Kendrick Lamar “DAMN” Album Review [Stream Online]

Kendrick Lamar
Damn official album cover

Based on the first fan critiques from the leaked album`s version, Kendrick`s fourth studio piece named “DAMN.” is an ease of No. 1 Album Of The Year. With still a young age of his career and an poetically justiced legendary crowning, Lamar has nothing more to prove and yet, the Compton Rapper`s hunger gives him no room to sleep. A 14-track project was released yesterday and has only three features, oppose to previous works “To Pimp A Butterfly” and “Untitled, Unmastered” that underlined his personal achievements.

If you follow his fork passionately, then you already know announced it to be more “commercial sounding” like. And we already get the taste of it with “HUMBLE” drop, which, concluding by that single only, should be another of Kendrick`s astonishing crafts. Let`s define the definite depiction of “DAMN.”. 


DAMN Official Tracklist

Kendrick Lamar
official album track list cover


01. BLOOD.
02. DNA.
03. YAH
05. FEEL.
06. LOYALTY. (feat. Rihanna)
07. PRIDE.
09. LUST.
10. LOVE.
11. XXX (feat. U2)
12. GOD.
13. FEAR.

Misunderstood And Religious Beginnings

Kendrick Lamar

The first section of “DAMN.” translates to Kendrick`s disappointing and a bit of angry place of mind. Ever since he dropped the “Alright” single,  the media attacks don`t stop. That is threaded throughout every single, from albums start. Most of his unsatisfactory thoughts come from Fox News`s negative criticism of Kendrick`s “Alright” live performance at the 2015 BET Awards. Kendrick`s anger is specially accented in “YAH” where he goes directly at Fox reporter Geraldo Rivera. 

Kendrick Lamar

These three shots at Fox are not the only thing occupying the theme. Although “BLOOD” refers to Lamar`s misunderstood karma, “DNA” and “YAH”, present K`s heritage and  religious devotion, hence “YAH” can be translated as GOD in Hebrew. 

And even if not so many features as for the mic embodiment, Kendrick didn`t waste any gems on production gathering. His super-producer team rays off such a talented Hip Hop divergents like Bekon, Top Dawg, Mike WiLL Made-It, Sounwave, Dj Dahi, Tae Beast, James Blake, Ricci Riera, Terrace Martin and more. So if this doesn`t pass the “Album Of The Year” test, hardly any producer hustle will.

Started From The Bottom, Now…


Kendrick Lamar

From little less arrogance, Kendrick explains his way up in this music industry game. And again, Rapper shows his current “ELEMENT” by teasing others to rap battle confront him, dropping some heavy lines like:

“Most of y’all don’t fade, most of y’all been advised
Last LP I tried to lift the black artists
But it’s a difference between black artists and wack artists”.

Negative thoughts and therefore feelings expand in his “FEEL” mode with still a lower-key vibrations. Despite his success, Kendrick feels “boxed in”, “depressed” and “disappointed” highlighting continuously that soul`s pondering condition “whos praying for me”. First time we hear and feel Kendrick`s emotional burst on the loneliness.

Kendrick Lamar

First collabo feat. RiRi is called “LOYALTY” and keeps that slow-motion gliding through the “DAMN.”. Emphatic lyricist and sexy Bad Girl talk about that relationship devotion, whether it`s purely platonic or a real emotional one. The beat is sampled with extremely high pitched vocal chants, creating an odd, yet acceptable ambiance.

