Another “DAMN” Classic

Kendrick Lamar’s most recent album, DAMN, debuted on April 14th. The Red & Black reviews…


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Kendrick Lamar’s latest album drops the mic.



Rapper Kendrick Lamar released his fourth album, DAMN, today and the internet is all shook up. Following the critically-acclaimed “The Heart Part 4” (not included on DAMN) and lead single “HUMBLE”, Lamar’s new fourteen tracks have been anxiously anticipated for its April 14th release.


While politically-charged, old school hip-hop/jazz/funk-inspired To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) will probably be the magnum opus of his career, certified Platinum by the RIAA, nominated for five Grammys, and claimed as an instant-classic by many, DAMN. is still a great album in its own right. While it’s nearly impossible to surpass an album such as TPAB, most fans and critics are pleased with what DAMN. has to offer, and sales and impact are promising as the album has shot straight to the top of streaming and iTunes charts, and also is dominating social media with overwhelming praise.


While not having as consistent a style and production as TPAB and his first two albums, Section.80 and Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, DAMN. gives us a more trap-influenced and modern rap feel, similar to his contemporaries, with certain tracks, such as “DNA.”, feeling more bass-heavy in production than some of his previous works. Features on the album include high-profile pop star Rihanna on “LOYALTY”, unsigned newcomer Zacari on “LOVE”, and U2 on “XXX”. Yes, the rock band U2. Like, Bono. That U2. This particular move had many fans biting their nails all week after the track-listing announcement for a disgusting style clash of a song, but Lamar and U2 actually worked really well together and the result is a surprisingly good jam. “PRIDE” has also getting a lot of attention, as it has a more indie and dreamy, laid-back vibe, which is hauntingly beautiful to listen to, even for non-rap fans. The style of the track is also strikingly similar to that of popular R&B singer Frank Ocean, so fans of both musicians, and any music fan, should definitely listen to “PRIDE”, if they were only to listen to one track off DAMN.


While this album definitely has a different sound and experience from Lamar’s previous studio works, the themes and storytelling fans have enjoyed in the past are still there. Political verses critics loved on TPAB are still present, such as in the forms of jabs at Fox News and President Trump. But, even if your viewpoints lie on the opposite side of Lamar’s, the album is still worth a listen, if only for the top-notch music and beats.


To pull it all together, while DAMN may not be the TPAB 2 fans may have hoped for, DAMN will be another classic rap album of Lamar’s career and this century. The album offers a whole new experience from Lamar, and frankly should be listened to once through by any rap, R&B, or any music fan looking for something new. And whether you want to call him Kung Fu Kenny, K-Dot, or GOAT, future generations will be referring to him as one of the most iconic rappers of the last decade.