DAMN: Lamar drops new album

Aaron Pelican, Sports Commentator

Since his emergence in 2011 with his first album, Section.80, it has been clear that Kendrick Lamar is something very special.

First recognized for his untouchable ability to deliver bar after bar, Lamar has budded into the most well-rounded artist in hip-hop.

With three full length studio albums under his belt, Lamar has already experienced incredible success. The lineup of Section.80, good kid m.A.A.d city, and To Pimp A Butterfly could go up against the lineup of any other rapper in history.

He has continued to get better with every single project he releases. His ability to conceptualize his music and deliver an audio thematic experience to the listener, has proven his dedication to the craft. Following what will be considered one of the best hip-hop albums of all time (To Pimp A Butterfly), DAMN. had some big shoes to fill.

Kendrick Lamar took a very abstract approach to the album, DAMN. He completely re-invented his sound yet again and showed a side of Kendrick Lamar we had never seen before.

The album begins with BLOOD, a track that is underlined with a smooth classical sound narrated by Kendrick himself and in which we experience what appears to be the death of Kendrick Lamar. A loud gunshot at the end of the track sends the listeners into a description of everything that, Lamar believes, lead up to his death. He describes how things such as DNA, LOYALTY, PRIDE, LUST, LOVE, and FEAR assisted to his death.

Kendrick Lamar delivers his most emotional performance by far on this project. In true Kendrick fashion, he uses and transforms his voice to truly deliver a raw emotion through each song. On songs like FEEL, PRIDE, and FEAR Lamar sounds very emotional and his lyrics suggest that he may be coming from a perspective of true depression.

On the song FEEL, Kendrick discusses his distaste for the world we live in now. He expresses his concerns for his own mental state as he claims nobody is praying for him, which is an underlying theme throughout the album.

In each of his albums, he has always maintained his very unique sound while branching into other genres, like pop and jazz fusion.

Every album he has released has had at least that one radio hit that the mainstream audience just loves. On this album, Kendrick took a few different shots at the pop sound with tracks like LOYALTY, LOVE, and GOD.

With Rihanna featuring on LOYALTY, it could be argued as one of the better tracks on the album. It is a classic take on pop from Lamar while throwing in that Kendrick touch.


On tracks like LOVE and GOD however, Kendrick seems to make a little bit of a stretch. While the content and the structure of the songs are top-notch, for the true Kendrick fans, these two songs are a Kendrick that they just are not used to listening to.

Lamar even takes a shot at an old-school sound on the track PRIDE which carries a classic rock vibe with it. He turned this song into one of the better ones on the record proving that Kendrick has even more in his arsenal than we imagined.

He also gets at that jazz infused sound, which was featured all over his last record, with the song FEAR.

With a lot of new sound, one thing remained consistent. Kendrick hits the listeners with a couple classic jaw-dropping, hard hitting tracks like DNA and XXX. The two songs are so mean it is almost overwhelming.

Lamar releases that bar after bar mentality that we saw a lot on previous records all while it is over some of the better produced tracks in recent memory.

In review, Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is well worth the listen. It will be in the running for 2017 album of the year undoubtedly and for the first time in his career, reaches a much broader audience.

In terms of where this ranks on the Kendrick Lamar scale, it is very tough to put this piece higher than any album besides Section,80. But even though this may not be Lamar’s best project, it still is something very special.

With this album, Kendrick Lamar proved to me personally, that he is on another planet compared to the rest of hip-hop. If Michael Jackson was the King of Pop, then King Kendrick Lamar has turned into the new King of Hip-Hop.