By Hector Gomez
“DAMN.” is the fourth studio album by seven-time Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar.
This album proves to all fans who thought of him as an unstoppable creative lyricist were certainly not wrong. After more than a year since releasing his compilation album “Untitled Unmastered” and two years since releasing “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Kendrick finally released the album on April 14.
O n “ D A M N , ” Kendrick demonstrates a series of mediations of technical and emotional capabilities.
The front cover shows Kendrick focused yet cautious. The Compton native uses his lyrical genius to address his past, present, future and his competition.
“DAMN.” is a work of reactions, a response to how others perceive him and his opinion on the world we live in today. On his single, ‘HUMBLE.,’ which was released weeks prior to the new album, Lamar gave fans a taste of what was to come.
In the song, Lamar repeats “Sit down, be humble” warning all other rappers on what they should do if they don’t want to be embarrassed by his lyrical genius.
The “hip-hop rhyme savior” reminds his competition why he’s the greatest, proving how his music and lyrics come from a sober mind, while other rappers rely on drugs and alcohol to make music.
The albums begins with the track, ‘BLOOD.,’ where Kendrick tells a story in which he is shot and crucified after offering his help to a blind women he notices struggling. His desire to do good, turns on him and takes his life.
On the next track, ‘DNA.,’ Kendrick embraces everything about himself and what he’s made of, while he rejects those who try to afflict him.
Lamar uses this track to remind everybody how successful he has become since making music, and to address how others are simply not on his level.
Two fiery verses from Kendrick on this track basically states how he’s financially well off and his lyrics are better than the rest of his competition.
Kendrick goes on to trash his competition by saying he’s beating them over and over with his music and lyrics. Kendrick doesn’t hold back at all on this album and responds to his critics.
After his last solo album “To Pimp A Butterfly,” FOX News mocked and criticized Kendrick’s single ‘Alright.’ Reporter Geraldo Rivera was his main critic as he said, “This is why I say hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years.” With so many racist incidents that the world has encountered over the last few years, it seemed as if FOX News dismissed these incidents to be major problems.
This only stuck with Kendrick as on each of the first three tracks of “DAMN.,” he plays a sound bite of the FOX News segment that criticized his ‘Alright’ single. However, on the third track ‘YAH.’, Kendrick directly calls out FOX News and reporter Rivera on the second verse.
He notes how FOX and Geraldo Rivera manipulate the use of his name for money by purposely misinterpreting his lyrics as evil and portraying him as a negative role model.
Kendrick asserts himself as the most dominant rapper in the game with one of fans favorite classic hiphop track, ‘ELEMENTS.’ Lamar also shows all his emotions in the song ‘FEEL.,’ where he voices how nobody prays for him and his desire to be self-isolated.
His creativeness continues on the track ‘FEAR.,’ where he explores fear from three different aspects. Lamar raps stories of terror about a seven-year-old living in a home dealing with domestic violence, a 17-year-old expressing fear of dying from living in a rough neighborhood and a 27-year-old’s fear of losing confidence in everything he’s done throughout life.
Lamar also has some great collaborations with Rihanna on ‘LOYALTY.’ and with U2 on ‘XXX.’ He uses strong religious themes throughout tracks like ‘PRIDE.’ and ‘GOD..’
The 14-track album with the song ‘DUCKWORTH.’ – his legal surname – and raps a story about his father and his label CEO. “DAMN.” reminds everybody who is the best lyrical rapper of this generation and how it’s not even a competition.
Lamar lets everyone know he still sits on the throne of the rap game. Until he retires at least, it doesn’t seem like any other rapper is going to take his place.