call him fake. See: Drake. So I don’t care if he raps about the same stuff as long as he keeps it fresh through his lyricism. Lil Wayne has been rapping about the same sh!t for literally about 15 years. And he’s lasted this long. Because he rapped about the same topics in different ways. In fact, people question the quality of his current work not because of subject matter, but because the lyrical ability is just flat out absent nowadays. So I hope CG keeps doing what he’s doing. Seeing as how he had the verse of the night at the BET Cypher. Dude is a beast.

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            you present a good point. that’s the problem he’s rapping about the same stuff the same way every time. his verses are predictable as ever.

    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

      *waves*

      Hiya, AM!

      Lol@all the ‘ugly’ rappers.

      Yep, many, if not most, rappers are facially challenged. And topping that list would be Joe Camel himself. I don’t think looks matter in hip hop, as with other genres, because hip hop is, has become, a minstrel show. And minstrels don’t need to be attractive.

      *shots fired!!!*

      • African Mami

        Hey Val!!

        LMAO!! DEAD @your whole comment.

        Who is joe camel? Never heard of him. Googled him, I saw a donkey…is that who or what you are talking about?

        • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

          Joe Camel = Jay Z

          :-)

          • African Mami

            *hollers*!!

          • http://twitter.com/sylquesaid fixedwater

            *dies*

      • Kareem

        Here’s the million dollar question though. Who you rather people be able to make beautiful music or be beautiful themselves? I don’t think is mattered before the internet era, even less before the video era. Have you seen the great singers prior to the mid-80s? None of people would be able to buss in this image driven society. It’s sad cause I bet we’re missing out of on some quality music because of that.

        • Sweet GA Brown

          I thinki thats what The Voice is for. Or maybe its to make society feel better.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          yeah, a vast majority of them Motown cats were not good lookin’ dudes. They just had good voices.

        • African Mami

          Beautiful music…….it’s not that serious. I was just being tongue in cheek. Talent any day. As a listener, I do want the music to move me….and my ears intact, thank you very much.

    • Pseudonym

      Two shots at Busta! (and that last one was just for him alone.)

  • chameleonic

    i dont typically listen to hip hop with an exception for kanye west. i have a genuine interest in him as a craftsmen and i have a healthy respect for his attitude and the way he handles himself. this kendrick lamar album sounds like it has the melancholy warp of the papercut chronicles which i loved listening to just because of the tone and mood. its just the background noise i feel comforted by when im deep in thought but i doubt ill ever listen to kendrick its just out of my way. sort of like kid cudi having a dopeness to him but i hardly have an interest in seeking out his music. i thought it was interesting how you mentioned cultivating a fanbase centered around a concept or conceptual album.

    the reality of quality fans for a deeper, more personal experience is just beautiful to me; i want that in life — people around me who are in it for the deeper experience and actually take the time to get into a pocket with me. hell definitely have a connected experience bc of that and will be plugged into a necessary core support embarking on such a highly personalized journey. good for him.

    it would be awesome if people in general had an introspective expansion of the mind approach to life and not just when it applies to hip hop or this specific album. it really just becomes stale dealing in a world that is so superficially harsh and small minded. i wish people actually spent their lives having their minds expanded but hoorah for kendrick lamar providing that avenue for music. whew. its such a small portion, music, professors should have this profound affect. community leaders. businessmen. pastors. mentors. you really only get this level of dissertation for music. humanity fail.

    • African Mami

      “an introspective expansion of the mind approach to life ”

      Imma need to sign up for dis class right hurr, exactly what does it entail? Oprah humbra humbra, touch your toes, light candles, levitate skywards and meditate about her south african children [humanity]?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      why exactly would listening to Kendrick be out of your way? mind you, listen to who you want and I aint trynna force anybody on anybody…but given how easily accessible music is, how is any artist out of the way?

