In “Damn,” KendrickLamar reluctantly reaches superstar status.
I can see this being one of the major club hits off this album. I can also see it being one of the most influential.
This song has a 90’s feel to it as the beat boasts some DJ scratches combined with riot-like sounds that NWA used in the past. In my opinion, Kendrick doesn’t go as hard as I wanted him to lyrically, but I appreciate his unique approach.
This song switches up 3 minutes in, becoming this soothing track that features U2 singing on the chorus. This part of the song is a contradiction to the first part.
You mean to tell me Kendrick paid U2 to do only that?
On some real s–t, I have no clue how Kendrick was able to make a song like this. This s–t is so awesome in many different ways!
So where do I start in explaining this song? Do we start with the UK chipmunk in the background? How about the beat that has this super dramatic build-up? Or do we start with how Kendrick effectively mimics an old lady in need of some water? Whatever the case may be, combining everything makes for this dynamic-ass song that not many artists can make.
“DNA” is a hell of a record to use to announce your comeback, right? Kendrick is a meanie head on it as he discredits all the softies in the game. S.N: You think Big Sean will come out of his house today?
Aside from the heinous vibe attached to the track, you will enjoy the fact that the song has a great bop to it. Kendrick takes advantage of this bop by giving us perhaps one of his clearest sounding verses to date.
The second part of this song is meaner than the first, and quite honestly, I think that Kendrick Lamar blacked out on it (Like, literally fell to the floor, hitting his head on the arm of a couch while he was rapping.). In this part, Kendrick is taking aim at every critic possible.
This is definitely a tone-setting track.
You don’t usually get gimmicky records from Kendrick, but this song gives off that feeling, and I love it! Lyrically, he is still kicking ass and taking names, but he’s doing it in a way where I can still nod my head.
I feel like this song was very fun for Kendrick to make as it gave him a chance to channel this kill-a-rapper sound that I think he enjoys a lot. You can tell that he and his homies were jumping around in the studio while he was making it, gassing each other up throughout.
I am amazed at how a 5’4 rapper can punk people so effectively.
“Element” is a very dynamic song by Kendrick. It combines R&B elements with ‘flashy-rapper’ elements.
First and foremost, let me get this out of the way: Kendrick absolutely nails the melody on the chorus. I also f**k with the catchy-ass lyrics he hits us with in-between.
We all know Kendrick can rap, so when it comes to the rapping part of this song, it is easy for him to slaughter. However, Kendrick is being ignorant as hell on it lyrically, which seems to be the theme of half of this album.
Is this one of Kendrick’s funnest songs since ‘Swimming Pool”?
SONG BY SONG BREAKDOWN
1. BLOOD (N/A)
2. DNA (5/5)
3. YAH (5/5)
4. ELEMENT (5/5)
5. FEEL (4.6/5)
6. LOYALTY (4.5/5)
7. PRIDE (4.3/5)
8. HUMBLE (5/5)
9. LUST (5/5)
10. LOVE (4.8/5)
11. XXX (4.7/5)
12. FEAR (4.6/5)
13. GOD (4.3/5)
14. DUCKWORTH (4.5/5)
Kendrick is 3/3, guys.
First and foremost, Kendrick’s ability to step outside of the box is unmatched. He isn’t afraid to take music to places that others might feel is bizarre, which I think should always be the main focus of an artist. Also, Kendrick does a good job of sprinkling in dominant lyrics to remind individuals that he is just as lyrical as he is experimental. Kendrick is comfortable in his skin, and it is very apparent when you listen to this album.
Unlike To Pimp a Butterfly, I think every song on this album was meant to be enjoyed for its overall sound. Kendrick doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the music to make a point, he meshes good points and good music together masterfully.
A good album to me is a collection of good songs, but a great one is a complete body of work; this is a complete body of work, and then some! The album has a consistent sound to it, as you are treated to the story of this young rap artist that is fighting demons in the public’s eye. The album is exactly what you wanted from Kendrick and might be his best to date.
BTW, I said Kendrick’s name a damn lot on this post…
Quincy is the creator of Ratings Game Music. He loves writing about music, taking long walks on beaches, and spaghetti that fights him back.