Kendrick Lamar strikes gold once again

Charles Clark, Staff Writer

DAMN., released on April 14, is the fourth studio from Compton rapper Kendrick Lamar. Lamar’s discography starts when he still rapped under the alias K-Dot, but since releasing the Overly Dedicated EP under the name Kendrick Lamar he has released three studio albums.

The first of which would be Section.80, an independent release that was praised for its deeper lyrics and themes about real world, but the album had a bad case of being too underground and indie in terms of production value.

Lamar would later release good kid, m.A.A.d City in 2012. With singles like Swimming Pools (Drank) and Poetic Justice (feat. Drake) this album debuted at the No. 2 spot on Billboard’s Top 200 chart.

In 2015 Lamar released To Pimp a Butterfly which has be called one of the best rap albums ever made. Singles from this album lead to Lamar winning his first Grammy awards including the Grammy Award for Best Rap Album.

In 2016, Lamar released untitled unmastered., a collection of unreleased songs from the recording sessions of TPAB.

Now we have DAMN., a fourteen track listing consisting of multiple different sounds. Some songs like DNA., and the single that preceded this album, HUMBLE. come with a very modern trap sound, while FEAR. and PRIDE. have a more jazz element. LOYALTY. (FEAT. RIHANNA.) and LAVE. (FEAT. ZACARI.) bring a more modern pop sound while songs like ELEMENT. and LUST. have a crazy experimental hip hop sound.

DAMN. opens up with the song BLOOD., which is a spoken word story over a funk beat about Lamar seeing a blind woman struggling to find something and when Lamar offers to help her she pulls a gun on him and fires. This oddity is followed by DNA., a trap banger and one of the highlights of the track listing.

While I say one of the highlights, the reality is this entire album is a highlight, but some tracks stand out from the others. In my opinion DNA., ELEMENT., PRIDE., HUMBLE., LOVE. (FEAT. ZACARI.), and DUCKWORTH.

DUCKWORTH. is the story of Top Dawg Entertainment executive Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith escaping a murder conviction and then planning to rob the local Kentucky Fried Chicken. A former manager was robbed by one of Tiffith’s associates and another time a customer was shot in the store. To avoid a similar incident the cashier only known by the nickname Ducky would give Tiffith free food leading to Ducky surviving and Tiffith avoiding life in prison. Near the end of the song Lamar reveals that Ducky was actually his father (hence the track being titled DUCKWORTH.).

Another story Lamar keeps in mind is his cousin, Carl Duckworth, telling him the reason he is having troubles in his life is because African Americans are cursed by God for abandoning his laws. He even includes this voicemail in the song FEAR. where Carl references the book of Deuteronomy to support his claim.

Lastly I need to mention my least favorite track on the listing. Which is XXX (FEAT. U2.). Why Bono needed to be on this album I don’t know. Not to mention the production is all over the place to the point where it is too hard to get into.

Overall DAMN. is an amazing album that just has a few flaws. This is the last time I will get the chance to say that numerical values on art makes no sense due to its natural subjectivity, but if I had to rate this album out of 10 it would get a light 9.