Ever since 2011, Kung Fu Kenny, K.Dot., Whomever you want to call him has been continued to raise the bar of emceeing. His last album To Pimp a Butterfly was probably Kendrick’s most personal and introspective work to date. Kendrick has always been the type to carefully craft his material. T.P.A.B. was more politically charged and personal, This album here titled DAMN was promised to show more aggression than his previous work.
The Heart Prt 4(which was the street song promoting the album) had Kendrick boasting that his up and coming album was gonna shake up the Industry and took shots at a certain emcee(Perhaps Drake or Big Sean?):
My fans can’t wait for me to son ya punk-ass
And crush ya whole lil’ shit
I’ll Big Pun ya punk-ass, you a scared lil’ bitch
Tiptoein’ around my name, nigga, you lame
And when I get at you, homie
Don’t you just tell me you was just playin’
Oh, I was just playin’, K-Dot
C’mon, you know a nigga rock with you, bro
Shut the fuck up, you sound like the last nigga I know
Might end up like the last nigga I know
It’s unknown whom Kendrick was referring too but this was the type of shakeup track that Kendrick wanted and it raised up expectations. He released his first single weeks later titled “Be Humble” which was aimed at his peers once again to step up and bring bars to the table or humble themselves to him. It plays up to the King Kendrick mantra that he established in 2013.
The first track DNA has Kendrick critiquing and celebrating different forms of his black heritage. This was the aggressive side Kendrick was tapping on and the thump heavy production matched his intensity perfectly. Yah has Kendrick tackling the taboo subject of religion and sharing his prospective of spirituality. He made a bold claim here by claiming he was a “Israelite and to not call him black no more” which caused quite a debate. He also took the time to address Gerardo Rivera and Fox News for their negative slandering of his grammys performance.
Attacking the establishment and painting pictures with his art of the everyday struggles the young black youth encounter is what makes Kendrick stand out from his peers. He explores his brushes of death as a young black teen on Fear which is similar imagery of paranoia that the late Tupac Shakur would have painted. GOD has Kendrick showcasing more of a spirituality once again and phrasing the most high for his accomplishments.
The best track on DAMN no question is Duckworth produced by 9th Wonder which is possibly a match made in heaven on paper. This collab definitely lived up to the hype and instead of it being about some rappity rap shit, Kendrick took it on storytelling mode about how Top Dawg was gonna rob his father Ducky at a KFC before having a change of heart. Ironically Top Dawg would be the one whom discovered Kendrick at 15 and sign him.
Aside from the Rihanna track and U2 Track, The rest of the album is on point and possibly one of the best releases of 2017! Its been a solid year for the west coast!
Vic rating: 9.0 outta 10