  • Beautifullyhuman

    Congrats on the goal fellas! I’ve been constantly refreshing the Indingo page since last night to see if the goal was going to be reached. No bullsh*t, I was about to throw my Kendrick Lamar money in the plate. :-)

    As for GKMC, I haven’t made my way to Target yet. It’s really funny because my boy and I were discussing Kendrick last weekend which is ironic since he actually exposed me to him a few years ago. My friend is involved heavily in the LA rap scene (he’s affiliated with Glasses Malone) and I recall him telling me I would love this dude and he played me the “She Needs Me” video and I immediately downloaded the EP. Anyway, we were discussing Kendrick’s development and direction as an artist, and he told me some interesting things. Definitely, can’t wait to see the K.Dot/TDE situation in the next 4-5 years. But, I’m happy for dude. I’m very excited to see a west coast rapper get hella shine and have a huge buzz. I know he sold out both his shows at the Nokia Theater here in LA and threw another show on Sunday outside Staples after the Laker game (mind you this is a new artist doing this with no album out at the time). His buzz out here in LA is wild right now.

    • The F.acially U.nappealing C.hicago K.id?

      You’re here! Yaaaay! I’ve missed you!

      • BeautifullyHuman

        (((hugs)))

        Aww you’re such a sweetie pie; you always know how to make me smile. I missed you too! :-)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I always wondered why Glasses Malone never got bigger than he is. Same with Bishop Lamont. I gues some folks have it and some folks don’t.

      • miss t-lee

        Good question about Glasses Malone.
        I did dig him.

      • BeautifullyHuman

        Only thing I’m left to presume is it’s their lack of ability to connect with wider audiences especially outside the West. I think with Kendrick, his sound transcends the typical regional LA style/sound so he’s able to connect with a larger demographic. You could place Kendrick in any other region, remove his mentions of LA/CPT and I think it would be believable that he’s from there. With so many West Coast artists you know point blank where they’re from because it permeates their whole style.

        Even though my boy is affiliated with G Malone, I never connected with his style. It wasn’t that I didn’t think he was dope, he was just real “West” to me.

      • The F.acially U.nappealing C.hicago K.id?

        “I always wondered why Glasses Malone never got bigger than he is.”

        Probably has something to do with the fact that his name is f*cking Glasses Malone.

  • Malik

    It’s the Channel Orange of rap albums this year.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    I just read a mini review of this guy’s album in Tuesday’s USA Today. They said something about a bunch of rough lyrics over nice beats. Which sounds like most of the current hip hop. Well except for Southern hip hop which has beats that sound like all the producers are sippin’ that syrup. So that’s what I know about Kendrick Lamar.

  • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

    Off-topic; So, I’m on the bus going to work earlier this week. At first I thought it was going to be a nice peaceful ride to work. Then a woman, who is already on her phone, gets on. She sits way too close to me and continues her conversation.

    I work mostly from home, due to recent budget cutbacks, and go into the office for specific projects as needed. And on this occasion I was assuming one of my new duties which is to screen prospective employees for the Director. Who actually makes the final decisions.

    Anyway, back to this woman on the bus. She’s talking pretty loudly on her phone. She mentions that she is having a hard time finding child care. She mentions that she had recently gotten out of “treatment”. And she talks about how she cheated a bit and had a couple of beers the previous night.

    This as you can tell was not information I needed to know. And I’m pretty sure everyone else on the bus felt the same. I finally get to my stop, get off the bus and head to the office. Once inside I spend the next 30 minutes drinking a Frappucino, gabbing a bit with a couple of my co-workers and checking my facebook feed.

    After all of that I grab the applications and head to the reception area for my first interview. And guess who I see sitting in reception; that’s right, Ms Just Got Out of Treatment! She wasn’t my first interview but I eventually interviewed her. The position was for a fill-in receptionist. And Ms. Treatment was actually pretty qualified. She had reception experience and knew some basic computer stuff that is required.

    So, the interview ended and I thanked her for coming in and walked her out. I then proceeded back to my office and shredded her application.

    My reasoning was that she had no idea how to behave in public. That she didn’t have the proper decorum for a professional environment. And I based that all on seeing and hearing her on the bus. Also the part about being in treatment and drinking a couple of beers didn’t help her.

    When I recommend an applicant for a second interview with the director, I always consider that my recommendations say as much about me as they do about the applicant.. So I’m very careful in who I recommend.

    So my question is; was I wrong to disqualify her based upon what I heard on the bus? Should I have based my decision solely on her qualifications and the interview? Or was I right to dismiss her based upon what I’d heard?