Religion Vs. Politics Tube Extension

Kendrick Lamar

With the help of Steve Lacy, Kendrick hooks the “PRIDE” joint to another of its religious soul`s bodies. And after “DAMN.”`s signature jump “HUMBLE” which switches from religion to Lamar`s command stance tosit down and be humble”. Bombing the high life vices, Kendrick paints almost the perfect picture out of BadBadNotGood production trio from Toronto, Sounwave and LA`s Dj Dahi`s instrumental rendition “LUST”drains the lavish addictions with:

“Wake up in the mornin’
Thinkin’ ’bout money, kick your feet up
Hop in the shower, put on your makeup, lace your weave up
Touch on yourself, call up your nigga, tell him he ain’t shit
Credit card scam, get you a Visa, make him pay your rent
Hop on the ‘Gram, flex on the bitches that be hatin’ on you
Pop you a pill, call up your bitches, have ’em waitin’ on you
Go to the club, have you some fun, make that ass bounce
It’s whatever, just make it count”.

Kendrick Lamar

Second collaboration comes with Zacari, and talks about Kendrick`s devotion to, probably his life love Whitney Alford. The “LOVE” beat is super smooth and maybe way too loose for my taste. Sounds just too much “pop commercial”.

Last collabo is with made with guys from U2 and is titled “XXX” and is one of the most impressively wickedly-done instrumental. More political controversy is squashed in the little space of slow-bounded tripple-exed ode.

Final Horizon

“FEAR”, “GOD” and “DUCKWORTH” all tell a completely different stories. In “FEAR”, Kendrick reflects to three life periods, all containing a number 7. At the age of 7, Lamar lived through some heavy domestic violence. At 17, his fear expanded onto the streets, and by the age of 27, he was fearing death more than ever, being afraid of losing everything that he accomplished.

“GOD” wears a flipped version inside. It serves a purpose of being and feeling good in Kendrick Lamar skin, feeling almost Godly like. Yet on the other hand, toning down other rappers, humbling them down when they make the same comparison.

Kendrick Lamar

Last track rocks Kendrick`s Suriname and sends an interesting tale of his father`s almost fatal finish by his label boss Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. Apparently Antony and Lamar`s dad faith-meet at the “KFC” and Top Dawg tries to rob the place where Ducky, Kendrick`s father worked. This is the most emotionally-striking art piece and a wonderful finisher, which I do not have an adequate words to well-describe, so I will leave you with Kendrick`s tale-drama-touching bars to dwell into:


“Pay attention, that one decision changed both of they lives
One curse at a time
Reverse the manifest and good karma, and I’ll tell you why
You take two strangers, and put ’em in random predicaments; give ’em a soul
So they can make their own choices and live with it
Twenty years later, them same strangers you make ’em meet again
Inside recording studios where they reapin’ their benefits
Then you start remindin’ them about that chicken incident
Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence?
Because if Anthony killed Ducky
Top Dawg could be servin’ life
While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight”.

Permission To Rate Freely

Yes, as expected, Kendrick Lamar did not disappoint. And I don`t think he ever could do. Lyrically, he`s the best there can be inside one`s artists soul. But instrumentally, this vast producer wave hit did not move me like I personally expected. They did give a deep trail into “DAMN.”`s final figure, yet I am left with significant amount of emptiness on that side.

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick`s invincible emotional strength is endlessly opposal to lifeless mediocrity. “DAMN.” hangs on authors self-critical notice and intentional bow to God`s written rules. But, cuncurrently accuses the same line of humans misusing the basic resources to power themselves above the highest one.

It`s fiercely intelligent and magnificently un-puzzled chunk of art, that only needed couple of buzzly vibrant whiskers to canvas up the well-deserved overall grade.

Condemned watermark shapes in front of its mirror in reflection 8.5/10.

Purchase “DAMN.” or stream now in the player below.



tanja cookbeat

Producer/Blogger/Music Critic

32-year-old self-taught artist (Hip Hop producer/dj, blogger/critic, quote writer/enthusiast photographer).... Certified Fitness Coach. Former Ryan Leslie`s "BPBC" member. Occasionally on a Composer Agreement with LA`s "Smash Haus Music Group". Owner of online personal label "CoCo Beatz Music Group". Certified Fitness Coach (has 17 years in recreational bodybuilding). Living for Hip Hop Culture.

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