REVIEW: DAMN — Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar

Top Dawg / Aftermath

With 4 simple letters, Kendrick Lamar announced his return to the rap game and this time he wasn’t around to play. In a world where artists fight for new and innovative ways to promote their newest releases, Kendrick played coy and waited for his competition to release new music before capitalizing off of their buzz. Hot off the heels of Drake More Life “playlist,” Kendrick dropped the first single from his fourth studio album and it’s safe to say he’s catapulted his way to the forefront of the rap game.

Kendrick Lamar always touches various subject matters and fleshes out full concepts with his albums. With each album, Kendrick creates a new world that keeps you coming back. What makes DAMN. different is that it’s his most commercially accessible album, but the quality isn’t diluted. Despite straying away from the soulful, live instrumentation sound of To Pimp a Butterfly, Kendrick’s beat selection is still pristine. This album has a little bit of everything. Although Kendrick is telling a complicated tale, it still has songs for every playlist, whether that be your driving music, workout tunes, or baby-making music. DAMN. is a lyrical portrayal of Compton, USA, the world Kendrick Lamar grew up in. This carefully crafted depiction of Compton includes self-pity, fear, love, lust, doubt, and triumph. DAMN. is an emotional journey disguised as a booming rap album.

— Dexter Watty