As far as it goes, Kendrick Lamar’s unique and constant handwork continues forth. The latest drop of ‘DAMN’ from the young gemini is a much needed release that follows the politically packed To Pimp A Butterfly. Dating back to interviews even prior to TPAB, Kendrick noted being ‘afraid of going broke’, and debated whether his music would ‘stop’ and how he would be able to get by. An idea far from our minds when referring to one of the most influential and highest-ranking rappers of our generation, but a prior insecurity for the artist.
However, this album confirms a new Kendrick. Kung Fu Kenny spits with a similar vibe but a different viewpoint. DAMN showcases the confidence and assertion that his presence is here to stay without question. From Cornrow Kenny to Kung Fu Kenny, the moniker perfectly defines how he’s coming all 2017.
Now, with that said and done, here’s our TOP FIVE:
This track demonstrates a step into why Kendrick has surpassed his competition. With the recent beef with big names such as Big Sean and Drake, K.dot doesn’t let up on this one. Discrediting anyone against him and showing that this is just in his DNA to be this great. A lot of recognition for his growth and impact on the music world.
‘My DNA not for imitation,
Your DNA an abomination’
The second part of this song is also why it’s one of the top five here at POD. In the last minute of this song, Kendrick directly hits on every point that is needed to justify why he’s above these other mainstream rappers that society hypes up. He’s too busy with his Monday Yoga and aims to hit ‘Cloud 10’ soon come, also while sipping outta one of his five Grammys.
There are too many points to quote from this bit of the song, but if you’re going to listen to anything, listen to this verse at least twice as he goes bar to bar exceptionally.
This track is a true representation of how much music means to him and how he does it absolutely for himself. Kendrick reflects on himself and shows just how dedicated he is to this. Not willing to change himself or letting anyone stop him. The Chorus is possibly my favorite part, because he articulates his willingness and hunger to bring out his best potential – no matter what it takes, no matter what he has to do.
“If I gotta slap a P**** A** Ni**a, I’mma make it look sexy.”
So, If he’s gotta slap someone and put a dude in his place, he’s gonna do it his way. [STAYING IN HIS ELEMENT]
In another verse later on, he spits out a reference to Tupac, confirming that the only way to stop him is to take his soul.
“Fake my Death, Go to Cuba that’s the only option.”
Love (feat. Zacari)
This is my absolute favorite track off DAMN, Hands down. As Kendrick slows it down, this track speaks to the soul. The reality of real love, and possibly a true appreciation for his fiancé, Whitney Alford, who he’s been riding with since high school. He continues the quest of the unconditional love while his appreciation for his girl, because he ‘don’t got you, he got nothin’. With the soothing, angelic vocals from Zacari, it hits home for everyone at some point within the 3 minutes and 33 seconds.
“Keep it a hundred, rather you trust me than to (love me)”
Kendrick recruited the Goddess Rihanna on this one. The two really go at it. For the entire album, he touches on the importance of loyalty and how its instilled in his being [DNA], while it may not be the same for many others around. This is loyalty not only with relationships but in general. When it comes down to it, where does your loyalty lie?
A great factor and point made by Kendrick & Rih. He also reiterates how he’ll lay his life on the line for music. Loyalty is key, as Kung Fu Kenny makes you think about and possibly question those you surround yourself with.
This track really hit home for me. As he opens, he refers back to past experiences growing up in Compton. The growth of Kendrick is a key component of this project. He speaks on the perspective of where his fears would lie growing up. His fear at a very young age could be as small as wasting food, which I can attest to as many others, growing up in families where each meal is treated as a luxury. Then, as he grows into adolescence the dialogue changes to being ‘fast’ with girls like ‘Keisha’, a key character that Kendrick would refer to in past albums. Any hip hop head that has listened to Kendrick Lamar since he went by the name of K.Dot can easily appreciate this track fully.
As I stated earlier, the artist’s prior fears of not making it in music and questioning if the success would continue comes out again. At any moment, ‘God Giveth, and God Taketh Away.’
“At age 27, I grew more accustomed to fear, accumulated 10 times over the years”
This track shows a side of Kendrick that we don’t ever see. But this can also explain why being Humble is in his DNA, just like loyalty. We place him on this big pedestal but he, himself, didn’t always see the promising successful future. It’s a real eye opener and shock at first.
Humble may have gotten everyone’s attention. But I highly recommend this track to be heard a couple times on repeat. This is the one that’s got the people talking. The one track that clearly had an element that was evidently noticeable. This track also has a reversed intro following right after the opening, that subtly blends right in.
Every stone thrown at you resting at my feet
Why God why God do I gotta suffer
Pain in my heart carry burden for the struggle
Why God why God do I gotta bleed
Every stone thrown at you restin’ at my feet
Why God why God do I gotta suffer
Earth is no more, won’t you burn this muthfuc*a?
THIS MAN IS THE GOAT, AND IT’S NOT UP FOR DEBATE. (jk, we can if you’d like.)
—–Now with speculation of another album to be released on Easter Sunday, let the anticipation ensue again as we all wait for what might seem like the longest 24 hours. But for now, we can all continue having “DAMN” on repeat.