Kendrick Lamar – DAMN (Album Review)

I hope everyone have had a great Easter! I’m back after a small break and I’ve decided to dedicate this Monday to special post. I usually do Nostalgic Mondays, but I will past the nostalgia today to focus on the brand-new album released by my favorite rapper Kendrick Lamar!

First off all, I want to say that this album is the only music I have listened to ever since it was released Friday. I have probably already listened to it 10 times – while also listening to some of the songs individually.

I will leave a small review of every song with a score from 1 – 5 with 5 being the best score. I won’t go into details with every part of the song, but I will focus on what caught my attention the most.

Let’s get this started!

1. BLOOD: This is a short intro to the album and it starts with Kendrick trying to help a blind lady, but ends up being shot! WHAT IS EVEN GOING ON?

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

2. DNA: The seamless transition from the intro to DNA is crazy! The beat goes hard from the beginning and made me think of his song m.A.A.d. City right away – later in the song there is beat switch and Kendrick just switches to beast mode. I honestly felt like destroying stuff when I heard this the first time and that’s unusual for me. What a way to start of the album

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

3. YAH: After the crazy beat on DNA, Kendrick switches it up and take you for a walk on a much slower, calmer beat and the whole song feels like taking a walk on a cloud. I like the vibe of the song and it never gets boring even though the chorus is a bit repetitive. He makes up for this in the verses, where he talks about his struggles with being known for his socially conscious rap, but at the same being limited by only being an artist. Overall a pretty chill song.

SCORE: 4 out of 5!

4. ELEMENT: “New Kung Fu Kenny!” is the perfect introduction to this song. Kung Fu Kenny is indeed back with a great flow and hard hitting bars! This song is one of the harder songs without having the same “in-your-face”-production such as DNA. The verses are crazy and the chorus is so catchy even though it did take some time for me to appreciate it.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5!

5. FEEL: This song is one of the reasons why I feel like Kendrick is one of the best rappers (if not the best) right now. You can honestly feel his feelings through the song – the whole vibe of the song makes you feel for him. And his flow on this song is beyond crazy! I honestly don’t have any words for it – it just captivates you and makes you want to listen.

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

6. ROYALTY (feat. Rihanna): When I saw the feature with Rihanna, I kind of feared the worst. I don’t know why, but I just couldn’t see the two of them make anything other than a generic pop song. Luckily, my fear was put to shame when I heard it. The two of them complement each other really well and Rihanna has a pretty great verse in this – something I didn’t expect at all. The song is radio-friendly, but it doesn’t feel like a typical radio song and the message of the song is really strong – they talk about loyalty in different ways and it’s pretty interesting overall.

SCORE: 4 out of 5!

7. PRIDE: When I first heard this song, I didn’t know what to make of it. It just sounds so different – I would never have guessed Kendrick to make a song like this. To be honest, this may be my favorite track on the album right now. Everything about it is just soothing to the ears. The beat is simple, but abstract – if the beat of YAH was like taking out a walk on a cloud, this is like floating just above the world and being able to make out what every action of every single person. The whole song is one of the most beautiful songs Kendrick has ever made and my ears just love it!

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

8. HUMBLE: The first single of the album – and what a single to have! It didn’t give any idea of what to expect from the album, but it fits the album perfectly. This is another banger on the album and it’s impossible to sit still to this song – even my mom and grandma starts moving (true story) when they hear the beat. The chorus is perfect, simple and effective – everything about the song goes hard!

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5!

9. LUST: This song make me feel kind of eerie. I don’t know what it is, I guess it’s a combination of the beat and the different voices Kendrick uses throughout the song, but it doesn’t make me feel comfortable… AND I love it! I think it’s intentionally made this way. If you listen to the lyrics, he touches upon how every person lust for something whether it be materialistic things or feelings and how it can feel monotonous chasing this. It’s one of the songs that directly makes me reflect on my vices and my actions in life – good job Kendrick!

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5!

10. LOVE (feat. Zacari): The instant I heard this song, I was hoping it would be the next big radio hit. It’s just such a good song – a bit more popish compared to other Kendrick songs (reminding me a bit of Poetic Justice), but this song is a perfect song for the radio. This is mostly Kendrick talking about his love for his fiancé and how he loves her. But I think the big surprise on this song is Zacari. He is perfect on the chorus and the seamless transitions between these two voices is what makes the song one of the best on the album.

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

11. XXX (feat. U2): This song just comes at you with brute force and doesn’t care that you were day dreaming about the love of your life in the previous song. Especially when the beat switches and the siren starts – I feel like doing a drive-by or something like that! It’s so aggressive and abrasive that you don’t know what to do with your body. And then the beat switches again, slows down and Bono does his thing on the chorus. In the first half Kendrick sounds a bit like Vince Staples and the style suits him – this song feel like three songs in one, but there’s good cohesion between the three parts and it makes this one of the most interesting songs on the album.

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

12. FEAR: The longest track on the album and the most intriguing by far. The beat samples the part that was used in The Heart Part 4 and Kendrick goes through 3 verses with 3 different types of fear. The first verse being about when he was 7 years old, the second verse when he was 17 years old and lastly when he was 27 years old (present time). I love the concept of how your fears evolve throughout time and Kendrick ask how much fear controls his life. This is just straight out storytelling rap and Kendrick shows how good he is at that as well as exploring complex emotions.

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

13. GOD: So, at this point, I honestly don’t know what to say about this song. I love it! I don’t know what it is – it’s hard for me to point to what makes me enjoy this song so much. I know the chorus is one of the things that does it – but I can’t pinpoint exactly what about the chorus is good. Maybe it’s because I find the song so unique and different from what Kendrick normally does, but at this point in the album it’s hard to be surprised.

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

14. DUCKWORTH: This song is the perfect ending song as it wraps up the whole thing and brings it back to the beginning. The beat on the song is great and it becomes even better when the beat switches around later in the song. Kendrick spits his heart out telling an interesting story of how he became who he is today – I won’t go into detail about what the song is about as it will spoil the story, but this song is the perfect ending to a great album.

SCORE: 4.5 out of 5!

Final Verdict: This concludes the individual song reviews – as you can see it is quite highly rated and I honestly feel this album is just as good as both Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and To Pimp A Butterfly. I didn’t feel this in my initial listening and it took about 3-4 listening sessions before I came this conclusion. There is not a bad song on the album -there are no fillers which I also find important and together with the diverse songs, this make it one of the least boring albums that I have ever heard…

AND then there is the best thing:

There is still much more to be explored with the album – and it will be in my music rotation for a very long time!

SCORE: 5 out of 5!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music

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