Wow, thanks Kenny. Had to change the review title because of my multitude of younger readers. Fork you, you piece of shirt.
Kendrick Lamar aka K.Dot aka Kung Fu Kenny aka King Kenny is one of today’s most consistent hip hop artists. He has put out great projects for years and ranges from songs that straight knock to more neo-soul, jazz and funk influenced weirdness. He can go from storytelling to effortlessly ethering his fellow rappers. Kendrick always brings relevant lyrics, various flows, and eccentric vocal stylings to his own projects. Combine these with stellar production that always has a special musicality and you have one of the best products out in music.
“Ain’t nobody praying for me.”
DAMN is very good. The album just came out today so I’m sure more lyrically minded listeners will pick this apart for months to come. Common themes are still the black problem in America and more personal experiences. He gets shot in the intro and on the last track everything rewinds back to the beginning. Maybe the album is a flashback of his life until that moment until he is brought back to reality. Instrumentally, I would say compared to To Pimp A Butterfly, this is a lot closer to center(whatever that means). Less experimentation and genre exploration means this is probably more accessible to the mainstream.
Don’t take that to mean that there isn’t any strange voice intonations or soulful tracks because that’s just Kenny and that’s what he does. DAMN wavers between bangers and more relaxed melodic or slower offerings. “HUMBLE” is slotted between “PRIDE,” a groovy little number and “LUST” which starts odd and slightly sparse with reverse cymbals and pretty good singing. “YAH” breaks up the slappitude of “DNA” and “ELEMENT.” “DNA” is by far the best song on the album, unfortunately, it’s first. It is straight heat and then a beat change that continues the hypeness.
WTF WHY IS THERE A U2 FEATURE? I’m still affected by that one time Apple randomly inserted that U2 album into our iTunes libraries…HOW DARE YOU? Whatever. “XXX” is cool, if not a bit all over the place and noisy. Trump line shows up here. U2 is either at the beginning or near the end or both but it works. The other features on the album…happen. Kendrick’s voice is the the only thing that keeps “LOYALTY” from sounding like it was made ten years ago by like…idk Ludacris? Rihanna sounds great because she’s great but I really think the chorus is weak. “LOVE” is my least favorite song. It’s boring, Zacari’s voice isn’t special. Snore.
Only my most loyal fans will know that in my last review I mentioned that for whatever reason an industry standard for hip hop albums is to have an extra long song. “FEAR” is that song clocking in a hefty 7:41. I like how on some of the more smooth instrumentals we are just getting pelted with bars in double time like parts of “LUST” (SHOUT OUT TO BADBADNOTGOOD) and “LOYALTY.”
One last thing: ANOTHER ALBUM WITH ALL CAPITALIZED SONG TITLES. WHY. WHY. WHYYYYY DOES THIS BOTHER ME SO?
There are some really interesting and tinfoil hatted theories that another album is gonna drop on Sunday…Check out /r/hiphopheads or /r/KendrickLamar on reddit if you wanna get lost. Just sowed the seed of hype, do with it what you will.