Damn Album Review

Symone Washington, Staff Writer

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Damn is the fourth studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released April 14, 2017, and consisted of 14 songs, all of which hit Billboard’s top 100. The album was supported by four singles: “Humble”, “DNA”, “Loyalty”, featuring Rihanna, and “Love” featuring Zacari. “Humble” became Lamar’s first number one single on the Billboard Hot 100 as a lead artist. In July 2017, “Damn,” was certified double Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“This is why I say that Hip Hop has done more damage to young African Americans than racism in recent years,” Kendrick Lamar raps on his song titled “DNA.” This song is remarkable, and controversial, and Let’s off the message about racism and, Black excellence in America. DNA stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid. They are the molecules that carry the instructions used in growth, development, functioning and reproduction in organisms. Kendrick Lamar’s lyrics and tone of voice are immensely violent and abrasive throughout the song. Lamar also says “ you ain’t s#%t without a body on your belt.” He’s painting the picture that police kill innocent people, thinking that will give them more respect.

Kendrick also includes race into the song. Most of the police killings in America happen from a White police officer killing an innocent person of color, so you can see the correspondence of his lyrics and the racial things that are happening in America. Although his approach is more on the unsympathetic side, he’s trying to bring awareness to the topic by using his words and platform to do so.

In the “DNA” music video, actor Don Cheadle becomes controlled by Kendrick’s music, the music stops, and then as Kendrick touches Cheadle he drops dead. The whole picture of that concept is Kendrick is using his music to rule Cheadle, and once he takes the music away, that causes Cheadle to die. This pertains to police violence by using their power to control people of color, and once they pull out their weapons, the people of color are suddenly lamented.  If you remember “DNA,” stands for Deoxyribonucleic Acid, and in the song Kendrick states “it has been another dead niger association,” when he kills Cheadle. That suggest DNA is the reason for violence upon African American people. He’s trying to show “black people,’ are always pointed out and at fault for Black on Black violence.

On the song “GOD,” Lamar compares himself to God as he shows off his success, and why he works extremely hard. He compares the sensation he’s feeling about his accomplishments it how he imagines God feels. This song is a little more lightweight and less on the savage side compared to “DNA.” in the other songs listed, he’s also more lightweight, when rapping. When I  I mean he’s more don’t get lightweight confused with soft because, although he’s not as savage, his words still are strong and groundbreaking.

His past albums including “Section 80,” “Good kid m.a.a.d city,’ and “ to pimp a butterfly,” are pretty comparable to this one. Kendrick is known for his remarkable and groundbreaking lyrics, which often cause controversy. Everyone of his albums have a message and story, but are diverse when it comes to the sound and flow of the songs.

Still, the album is one of Kendrick Lamar’s best albums to date. Kendrick didn’t have the best life growing up, no father figure, trouble at home, and lived in a violent gang filled neighborhood, but he pushed through it, and is still touching and moving the world with his motivating, eye opening, and groundbreaking lyrics.