Authenticity ain’t never killed the cat.
As the reviews continue to ring in, I wish a hater would… come for Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. the wrong way today, or any day as a matter of fact. Bit by bit, track by track, DAMN. is crack.
Released today at the beginning hour, it doesn’t matter who you are, or where you are from, rival or not, no one can deny Kendrick’s power. If they ever have, they never will again. As it was already written that he could have retired with the three before this: To Pimp A Butterfly (2015) and good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012) & Section. 80 (2011). We talked about it a few times, almost begging the Compton rapper to not keep us waiting for too long. After his exposé, his self-examination of life, love, and glory conducted through the tracks of To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick comes with an alluring hardness that was almost unexpected, but duly noted, and in retrospect, absolutely fitting.
How did we get here from TPAB?
While still having a reminiscent feel of his previous Butterfly artistic-ism, DAMN. can be considered a straight hardcore rap album – if you ask me. Upon listening, the sheer difference in aura when compared to its predecessor is that it is the most interesting of the IV.
Where did the jazz bands disappear to?
With production creativity by the likes of Mike-Will-Made-It, the Alchemist, DJ Dahi, Sounwave, 9th Wonder, and more, Kendrick is one of the very few artists to gain so much popularity while still sticking to their own style and way of doing things. And although not too far of a stretch from the jazz bands, he has the right to do anything, and the will to create such discussions. Coming at whoever, saying whatever – to be frank is a quality meant for the bold. And to be bold is an ELEMENT meant for the production of something great.
“Last LP I tried to lift the black artists / But it’s a difference between black artists and wack artists”. – ELEMENT
And indeed there is. Coming for BLOOD, Kendrick’s approach with each of the 14 tracks, is no more political than it is critical. As he mocks those who mocked him; having conversations about his lyrics in such a way, trumping their talk, he exclaims he doesn’t “like it”. For they don’t mean him no good, they don’t share similar spirits. So he calls them out by name, by fire. Fire that dwells within the lyrics.
“It’s so hard to be humble” Rihanna sings in his melodic, less wordy collaboration LOYALTY. But you must. The seven-time Grammy Award winner has already won a few more with DAMN., as I’m sure the committee is rallying up nominations as we speak for next year. The Times 100 list for most influential in the world of 2016, Kendrick remains HUMBLE. Reminding folks to take a seat and keep it.
“Interviews wanna know my thoughts and opinions / Fox News wanna use my name for percentage”. – YAH
That’s right. Stay put and check these themes. Going biblical with tracks like YAH, a title referring to the Hebrew name of Jesus “Yahuah” where he seemingly embraces his true race, “I’m a Israelite, don’t call me black no more, that word is only a color, it ain’t facts no more,”; further celebrating his DNA make-up, Kendrick not only spits entertaining narratives, they are also facts. Well, facts if you consider the parables of the bible.
Speaking on all the choices for reason, those logic’s behind a potentially damming compromise or decision: LUST, PRIDE, even GOD, to FEEL and to LOVE, there is only FEAR to blame, meant to halt and put in disarray, sometimes causing strife and more pain, like that spoken of in his U2 assisted, XXX where Kendrick ponders on a what warrants a time to kill, or rather kill back.
“It was always me versus the world/Until I found it’s me versus me” – DUCKWORTH
And when it comes to Mr. DUCKWORTH – Kendricks real last name and the entirety of DAMN., if you stay woke as f—, you can eventually see the parallels of how life plays. There is no reason for jealousy, as there should be no competition envy when competing with self or anyone else. Chance occurrences happening on a daily, you never know who you meet, or how those people turn out to be. While keeping out the way, you do you, and I’ll do me.
So what are the people saying – I don’t know, nor do we care. With this album, I think it solidifies Kendrick as the best rapper alive and if not that he is the most versatile emcee; and that’s not even debatable as he never compromises his style, not even when on a track with a Taylor Swift – for instance. Drake crosses boundaries but when is the last time a rapper with just pure bars has made such an impact. The last person I can think of is Jay Z and some people may say even Jay compromised a little depending on who you ask.