By Krista DeJulio and Ryan Fitzgerald – Co-Editors-in-Chief
“Today is the day I follow my intuitions,” raps Kendrick Lamar on one of the opening lines of track number three of “DAMN.” his fourth studio album. Keep following them Kendrick, we’ll keep listening.
Right after Drake released “More Life” which will undoubtedly be one of the hottest albums of the year, Kendrick answers “DAMN.” came on April 14 – filled with 14 songs and features from U2, Rihanna and the smooth Zacari.
This is the first release since last March when Kendrick released the compilation album titled “untitled unmastered” where the title suggests the exact approach that was taken to producing the album.
It’s interesting to note that NBA star LeBron James reportedly influenced the release of “untitled unmastered” and said recently in an interview, “DAMN.” was sent to him prior to its release. Whatever it takes LeBron, keep talking to Kendrick.
The new album brings a new sound, as Kendrick has used heavy beats in the past, and uses this album to reflect on himself (especially “FEEL.”), political and social issues, as well as expressing himself in his funloving way. It’s hard to pick favorites on this one, in our opinion this might be the best work of art K Dot has dropped to date.
Rihanna sings on “LOYALTY.” “It’s so hard to be humble.” While the single released before the album titled “HUMBLE.” invites other rappers and listeners to be humbled by his real and personal lyrics – a suggestion that Lamar is the greatest rapper in the game right now. An unusual collaboration of the song “XXX.” features U2, where each Kendrick and Bono explore upbringings, Lamar’s hometown of Compton and the current state of the country. While a Lamar/U2 song might be questionable, Bono’s short verse and lyrics are powerful and match Lamar’s intensity.
The most hype track of the album is definitely “DNA.” where Kendrick loses it. Reminding everyone that he can still make that crazy unconventional flow that we’ve come to love.
Kendrick opens the album with an interesting track titled “BLOOD.” where he meets a blind woman on the street who apparently shoots him and ends the album with the track “DUCKWORTH.” which tells a crazy, true story of his upbringing. Kendrick tells how Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith (the head of the TDE label Kendrick is signed to) was once a gang member who spared Kendrick’s father’s (Ducky) life when he once robbed a fast food shop. Later in life, Kendrick signs to Top Dawg’s label and the rest is history. That’s the best story Kendrick has told so far in his career. And he does so by using that insanely fast lyrical flow.
The rest of the tracks on the album include “YAH.” (this is our favorite), “ELEMENT.,” “LUST.,” “GOD.,” “FEAR.” and “PRIDE..” He opens up on himself again on “FEAR.” telling his true fears in his mind right now. It seems like Kendrick is getting very introspective with his place in the rap game and life right now.
Kendrick can do everything. He’s one of those artists that no matter what mood or place you’re in, you can put on a Kendrick song and vibe to it. That’s hard to do. 10/10.