Kendrick Lamar’s recent project Damn continues a streak of quality music that he has been serving up since the beginning of his career. I’ve started writing this review a few times only because I wanted to make sure I gave this project a fair listen. To be clear, in my estimation Damn is a far cry from good kid m.A.A.d city and To Pimp a Butterfly. With that being said, this project has its own heartbeat.
The album opens with Kendrick extending his hand in the assistance of a blind woman and he loses his life as a result of this. This is significant because we travel with him as he puts the pieces of his life back together. “DNA,” the second track on the project, reminds us that lyrically and style wise, Kendrick can’t be touched. Right now, he is carrying the torch for the real emcees and he isn’t letting go. As we venture deeper into the project, we find Kendrick soul searching on “YAH”, “I’m a Israelite, I ain’t Black no mo that word is only a color it ain’t facts no mo.”
The legendary Kid Capri pretty much hosts the project with his Kung Fu Kenny interjections. Damn is Kendrick providing the world with the album that separates casual fans from his real ones. The two stand out tracks are “HUMBLE” and the 9th Wonder produced “DUCKWORTH.” 9th reaches back and gives Kendrick a musical bed that sets up one of the best hip-hop stories ever heard.
Kendrick has a few high-powered features on this album. Rihanna is featured on “Loyalty” and U2 is featured on “XXX.” Kendrick has the ability to incorporate his experience and share genuine emotion with his listeners. This is extremely evident on the song “Fear.” He speaks of fear as a motivator and a crippler: “At 27 my biggest fear was loosing it all, scared to spend money had me sleeping from hall to hall, scared to go back to section 8 with my momma stressin, 30 shows a month and I still won’t buy me no Lexus.”
Damn represents Kendrick defining who he is as he continues to search and discover himself. This one is definitely worth your time.