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The Pacer

Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn.” Album Review

Kendrick is back and better than ever

Adam Schwartz, Entertainment Editor

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Kendrick Lamar has been around for awhile.Since 2004 to be exact. The hip hop rap genre he’s a part of has been around for even longer. With Kendrick’s fourth studio album, Damn, he brings one of the best albums the genre has seen yet.

Featuring fourteen tracks, fifteen if you include the promotional track “The Heart Part Four,” with a playtime of about one hour, Damn is Kendrick at his finest. From the classic Kendrick tracks like “Element” which gives a steady beat throughout and a catchy chorus, to the more recent “in your face Kendrick” tracks like “DNA” or “Humble” where the tempo is increased, there is something for all Kendrick fans to enjoy on this album.

His 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly was received with mixed responses from both fans and critics. The political themes about blacks in America that was hammered heavily in To Pimp a Butterfly were not what most Kendrick fans wanted, and this mistake is corrected properly in Damn. This is Kendrick in his best form, the cocky rapper from Compton that better be feared by every other rap artist.

Kendrick’s cockiness can be seen in all his tracks, taking shots at rappers left and right in each song. Songs like “Humble” and “Element” are where we see this most, with Kendrick telling other rappers to “Sit down, be humble” repeatedly in the chorus. One of the tracks, “God,” simply states how Kendrick is so successful that he feels like God. “This what God feel like, huh, yeah laughin’ to the bank like, ‘A-ha.’”

He doesn’t stray too far from the political talk seen in To Pimp a Butterfly, as he brings up politics in multiple tracks. Lines like “Donald Trump is a chump know we feel, punk?” and “Donald Trump’s in office we lost Barack and promised to never doubt him again” show us that Kendrick isn’t afraid to voice his political views like other people in Hollywood.

One theme that is present throughout the album more than anything else is religion. Kendrick has been open about being a devout Christian, and it’s more prevalent here than anything else he’s worked on before. A more relaxed track on the album titled “Yah” is reference to the closest estimation we have to God’s real name, Yahweh. In this song he references the bible, “Said know my worth and Deuteronomy say that we all been cursed,” Deuteronomy being a chapter in the bible. Religion is interwoven throughout the album, which balances out the politics and dominance Kendrick also talks about.

The beat in each song is unique to not only the other songs on the album, but they’re very different than what most hip hop artists are releasing nowadays. Each song has a nice mix of synthetic and acoustic sounds in the beat. “Humble” has a piano background to the main beat, and “XXX” features legendary band U2 for nice rock sound. The variety is refreshing in a genre that often feels stale in the beat department.

Kendrick is back and better than ever on one of the best albums hip hop has, and ever will, see.

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The online edition of the award-winning student newspaper at Rolling Meadows High School
Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn.” Album Review