    • LeonieUK

      Val, I hardly ever agree with you on stuff you say in here, but on this occasion I endorse this move. Sorry people but you were sooooooooooooooo in the right. Yes maybe you could have given her a chance, and based it all on her skills and experience. But you were able to access her personal issues which would have an effect on her professionalism later on, if not as soon as she started work. So yes you were correct in your actions.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        Thanks.

    • Latonya

      No, I don’t think you wrong for that. Hell I think it’s a blessing!

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        A blessing? I suppose you might be right. May have saved both of us from some problems.

    • Pseudonym

      No. You were lucky to have heard that.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        Actually, I wish I could go back in time and un-hear all that. Lol.

    • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

      I’m not sure. My question is how did she act during the interview. If it was a completely different situation at the interview as opposed to the bus, I wouldn’t go so hard because it shows she knows enough sense to leave her issues at home. However, if it was of a piece from what she did during the bus ride, then yeah, you did the right thing.

      I say this because I used to commute ~45 minutes out in NJ to this job in the Biotech field. For the first 40 minutes of that commute, I would seem like your typical young Black man, blasting music and just generally acting a fool. However, when I knew I would be in shouting distance from work, I’d change the music, tone it down and get to business.

      Simply put, we don’t know what kind of things people do away from work, and keeping it real, I’m not sure how much do you really want to know.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        I get your point but, when you look back on what you used to do you wouldn’t behave that way now, right?

    • Yonnie

      1) you were not wrong
      2) I commend you for not telling her that you were sitting next to her on the bus this AM. Like, “You know you done effed up, right?”

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        Lol. No, I wouldn’t have done that. I would have been out of order.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I don’t know that I would have dismissed her based on what I’d heard. There are no saints here and a qualified applicant is a qualified applicant. Especially since what you don’t know about everybody else is what DIDN’T get their applications shredded.

      I feel like if all of us were judged on our behavior outside of work many of us likely wouldn’t have jobs. I know chicks who have well-paying exec level jobs who ALSO have been carried out of nightclubs due to fighting or just being sloppy drunks. Or dudes who I know are doctors who roll it up, light it up, smoke it up, inhale exhale on the regular. Folks live in the real world.

      But…at the same time, it is your job to screen an applicant and you were gifted with more information than you normally would receive and it is your job to make a decision based on the information you have. While I don’t know that it warranted shredding her application and immediately putting her into the nay category, all you can do is go with your gut.

      • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

        I cosign and pi this comment. Particularly the first two paragraphs.

        But IMO, I don’t think dismissing her was a fair move at all. You were privy to witnessing some public behavior & personal information that didn’t suit your tastes and raised your eyebrows. There is a possibility that these were tell tale signs of potential problems down the road which is why I presume you made the decision you did. However, the reality is that there is also an equal possibility there wouldnt have been any issues. Its a gamble, and she was no more of a gamble or potential liability than the next candidate, or even you yourself when you were interviewing.

        The way I feel is this: So long as she knows how to carry herself while in a professional work environment, what she does on her personal time should not have any implication on her candidacy. Very few of us are the way we are outside of the office, as we are inside of the office. And those same colleagues working along side of you are the same ones likely to make a fool of themselves at the office Christmas parties. Your superior could be a functioning coke head. Who knows.

        To echo Panama’s sentiments, none of us are saints.
        If her resume is clean, she is professional, intelligent and curteous and her demeanor while interviewing demonstrated her understanding of corporate decorum, then the focus should be on that.
        I am not a fan of the idea of judging people’s work performance and abilities based on their outside of work behaviors. Also why I am not a fan of CORI’s.

        Would you have been more sympathetic and willing to hire her if her story was slightly different? Lets say, if you witnessed her being brought to tears about her childcare situation, having financial problems, among other heart string tugging issues?

        I understand why you made the decision you did, but I must admit, I don’t agree with it.

        • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

          @Mr Sobo

          It was really about the info not suiting my tastes, it was about red flags. How do you ignore potentially serious red flags?

          • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

            That information signaled the Red flags which are indicators that something doesn’t fit into your frame of expectation. Your expectation is based on actions you deem to be good or bad, tasteful or tasteless, et al. So yes, your choices are about pleasing your personal tastes, opinions, feelings, etc. Especially since according to you, hiring her was potentially a direct reflection on you to your peers.

            To your question: You don’t ignore red flags. You remain mindful of them. Given that you said she met all the qualifications, had the experience and I presume she presented herself well in the interview, I think she deserved every much of an opportunity to prove herself in the corporate environment as her competition.
            However, you made a snap judgment made about her based on a seperate outside situation while she could very well have been simply having a rough morning.
            Had the interview been tomorrow morning for example, you may very well have been sitting next to her as she read her Bible for inspiration on the way to the interview. Who knows.

            We all have our demons, and I dont think it was fair at all to hold hers against her. Not to mention the legal implications of the actions you took since it can be seen as discriminatory especially since she is currently undergoing treatment. You got to be careful with that sort of thing.

            That aside, I think your decision was premature and based on unrealistic expectations of people in general. It wasnt fair.

            • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

              As for the legal implications; the position she applied for required a professional manor at all times. On that caveat alone I could disqualify her, without crossing any legal lines.

              The ‘treatment’ and drinking part weren’t really what caused me to not consider her. That would have had possible problematic legal implications.

              • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

                “the position she applied for required a professional manor at all times. On that caveat alone I could disqualify her,”

                “At all times”? Please define “at all times” to me.

                Secondly, she has no obligation to live up to standards and expectations of a company that she is not an employee.

                If she had gotten the opportunity, and the importance of being in a highly visible role and being profesional at all times was emphasized to her, it may have resonated with her to remain mindful of that while off the clock henceforth.

                I mean, its not like she got on the bus and chocked and spit on the bus driver, right?

                • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

                  So, if you were presented with two applicants and one had, without their knowing, given you something else to consider, you wouldn’t have considered it?

                  And just for the record; this applicant was not the most qualified on paper.

                  What is your real gripe here? Do you think I was being malicious? I wasn’t. I was being mindful of information that I had.

                  • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

                    “What is your real gripe here? Do you think I was being malicious?”
                    Based on the information you presented, absolutely. I think your decision erred on the side of being malicious among other things.

                    Now my red flags are being raised because you went from this glowing assessment:

                    ” And Ms. Treatment was actually pretty qualified. She had reception experience and knew some basic computer stuff that is required.”

                    To this 8 comments later:

                    …this applicant was not the most qualified on paper”

                    This wasnt mentioned as part of the criteria for your dismissal until now, which makes it appears you are backtracking a bit to justify your decision.
                    Especially when you reasoning for dismissal is this:
                    “My reasoning was that she had no idea how to behave in public. That she didn’t have the proper decorum for a professional environment. And I based that all on seeing and hearing her on the bus. Also the part about being in treatment and drinking a couple of beers didn’t help her.”

                    Nowhere did her qualifications or lack there of play a role in your decision according to you, so you can understand why I’m not convinced qualifications carried any weight here.

                    Lastly: ““was I wrong to disqualify her based upon what I heard on the bus? Should I have based my decision solely on her qualifications and the interview? Or was I right to dismiss her based upon what I’d heard?”

                    This says it all for me, and is problematic. For me, unless it was some eggregious behavior I witnessed on the bus, I wouldnt have based my decision on what I learned while eavesdropping on a phonecall.

                    Sorry for the Obsidian’esque type response.

                    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

                      Okay. I’m going to take your comment under advisement. And I hope you will do the same.

                    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

                      Oh, and I wasn’t eavesdropping. It was impossible not to hear her conversation considering her proximity and loudness.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        You’re kind of making my point, PJ. If someone gets caught on video drunk and acting crazy and that vid ends-up on youtube then aren’t there consequences?

    • http://www.styleillusions.com WIP

      I don’t think you were wrong. We’re observed by everyone we come in contact with, whether we realize it or not. This was fairly mild, but what if you saw her doing something more nefarious? There would be no question.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        “We’re observed by everyone we come in contact with, whether we realize it or not…”

        Yep.

    • sincereluv4life

      She was prolly horrified when she saw you were interviewing her! lol

      You can look at it this way. By not hiring her, you’ve (hopefully) helped her realize that it is a bad idea to share with TOTAL STRANGERS the fact that she still has alcoholic tendencies (even after rehab).

