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All I Can Say is DAMN.

Iyana Jones, Staff Writer

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After To Pimp A Butterfly was released in 2015, Kendrick Lamar was put on the map to becoming one of the greatest rapper of our generation. The Grammys giving the album the award for “Best Rap Album of 2015” was not enough for the world because it was the best album period. So fans all waited until finally, Lamar dropped his new album DAMN., and all we could say, truly, is well… damn.

The album is very old school, especially in comparison to how other rappers today perform. Between Drake deciding he was a singer and not a rapper, and rappers like Lil Yachty talking over childhood songs, the actual art of rapping is slowly slipping through the cracks. Lamar revitalizes the artistry with an album that is strangely 90’s, yet still modern and hard cutting.

The album’s first song “Blood” is a beautiful introduction to what is a compacted but sultry album. It starts off slow as Lamar explains how he is trying to help a blind woman find something, a metaphor for how he feels trying to help people find themselves, but the woman then turns around a murders him. This act of betrayal starts listeners on their journey through the album that talks about his pride his representation of rap in the industry.

Central themes the album go through include self doubt versus pride, which he explores in his songs “Pride” and “Element.” “Pride” explains how in the desperate search for validation, people often lose sight of anything that could ever make them truly happy. As a rapper, that’s a message that could be difficult to address because they are traditionally supposed to be boastful in their skill. This song shows the progress Lamar has made from the man he was when he created To Pimp a Butterfly to who he is now, which is depicted in the album’s single “Humble.” In this song, Lamar has no issue showing off his ego, and reminds other to be around him “to sit down” because he is “the greatest rapper alive.”

DAMN. visits samples such as Jay Z and Snoop Dogg’s “Get Your Mind Right Mami” and Bruno Mars’s “24K Magic” on “Loyalty”, his first song with Rihanna. He also uses recurring quotes from Fox News criticizing himself and hip-hop music as a whole, to which he uses songs to fire back with.

Overall, if you haven’t gotten around to listening to DAMN., I 10/10 recommend that you do. Lamar is only on the way up, and you don’t want to miss the rise of this “DAMN.” genius.

Kendrick followed the release with the announcement of “The Damn. Tour” with 17 dates in the United States. He will bring D.R.A.M. and Travis Scott on the road with him for shows that any hip-hop fan won’t want to miss.

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All I Can Say is DAMN.