“To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore.” Kendrick told New York Times in the buildup to this project.
Rumors persisted about every part of this work. From creation to marketing, down to the infusion of synths, and sirens, everyone had a ‘hot take’ to share about the work. But it’s here now. “DAMN.” Harsh, minimalist, and at the same time, rich and unyielding.
It depends on who you talk to, but fans believe Kendrick Lamar is a legend. The greatest rapper of his generation who has had two great projects (GKMD & To Pimp A Butterfly). The first was a personalized description of his experiences and self-defense on larger concern outside Compton. While the second made him a prophet, who preached emancipation, and provided a scholarly soundtrack to the black struggle. This is legendary stuff already.
play Rapper Kendrick Lamar performs at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival in Indio, California on April 16, 2017
But he is back again. Spotting a grown hair, spitting about his dislike for Photoshop, splitting open his ‘DNA’, and more.
“So I was taking a walk the other day..” opens the project, and gets everyone hanging to his words, seeking a part of themselves, of Kendrick, of society, of greatness. “DAMN” grabs you by the throat, jars your senses, as much as he entertains. It is unflinching rap project, which throws complexity at listeners with line, but also tackles topics in a bare, direct manner.
There’s a piercing lamentation of a death on “FEAR”, although the victim is unknown, but we connect. “DNA” carries all of his braggadocio and then some. Rihanna is on ‘LOYALTY’, although it is an outlier single, which would make the rounds on countless radio spins.
The album comes full circle with its last line “So I was taking a walk the other day…” bringing closure to what has been a drawn-out masterful conversation about a lot. And although sometimes it becomes too strenuous to process, or too visceral to process with the brain, it still leaves you with the realization that there can be none like Kendrick, no matter what he does. No one.
3-Worth Checking Out