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Mace & Crown | April 25, 2018

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Kendrick Lamar Has the Whole World Saying "DAMN."

Destiny Webb | Contributing Writer

Kendrick Lamar has done it again, and his latest album will leave you saying “DAMN.” The Cali rapper’s fourth studio album, “DAMN.,” was released April 14 and hip-hop listeners are still going crazy.

Lamar first teased fans when he released the song “The Heart Part 4,” which caused quite a stir online. Many Twitter users felt that Lamar may have been taking subliminal shots at Detroit-native rapper, Big Sean. It’s unclear if that is true, but what is clear is the impact that Lamar’s rhymes have on the hip-hop community.

Lamar later released a music video for his first single, “HUMBLE.,” produced by Mike WiLL Made-It. The video and song caused an uproar on Twitter and many women were offended by his lyrics. In the song, he says he prefers women’s natural bodies over Photoshopped ones. Whether you agreed with him or not, the song is doing well. According to Complex Magazine, “HUMBLE” is Lamar’s highest debuting single at No. 2 on The Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“DAMN.” is much different from Lamar’s previous projects. He experiments with distorted sounds and switching up the beats in the middle of a song. It may seem like a strange concept, but Lamar does it in a way that is creative and works. In the song “DNA.,” Lamar raps over a loud, head-banging beat, then switches over to an even crazier sound.

Courtesy Top Dawg Entertainment

Lamar also heavily uses samples throughout the entire album. He uses a lot of old-school soul music from the ‘70s and rap from the ‘90s in what seems like an ode to black music and culture. He even sampled audio clips from Fox News and their thoughts on hip-hop and police brutality.

Another theme throughout the album is God. Lamar, in a way, compares himself to Him. He does it in a way that is not blasphemous, but rather in praise. The comparison seems to stem from his idea of seeing himself as a black king and nothing less. In the song “God,” he talks about how he feels like God when it comes to his level of happiness and success.

This “godly” feeling Lamar has now was not easy for him to come by. Fans know about his struggles growing up in Compton through his previous albums. In the song “FEAR.,” Lamar takes us through a timeline throughout his life. First, the fear of your parent, then the fear of getting killed as a teenager and lastly the fear of reaching success, but losing it all.

As far as features, there aren’t very many. Lamar features Rihanna in “LOYALTY.” It sounds like your average radio single, but nonetheless, the song is catchy.

The song “XXX.” features legendary rock band U2. It’s not every day that rock-n-roll and hip-hop meet, but when they do, it’s magic. This song has a bit of an N.W.A sound and gives it an old-school ’90s vibe.

The song “LOVE.” features an up and coming artist named Zacari. It shows the softer side of Lamar, and many assume he is talking about his fiancée, Whitney Alford, who is Lamar’s long-time girlfriend and high school sweetheart.

Overall, “DAMN.” is really good. Lamar continues to release music that people can relate to and enjoy. He proves he isn’t afraid to think outside the box when it comes to sound and shows that lyricism in hip-hop is not dead. Is it better than previous albums? That’s up for discussion, but it definitely did not disappoint.