“I can’t fake humble just ‘cause your ass is insecure.” – Kung Fu Kenny
Kendrick Lamar was either a fake-deep Hotep or the best thing since sliced bread, depending on whose opinion you solicited when “To Pimp A Butterfly” dropped. Fast-forward to April 2017: Would Kendrick continue down the eclectic lane of “To Pimp A Butterfly” or give his “Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City” devotees something a little more palatable? Well, “DAMN.” is a mixture of both, with a bit of “Section 80” thrown in for good measure and the consensus is literally: “DAMN.”.
We’ve come to expect conceptual masterpieces from Kendrick Lamar and this album doesn’t quite match his previous two projects in that aspect, but not many do. What “DAMN.” lacks in cohesion, it makes up for in versatility. The experimental production, lyrical exercises and forays into pop all work. The Rihanna-laced “LOYALTY.” has the most mass appeal, but it’ll have to share the Summer Seventeen spotlight with the Prince-tinged “LOVE”. “FEAR.” reacquaints us with the introspective Kendrick we fell in love with; “DNA.” and “FEEL.” remind us why he’s peerless. The album’s apex is “DUCKWORTH.”. Sure, we’ve heard Kendrick tell compelling stories before, but 9th Wonder’s flame-worthy beat switches here make you wish he could’ve done more work on this project.
How does “DAMN.” impact Kendrick’s legacy? For a snapshot, it makes him four for four in solid-to-great albums, further demonstrates that he was clearly born to rap and cements him a spot on the GOAT list. Tall accomplishments for an artist who likely hasn’t reached his peak. Time will reveal if “DAMN.” is truly classic material, however it will certainly be on my year-end, top 10 list. “I am legend, I feel like all of y’all is peasants.” I dare you to prove him otherwise.