King Kendrick is back with a bang, ‘DAMN.’ is set to break some major records in rap, possibly topping numbers put up by Drake’s ‘More Life’ earlier in the year which would be some accomplishment considering the commercial success of Drizzy. Before I review the album itself, I feel it’s important to get across that what I think of this album is in no way shape or form a comparison to his previous projects or anyone’s projects at all. There’s been a lot of talk comparing this album to his previous albums and I think as a result people have lost sight of what has actually been given to them. For me, I can draw comparisons to previous albums once I’ve fully reviewed this.
It took a while for me to grasp this album, after a couple brief listens I wasn’t the biggest fan, and like a lot of people I was drawing comparisons and simply saying “it’s okay but it’s not ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’.” But over time I listened to the album more and stopped drawing stupid comparisons on two completely different pieces of art, and when you look at ‘DAMN.’ as a piece of art on it’s own, it’s simply beautiful, and I’m talking potentially album of the year beautiful. For Kendrick, this album is a fairly simple format that could be seen as easy listening album, but as far as music goes this album is mega complex, it shows how far ahead of everyone else K Dot really is. Kendrick is basically number one when it comes to story telling with only J. Cole to contend with, and nothing has changed here, as always there is always a theme and a story, something that makes the album feel tight and clean. There is no doubt in my mind when I say there is nobody in music as smart as Kendrick when it comes to making lyrically brilliant albums.
There isn’t a weak track on the album, Kendrick has become smart over the years and he’s got a few commercial bangers on here that will become major anthems for the year, ‘HUMBLE’ being number one on that list, debuting at number 2 on the billboard 100. ‘LOYALTY’ featuring Rihanna being the other commercial banger here, although it’s not one of my favourites on the album it’s a song that’s sure to be big. ‘DNA’ also has the potential to be a commercial anthem, not only that but it’s one of the best songs on this album. It’s these three songs that will be at the forefront of the promotion to this album.
‘PRIDE’ might be a lot more subtle than the big tracks I’ve just mentioned, but that doesn’t make it any less amazing, some slick production with meaningful lyrics make it a slow jam that shows Kendrick’s ability to make any kind of track fit well into an album, not once does the album lose sight of it’s path, not once does it become disjointed. When I saw the tracklist to this album and I saw the letter U and the number 2 I wasn’t filled with joy, but low and behold U2 combined with Kendrick to make one of the best songs on this album, a top 10 Kendrick track of all time. The other track which sticks out here as one of the best is the closing track to the album, ‘DUCKWORTH’ which tells the amazing story of how Top Dawg nearly killed Lamar’s father, with Top Dawg going on to sign Kendrick to his record label. A story such of that with Lamar’s lyrical ability and the fact he’s the best rapper in the world bar none made for one of the best songs on the album.
To summarise this album, it’s a masterpiece, music’s number one artist has made another simply stunning piece of art. From start to finish you have some of the best lyrics of the year, best production, and best rap. When I first heard the album I gave it an 8 for the main reason that it’s not on a level with his previous work, then I removed my ego and silly comparisons and about 8 listens later I was enthralled and I haven’t stopped playing it since, this album is a 10 out of 10 album, making it Lamar’s third 10 out of 10 album. Ku Fu Kenny is a million miles ahead of every rapper in the game, the only solo artists who should even be mentioned in the same bracket of pure talent are Frank Ocean and Kanye West.
If you have an album with ‘DNA’, ‘HUMBLE’, ‘PRIDE’, ‘XXX’ and ‘DUCKWORTH’ all on and not be considered one of the albums of the year is actually just bullshit in it’s simplistic thinking. I cannot fathom how people are dissing this album, now I’ve reviwed the album let’s get back to the comparisons. There’s actually people saying it’s nothing on his previous projects and it’s nothing on Drake’s ‘More Life’. For me it’s good enough to shake the comparisons to his own albums, and even if it wasn’t who cares? It still bangs it doesn’t matter if he’s had better. It shouldn’t even be in the same breath as ‘More Life’ because it’s just categorically better. Drake got outdone on his own album on 7 tracks, and the second half the album becomes disjointed, it’s a great album don’t get me wrong but this Kendrick album just destroys the Drake Album. Whether you like it or not, Kendrick is number 1.