Kung-Fu Kenny is back!!! Following his warning to the world that (ya’ll) had until April 7th to get (your) sh*t together, Kendrick Lamar delivers his fourth studio album DAMN. Lead by the already successful single “HUMBLE”, we didn’t know for sure that this album was actually coming until this time last week. With only the vague comments he made to the New York Times Magazine last month, and a few snippets shared by Lebron James on Thursday, where K.Dot was going with this project was anybody’s guess. During that interview with the Times, he indicated that the album would be urgent, spiritual and centered on community, his own and others like it around the globe.
He also offered the analogy of a protective father accepting and embracing the choices of his grown daughter: “Learning to accept it, and not run away from it, that’s how I want this album to feel.” Over the last few days we’ve also learned that Rihanna, U2 and LA singer Zacari are the only three guests, and the contributing producers and musicians include Mike WiLL Made-It, Alchemist, DJ Dahi, Sounwave, and BADBADNOTGOOD.
The album ended up leaking a few hours ago and if you haven’t had the pleasure yet, you should stop reading now and press play below immediately. Over the course of 14-tracks, Kendrick does indeed achieve that urgency and spirituality he was talking about. He’s as on point lyrically as ever and he absolutely brutalizes some of these beats, while gently slapping around others. I wouldn’t usually opine on an album after just one listen, but I honestly don’t believe there is a wack song on this. The opening track, “DNA,” is just as fire as advertised. “Element” and “Pride” are two personal standouts to me, and the sequence of “Lust,” “Love” and “XXX” are as good of a three track run as I’ve heard on an album in the last year. “Fear” is simply epic. And just wait until you get to the final verse of “Duckworth”. My goodness.
Stream DAMN below now.