For this review I had to stay off social media for a few hours. I wanted to really sit and listen to the album. Last thing I wanted was the “King Kendrick Peasants” to swaying my opinion left or right. Damn is technically the 5th album from Kendrick Lamar. I say technically because it appears that Untitled Unmastered never came out and doesn’t need our attention. Technically also applies because not many people count Section 80 as Kendrick’s first album. With the the release of “The Heart Part IV” and “Humble” along with the album cover. Many on my timeline deemed Damn to be a classic album up to 72 hours before the album leaked or dropped. I’m in the mind-frame now to just let the King Kendrick’s Peasants live and appreciate the music in my own way. Damn is definitely an album worth appreciating.
The album begins with “Blood”. An intro that can take your mind into many directions. You instantly wonder. Could Damn be another great story album of a lost life? Is the blind lady a main character? One thing for sure is you are thinking before an actual song starts.
As the album rolls on, Damn is a firm display of high level rapping ability. Kendrick is full of stories, emotions and reflections. It all comes in spurts throughout the project while over head nodding beats that are easy to digest.
“Humble” still remains in the top half of “best songs” on the album. It’s one of the best beats and best flows you will hear on this album. Kendrick remains unconventional with his singles and features. “Loyalty” with Rihanna will definitely get a push that I expect to get around the same love RiRi gets when her and Eminem collaborate. The difference is, urban radio will stay behind it for more than 6 weeks. “XXX” with U2 has “surprise festival performance” written all over it. It has layers. The switches are crazy and the content is real. I hope they shoot a video for it just to see how the worlds collide visually.
“Lust” is the seemingly awkward moment of this album. Do people want to hear Kendrick Lamar get sexual? That’s for the listener to decide. “Love” with Zacari is a dope song. Love is one of Kendrick’s favorite words and missions in hip-hop. I imagine this being the “surprise hit” of the album.
My A-1 favorite song on the album is “Fear”. I love the concept of the song. From “I’ll beat your a$$” to “I probably die” to the reflection of what life is like at 27. A great story is told in a unique way. Other very dope and personal favorite songs include “DNA” “YAH” and “Element”. Element is an interesting word of caution. If Kendrick got to slap a “pu$$y a$$ ni**a”, he’ll make it look sexy. Kendrick also borrows the Juvenile “Ha” flow for a quick switch up.
The album ends with “DUCKWORTH”. It’s the final, but great story about how Top Dawg and Kendrick Lamar could potentially never meet if both of them and Kendrick’s father ends up dead or in jail. Kendrick’s story telling game is A-1. This is definitely one of Kendrick’s best stories.
My recommendation. Don’t listen to the album expecting your world to change. Don’t sift through this album to catch Drake and Big Sean subliminal shots. Just let “Kung Fu Kenny” cook. Simply listen to the album because Kendrick Lamar can rap. He called himself the best rapper alive. He dropped a 100% rap album. Kendrick wants love and prayer. He wants to create without any expectations. This is the album many of you wanted right after Good Kid M.A.A.D City. It’s also the album you thought you were getting instead of Untitled Unmastered. You get that album, just not during the time you expect. So enjoy Damn for what it is. A well performed rap album.