      You have saved future bus riders the unpleasantries of the personal details of her life. She learned something valuable today thanks to you Val :-)

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        Actually I don’t think she recognized me from the bus. I think she was so into her phone conversation that she didn’t notice. Which I think was a good thing. I would have felt weird had she said that she remembered me from the bus.

        • sincereluv4life

          that blows my theory out of the water then, because she doesn’t even know to be embarrassed smh.

    • KMN

      I don’t think you were wrong…I feel sorry for her though…but like everyone else said hopefully she tones herself down while on the bus because you NEVER know who you will come into contact with.

      I know on my interview for the job I have now I was higher than a GA pine but they didn’t know that…and continued to come into work high (this was almost six years ago i can’t do that now) but I knew how to act despite my altered state. There is a way to act even if you do certain stuff…Am I excusing myself for being blowed on my interview? No. But I am saying that I understand that I needed a job and handled business despite what I did the morning before the interview.

      Damn I wish I was 30 again lol…

      KMN

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        Lol@higher than a GA pine

        I feel bad for her too. I wish there had been a way for me to talk to her off the record but that could have backfired really, really badly.

    • Rewind

      I’m going against the grain and will say that you did do something wrong.

      It was not about her and her attitude. In reality it was about you and how vouching for her might reflect onto you. ( I could very well be wrong but you can’t pretend this has no forebearing.)

      Let’s be realitstic for a second. As long as someone is professional and doesn’t have a horrible criminal record, no employer really has the right to dictate how an employee or potential employee should act outside of a business. If she’s got complications, then I can understand that might affect your decision. You found her annoying. I would too. But during her interview, did she give a hint of her outside behavior? Because if no, then what you saw shouldn’t be the main thing you hold against her. Suppose you had a bad morning, and someone spilled coffee on you and you snapped on them. Then when you get to work, you find out they are a client. Now they could easily write you off, thinking you are some kind of hot head, when really they just caught you at the wrong time.

      I get your position though. You’ve got tough decisions to make. I think you should have just kept her on the back file until you viewed as many candidates as possible, instead of just disregarding her completely if she was qualified.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        I hear you, Rewind, but, I wasn’t trying to dictate anything. In the interview process you take whatever info you have to make your decision. And she inadvertently gave me some extra info to consider. Was I wrong to consider that, or would I have been wrong to ignore what I knew.

        I think I had no choice but to consider everything I knew.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Interesting that the women think you didnt’ do anything wrong and the men think you either did or just dont agree with what you did. Not sure what that says, but it says something.

      • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

        It could quite possibly say that they reside in homes that have only large windows but no mirrors.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        I wonder if the applicant’s gender plays a part in this? Would you guys have felt the same way if the interviewee was a guy?

        • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

          Yes.
          Sex is not a factor. Corporate professionalism and decorum within the corporate setting is the factor. To me anyway. Not what someone chooses to do on the weekends or how they conduct themselves off the clock on their own time.

    • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

      I would have shredded her resume for different reasons. She has trouble finding childcare and she’s an alcoholic. Two issues that could make her unreliable. It might not be “fair”, but those are real issues you overlook at the peril of the company. If the receptionist can’t greet clients because she can’t get childcare or had a bender last night, or, God forbid, shows up drunk, that affects the bottom line. Given the facts, that is likely to happen. Easy call. Shredder.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        In my head I needed to have a legally justifiable reason to disqualify her for the job. Considering the childcare and alcoholism might not meet that standard.

        Her lack of decorum in public I think is a justifiable reason to disqualify her. The position she applied for requires professional behavior and discretion, which are the opposite of what I saw on the bus.

        • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

          “The position she applied for requires professional behavior and discretion, which are the opposite of what I saw on the bus”
          Key words here: On the bus. Not on the job she didnt have. On the bus.

          I would like to know what sane person conducts themselves with professional decorum outside of work?

          Furthermore, the logic you are using to justify this just doesnt sit well with me. If we were to apply your logic to everyone, 99% of us would be fired today for non-professional decorum outside of work. Maybe even you.

