Damn - Album
Hip-Hop | Rap
kendrick lamar drops his rawest album yet in ‘damn’, proving his place among the greats
By Sound Check
April 14, 2017
Damn. Kendrick Lamar’s appropriately titled fourth studio album gives you that feeling, like the loss for words you feel at a punch in the gut. That’s because the rapper pulls no punches in baring the rawest emotions and boldly tackling political issues in one of the most highly-anticipated offerings of 2017 that doesn’t disappoint.
The opening three tracks of DAMN., out today, feature references to a Fox News segment in which anchors criticize the rapper’s #BlackLivesMatter influenced performance of the “Alright” at the 2015 BET Awards for taking on anti-Black policing. Off the bat, this is a take-no-prisoners moment, the audio appearing at both the end of the album opener “BLOOD.” and throughout its second track, “DNA.” The third, “YAH.”, addresses the issue once again in the lines: “Fox News wanna use my name for percentage / My latest news is my niece, she’s worth livin’/See me on the TV and scream, “That’s Uncle Kendrick” / Yeah, that’s the business / Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition.”
Lamar goes back to address anti-Black violence head on again in “FEAR.”, rapping about teenager afraid the color of his skin will “probably” cost him his life, while also addressing child abuse before getting introspective about the rapper’s own anxieties around losing all that he’s gained.
This fearless exploration of the raw themes of violence, insecurities, loyalty and heritage hold the album up, but they are obviously not new to the Pimp A Butterfly rapper. However, the equally lyrically astounding DAMN. might be even more radio friendly, an ambitious achievement for an artist who has already achieved so much. Once again accomplishing the feat of bringing the the realness of the streets even more into the mainstream, DAMN. proves once and for all that Lamar has earned his place among the legendary company of the likes of Public Enemy, NWA, and Tupac.
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