Music Review: Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”

Music Review: Kendrick Lamar, “DAMN.”

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DAMN. Kendrick Lamar dropped one of the most influential rap albums of this decade on Good Friday. The celebrated rapper, whose 2015 “To Pimp a Butterfly” won him a Grammy for “Best Rap Album” takes an introspective turn this time around, focusing on our most basic, primal elements, with song titles like: “BLOOD,” “DNA,” “PRIDE,” “LUST,” “FEAR,” and “GOD.” On DAMN. Lamar proves he is not only the most talented rapper around, but a masterful storyteller to boot. Lamar isn’t propagating old narratives, but rather, he weaves the building blocks of his life through breathless raps and unrelenting rhymes. Directly addressing those who criticized his lyrics on police brutality on To Pimp a Butterfly’s, “Alright,” Lamar digs down deep (“DNA”), exposing the contents of his history, as well as those of his haters. His talent in storytelling culminates in “DUCKWORTH,” the album’s mind-boggling closing track, and a story that’s stranger than fiction. Kendrick captivatingly sews together two strangers’ lives, leading up to a confrontation that could have ended in his father’s death at the hands of the future rapper’s producer. The album ends where it begins with “BLOOD” – the life Lamar would have led if his father was killed and his mentor incarcerated – as another victim of senseless gun violence.

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