‘DAMN’ Kendrick, you right

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, April 26th, 2017 at 5:02 PM
‘DAMN’ Kendrick, you right by Dakota Palmer

Only one word comes to mind while thinking of Kendrick Lamar’s new album: DAMN.

And not solely because that’s the title, but because the fourth studio album from the rap artist serves as a strong contender for best album of 2017.

Lamar starts the album with “BLOOD.,” which is a story about how he helped a blind woman who ends up shooting him. The introduction sets a dark tone for the rest of the album and we’re left wondering if the remainder will be as dark and eerie as the opening track.

“DNA.” picks up the pace and immediately serves as a fast-paced dance jam. It’s probably the catchiest song on the album, mainly because the verse scheme is very repetitive. In a lot of cases, repetition can be extremely annoying, but Kung Fu Kenny makes it work here.

“YAH.” slows down the album significantly, creating a very chill vibe for the listener. Lamar’s singing voice is not the best, but it’s very smooth and relaxing. Overall, this track is a very good, smooth track to add to the album.

“LOYALTY.” features Rihanna, who adds a lot of character to the song. It’s certainly not the best on the album, as the verses
are somewhat unintelligible, but Rihanna’s harmonizing gives the song a depth and personality that would not be the same without her.

“HUMBLE.,” released as the first single in March, is the perfect upbeat song to place in the middle of the album. It’s a super-fast- paced, high energy, in-your-face song that’ll pump you up. While the track before it, “PRIDE.,” is another slower song, “HUMBLE.” comes back with a left hook, leaving you with nothing to think about except for the musical genius that is Lamar.

Now, what band is the least likely to be featured on a Kendrick song? U2. And what band is featured on a Kendrick song? That’s right, U2.

I was very hesitant about “XXX.” at first because I imagined some weird “Sunday Bloody Sunday” remix combined with Kendrick lyrics. However, the song is a great low-key track that will leave you to jam. U2 comes in and provides a slow energy to the song which nicely juxtaposes with the semi- fast rap of Lamar.

The final song on the album, “DUCKWORTH.,” titled for Lamar’s real last name, really pieces together the album. It serves as the musical glue that holds “DAMN” together.

This song, a telling of Lamar’s life, is the most creative on the entire album. Lamar talks about how Anthony, who is Anthony Tiffith, the CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment (Lamar’s label), used to live a life of crime. One day, Anthony goes into the local KFC and the man who works there, Ducky (Lamar’s father), gave Anthony extra biscuits and free chicken to get on his good side so that he would not kill him.

Lamar concludes the song saying that 20 years later, the two men met again at a recording studio.

He says: “Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence?/Because if Anthony killed Ducky/Top Dawg could be serving life/While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight.”

Those lyrics indicate that had Ducky not gotten on Anthony’s good side, Anthony could have killed him, Kendrick could have grown up without a father figure and would have eventually also turned to a life of crime.

The album is a very good listen. It will be very surprising and quite disappointing if it doesn’t win any awards, but I doubt that will be the case.

You can see Kendrick on “The Damn. Tour” this summer with Travis Scott and D.R.A.M.

Dakota Palmer can be reached at musics spectator@gmail.com. 

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