Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ exceeds expectations

Kendrick Lamar has been said to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. His new album solidifies that.

Jon Elbaz/CC BY 2.0

Kendrick Lamar has been said to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. His new album solidifies that.

Armon Mahdavi, Staff Writer

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Imagine this: you are 29 years old, and you have already been hailed as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Your last two major studio albums have been deemed classics, and the expectations for what you do next is high. What do you reveal to the world next, and is it even possible not to disappoint?

The artist who was in this situation is Kendrick Lamar. His latest album, released on April 14th, is titled “DAMN.” And no, it did not disappoint.

In 2012, Lamar released his first major-label album “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” The album put him in the spotlight with his ingenious artistic vision and rich lyricism and was met with incredible praise.  With his 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly,” Lamar solidified himself at the top of his field.

While his previous albums deal with his experience growing up in Compton, his new album comes through as his most psychologically personal. Singularly titled tracks such as “FEEL.”, “PRIDE.”, and “FEAR.” exemplify Lamar’s current relationship with his accolades, not only looking at how his greatness has affected his relationship with the world, but also his relationship with himself.

Starting with “BLOOD.,” we here Lamar tell the story of how he helped a blind old woman who ends up murdering him. This rich and complex metaphor regarding the artist’s relationship with those he attempts to help through his music begins our journey through Lamar’s thoughts and preoccupations.

As in usual Lamar fashion, many songs have intense religious themes. “LUST.,” “LOVE.,” and “GOD.” speak of his relationship with his faith as a sinner.

Even though some of the tracks have collaborations with major artists, such as U2 and Rihanna, the power of “DAMN.” is the purity of Lamar’s rapping.  The power of his lyricism reaches heights they have never reached before.

Even though the expectations for “DAMN.” were unnaturally high, the product exceeded them. “HUMBLE.” is currently the number one track in America, which marks the first time Lamar has ever topped the charts. This exemplifies that Lamar is at the very top of his game, and solidifies himself as one of the most important artists of the 21st century.

The album starts with Lamar’s death and ends with his rebirth.  This is perfect symbolism for how his latest album marks a new era for Lamar; an era filled with greatness and artistic fortitude.

 

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