‘DAMN.’ is the title of Kenrick Lamar’s latest album and damn, it’s an honest piece of work. This is the fourth studio album that the California rapper has released, following ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ (2015). ‘DAMN.’ drips with confidence and swagger from the first track to the very last.
The 14-track record tackles complex ideas within the songs themselves but encapsulates them with titles of one-worded simplicity. It’s the perfect juxtaposition that allows us to gain sight into Lamar’s unique perspective on humanity, karma, faith and more. ‘DAMN.’ doesn’t aim to be a collection of lyrics to be danced and partied to. Instead, it serves as an anthology of stories and concepts; eye-opening and thought-provoking.
The highlight of ‘DAMN.’ is its lyrics, confronting, that address a modern audience. The lead single, ‘HUMBLE.’, released last month, challenges the egos and authenticity of his fellow musicians as well as the wider community appearing to live perfect lives portrayed through social media; “I’m so f*cking sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like a** with some stretch marks.” It’s blunt. It’s straight forward. It’s relevant.
Lamar’s flow is slick as ever in tracks like ‘FEEL.’, where his breath seems endless. The feverish cadence of the lyric paired with the measured beat underneath creates a sense of urgency, anger and panic; “I feel like it ain’t no tomorrow / F*ck the world, the world is endin’ / I’m done pretendin’ / And f*ck you if you get offended”. Additionally, the relaxed beat allows for a break in the raps for the chorus, a repeated “Ain’t nobody prayin’ for me”.
Another stand-out is ‘PRIDE.’ The notion of a sincere humanity is challenged, “A perfect world is never perfect / Only filled with lies”. Lamar acknowledges that the faults in man don’t matter to him, only God does.
‘DAMN.’ addresses a lot of taboo subjects; a lot of controversial subjects. It’s a piece of art that works to start more conversations about being honest about what we think about the world we are living in. It doesn’t have to be listened to loudly for it to be enjoyed or to understand the stories that are being told. I highly recommend listening to this one; it’s worth the hype.
Find Kendrick Lamar on Facebook, Twitter and Spotify.
Images courtesy of Interscope Records.