          What you did and are advocating is no different than what some companies are doing now by looking into people’s FB profiles. Now posting up pictures of yourself acting a ratchet fool on the world wide web for everyone and their momma to see is one thing.
          However, having a seemingly rough morning on a morning commute in front of several people is not the same.
          Have you seen the Pursuit of Happyness? I think you would have never given the brother the chance at all had you seen him on the bus chasing after the people that stole his machine. And he damn sure wouldnt have stood a chance showing up to the interview with paint stained jeans. You would have looked past his professional credentials and potential, and focused on the memory of him running down the street after theives, and wrote him off because, ‘thats not professional decorum’.

          • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

            “I would like to know what sane person conducts themselves with professional decorum outside of work?”

            I do. It’s really not that difficult.

            You are creating hypothetical situations that aren’t really equal to this one.

            As I said downthread to African Mami, this was a reception position, not a back office position, that she was applying for. So how would I ignore her behavior on the bus when that same behavior at work would be a serious problem?

            I feel badly about the whole thing, which is why I posted about it, but, I also don’t think that I was being mean or being judgmental beyond the judgment needed to consider her or anyone else for the position.

            • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

              I’m not creating any more hypothetical situations than the ones your created and used to dismiss this girl. You know, the whole “WHAT IF she acts like this in the front office receptionist job” HYPOTHETICAL situation you clung to with a death grip, as opposed to focusing on her ACTUAL in office professional workmode demeanor she presented to you while sitting across from you interviewing with you inside the corporate space.

              I cuss all day when I’m not working while with my friends. I also wear jeans and my hat cocked to the side too. I twist my hair up in all sorts of funky styles on my personal time. But when it comes time for WORK, I’m in a shirt, tie, slacks, with corporate venacular & professionalism all day until I clock outta that b!tch.

              Like I said initially, I totally understand your rationale. I just don’t agree with your application of it, nor your ultimate action based upon it.
              But it looks like we will just have to agree to disagree. Thats all.

              • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

                FYI, i’m not busting your chops over it or anything. Its all love.

                Might I add, it was refreshing to engage with you today. I must say it feels rather good to have discourse and not have my manhood randomly attacked with false aspersions. Thank you Val for not being one of those types. You are that cool water.

                • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

                  :-)

          • BeautifullyHuman

            @ Sobo

            I work in HR and I must say you would make a great HR Manager or Director. You’re appear to be extremely reasonable and prudent, and by your logic you would definitely mitigate risks. You would be an invaluable asset because you’re able to suppress your biases and see the bigger picture, along with the potential liabilities that come from a discrimination lawsuit.

            • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

              Well, well, well, hello there. Firstly, is your firm hiring? :-)
              Secondly, thank you BeautifullyHuman for such kind and beautiful sentiments. It’s a pleasure to see you round these parts, as you’ve been rather scarce. You should drop in more often and shower us with your radiance and pleasant nature. <-my first and last pandering statement for the next two years.

              • BeautifullyHuman

                Trust, you don’t want to work where I’m currently at. This is the main reason why I’ve been scarce…I’m trying to quit this b*tch…lol. I figured if I apply all the time I spend on VSB towards looking for a new job I’d be able to relieve myself from this misery…lol. So I’ve just been interviewing for the past month. I hope something hits soon.

                By the way, I’ve always thought this but you have a wonderful way with words. (<-my first and last pandering statement for the next two years.) ;-)

                • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

                  I understand the company frustration. I too am job shopping hoping to to escape this wretched womb of lost dreams. Good luck to you however, and just pray you don’t run into Val. She might pull up VSB archives and dismiss you based on some unsavory comment you made in jest 3 years ago on a Friday post. :-) J/k Val. These are jokes son. These are jokes. lol.
                  Anyways, Beautiful Hue of Womanity,.. I see I am the lucky recipient of your benevolence this afternoon. You are far too kind. But thank you none the less. :-)

            • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

              Well, well, well, hello there. Firstly, is your firm hiring? :-)
              Secondly, thank you BeautifullyHuman for such kind and beautiful sentiments. It’s a pleasure to see you round these parts, as you’ve been rather scarce. You should drop in more often and shower us with your radiance and pleasant nature. <-my first and last pandering statement for the next two years.

      • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

        Apart from the fact that your thoughts on the matter are rather surprisingly judgmental coming from you, and not to mention highly presumptuous as h3ll, I’ll just get to the point.
        In your efforts to protect the company’s best interest, you would have inadvertently done the opposite. You would have put your beloved company at risk for being hit with a million dollar class action lawsuit for discrimination which would result in you being promptly fired for your actions should the candidate had even caught a wiff of the reason for her not being considered for the job. Depending on the state, alcoholism is considered a disease/disability. It is illegal to base your hiring practices on someone suffereing from a ‘disability’ especially when they are undergoing treatment, which in this case, she is.

        • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

          Who is this to; me or WC?

          • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

            WC

        • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

          Lmao. I judge and I will continue to judge. I don’t subscribe to silly circular nonjudgmentalism. I have never asked anyone to refrain from judging me. I simply DGAF what anyone thinks. So you’ve got it twisted, as usual.

          I don’t care if alcoholism is considered a disability. I’ve seen it in action and how one person can destroy a workplace. And if you think I’m dumb enough to tell the person that, then you, once again, have it twisted. But I won’t ever hire an alcoholic who is having trouble staying off the bottle. Ever. The law can kiss my a$$

          • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

            *yawwwwn* You bore me.

            • http://www.wildcougarconfessions.com Wild Cougar

              Then stop replying to every comment I make looking for a hole in my logic to soothe your wounded male ego.

              • http://www.minoritymenshow.com Mr SoBo – www.MinorityMenShow.com

                Okay.

    • legitimate_soul

      Hi, Val. :) I find a problem in shredding the resume. You didn’t have to hire her. If you chose not to hire her, I totally understand. You could have noted the application, continued with your interviews and endorsed other applicants that you may have found better suited to the position and the climate of the office. Shredding the resume as if she never applied goes a little further to me than simply not selecting her for the position. I think shredding the application was a bit unethical. I mean no disrespect, just my opinion.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        I see you point but, the shredding was standard for an application that wasn’t going to be considered now or in the future. We would only retain my notes on computer file regarding the name, date, position applied for and contact info of the applicant.

        So, hers wasn’t the only application that was shredded. All of the ones that were not passed along for a second interview were shredded.

        • legitimate_soul

          Okay, I gotcha. Thanks!

    • African Mami

      Mr. SoBo, has made very valid points, which I agree with.
      It was a tough call, BUT, I would have definitely given her chance to prove herself. She may be socially inept, but professionally, it could be a different story altogether.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        If she had been applying for a back office position I may have considered her, AM. But, this was for a reception position. Which mean she would be the first person someone saw upon entering the place of business.

        Which means that I had to consider her lack of decorum may be an issue. What if she was working at the front desk and was on the phone having a similar conversation over the phone? That would have been an untenable thing in a professional environment, don’t you think?

    • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

      Thanks for your input, everyone! I really appreciate it.

    • Rockelle

      I believe that was the right move for you, Val. As a receptionist, she’s the first person that your client sees. If she couldn’t act with any kind of decorum on the bus, you can only imagine what she would be like at work. First impressions are everything.

      • Iceprincess2

        Hey Val. You know you my girl, but I disagree with you on this. In this instance, you let your emotions override the situation. yoy may nor have realized it, but you were getting even with her cuz she annoyed you on the bus, plain & simple. It’s ok, you’re human. If it was me, I would’ve wanted to give her the job even more because she was recently out if treatment. Second chances & sh*t, ya know? People don’t need a hand out, they need a hand up. Maybe she drank those beers cuz she was depressed about being unemployed. You had the chance to change someone’s life that day. Instead, you sent her to the shredder :-(

        • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

          I understand your point, IP. And I also get what you are saying about giving someone a chance. And that will definitely be something for me to keep in mind in the future.

          But, not hiring her was not an emotional decision. It was purely based upon what I thought were reasonable reservations about her ability to be professional as a receptionist.

          Like I said to African Mami, had she been applying for a back office job I think it would have been a different situation.

      • http://valsotherblog.wordpress.com Val

        “As a receptionist, she’s the first person that your client sees. ”

        That was my main consideration.