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Review: Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.”

Kendrick Lamar’s new album release marks his first formal record release since 2015’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”

Sommer Dalton, Staff Writer

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“My left stroke just went vi-raaaaal!” These days, it’s almost impossible to turn on the radio without hearing that lyric from Kendrick Lamar’s top charting song, “HUMBLE.”

His new album: “DAMN.” was released April 14, shooting to the number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart in less than a week.

The Billboard 200 Chart ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S. This will be Lamar’s third number one album on the Billboard 200,  following last year’s Untitled Unmastered” and 2015’s “To Pimp a Butterfly.”

Lamar’s first interview with Apple’s Beats 1 Radio since the album’s release discusses the message behind “DAMN.” and how the album provides fans with a different musical feel than his previous works, moving away from the jazz-induced rhythms toward heavier beats.

The idea behind his past album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” according to Lamar, discussed changing the world and how we as people approach things. On the flip side, “DAMN.” focuses more on the understanding that he can’t change the world until he changes himself.

Purposefully touching on various things, wordplays and messages, Lamar hopes to add layers to his music, similar to that of his inspiration and influence — Tupac. Political references, religious overtones and lyrical mysteries have caused listeners to ponder and reflect upon the words of Lamar.

Opening track “BLOOD.,” starts off with a seemingly calm dialogue involving a blind woman, and ultimately ends in an abrupt gunshot. Damn.

“BLOOD.” does its part to set the tone for the raw to the point way of lyricism, seizing our attentiveness and forcing us to listen to the words laid out on the next track “DNA.”  

Ushering us in with a continuous booming of 808s and bolstered samples from the hip-hop group Wu Tang Clan, “I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA,” provides a hard hitting hook to match the head bobbing beat.

Songs like “DNA.,” “LOYALTY.,” and “HUMBLE.” are among the most popular on iTunes, giving listeners an insight into the mind of Lamar as he touches on feelings of self-sacrifice and personal revelation.

Many of the track titles are simply outlines of human emotions. Bold and unapologetic in his approach, Lamar looks to dissect theses feelings and come to grips with them.

So, if you’re looking for a hardcore rap album with rigid beats and expressive messages, “DAMN.” might be next on your listening list. With this album, Kendrick Lamar continues to show fans and listeners why he is one of the top rappers in the game.

 

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