Home > News & Reviews > Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar - Damn (Album Review)

Monday, 24 April 2017 Written by Milly McMahon

On ‘Damn’, the melancholic, paradoxical rhyme-weaver Kendrick Lamar casts himself in the lead role. He utilises real life characters to rep good vs bad, writing poignant poems that deliberate over the corruption and creativity he encounters on the daily.

A truly brilliant lyricist, here Kendrick largely shuns bravado, materialism and gaudy hedonism, continuing to realign hip-hop’s focus with real-time struggle. “I can’t fake humble just ‘cause your ass is insecure,” he mumble-chants on standout track Pride. Humility, in fact, is a primary theme on what is an autobiographical body of work.

In following up ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ Kendrick has waded into in the wide-ranging influences of his musical tastes and his open-minded ability to reach out to everyone who encounters his voice.

He is unpredictable and some disparate touchstones - Bob Dylan’s tone and Frank Zappa’s zaniness - feel tangible here. The headline collaboration - with U2 on the murky, trap-esque XXX - is leftfield and a further flash of brilliance.

Kendrick speaks of religion, love and the fights for equality and against discrimination. This is a retort to the limited individuals who seek to marginalise and achieve their own exclusivity through bigotry. Donald Trump’s regressive influence, a terrorist’s futile fight and America’s institutionalised racism are all railed against. He also frequently turns the microscope on himself and on Fear discusses domestic violence, death and self-analysis: “If I could smoke fear away, I'd roll that motherfucker up and then I'd take two puffs.”

It’s unclear whether ‘Damn’ represents a sound Kendrick will move forward with in future or if it’s just an interlude in the broad experimental spectrum of his work. What is known, though, is that Kendrick sees himself as an artist and a writer.

He is a gifted performer, but the showmanship he demonstrates on stage is centred around his delivery, which allows us to glimpse the powerful vision in his work. Kendrick is a mirror through which the world can behold itself, reflecting the way a black man living in Trump’s America is feeling day to day.


We don't run any advertising! Our editorial content is solely funded by lovely people like yourself using Stereoboard's listings when buying tickets for live events. To keep supporting us, next time you're looking for concert, festival, sport or theatre tickets, please search for "Stereoboard". It costs you nothing, you may find a better price than the usual outlets, and save yourself from waiting in an endless queue on Friday mornings as we list ALL available sellers!

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Related News

Tue 30 May 2023
Kendrick Lamar And Baby Keem Unveil New Single The Hillbillies
< Prev   Next >