Kendrick Lamar’s build up to Damn has been a short lived, yet intense ride. First, there was the release of “The Heart Part 4”, a track that is not found on his new release. Then he dropped the juggernaut that is “Humble” the following week. The beat alone on that song is so infectious that it evokes all feelings but humbleness. Apparently, everyone else thinks so to. The song is Billboard’s fastest rising rap track in 7 years. “Humble” is also poised to be the biggest commercial hit of his career. However, “Humble” is just an enticing snack to a meal that cannot be ingested in one sitting.
Damn solidifies Kendrick Lamar’s place as the unassuming guy that always comes to throw us off the status quo of Hip Hop. His voice is needed right now, more than ever before. “DNA” boldly tackles racism and policy brutality. The song is also a celebration of his heritage. ” I got loyalty got royalty inside my DNA,” he raps. His flow is rapid and aggressive. Although the album has a few features, the album’s most memorable tracks come from Kendrick alone. However, Rihanna trades some worthy verses on the standout track, “Loyalty”. U2 teams up with him on the religious and political track, “XXX”.
Kendrick Lamar gets emotional and introspective on “Fear”. He recounts three instances of turmoil in his life at different ages. His counterpart, Drake, tends to have the effect of an agonizing toothache when he digs deep into himself. Kendrick manages to relay his feelings without making the listener feel drained. Although Kendrick Lamar takes a gamble with releasing albums in such quick succession, he has a knack for making it worthwhile. His delivery has always been less about gimmicks, headlines and club rompers. He is the frustrated voice of a generation, who knows how to have a good time. Kendrick Lamar grows weary at times though, as evident on the negative chronicles of his stardom on “Feel”. Nonetheless, consciousness remains his driving force.