Gracie Crowley | April 26, 2017
Story telling seems to be one of Kendrick Lamar’s greatest skills, and it is at the forefront of his latest album DAMN. From taking a swipe at musicians who are obsessed with social media, calling out a Fox News broadcast which condemned him over the lyrics of his last album, shining his spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement, professing his frustration at the photo-shopping of women in magazines, and laying it out heavily that he does not approve of Donald Trump, he somehow manages to find the time to tell us a little about his upbringing.
DAMN has a somewhat less dramatic flow to 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly, but it takes us on a journey through Lamar’s deepest desires, thoughts and emotions just as well, and it is arguably a deeper journey into his mind.
This is achieved with the help of a very long list of collaborators such as Sounwave, Mike Will-Made It, Rihanna, James Blake, and U2 to name a few. Yet despite the list of collaborators, the album is not sidetracked by it. This album is clearly Lamar’s mastery on display, and he makes it known within his lyrics.
The final song on DAMN titled DUCKWORTH divulges the tale of Lamar’s modest beginnings in Compton, and he expresses his appreciation for his life now – having come so far and creating such a successful career for himself, which is also something we his fans are appreciative for.
Yet Lamar appears to be wrestling with the weight of his fame, his position as an idol to many, and being an activist – but even this he manages with such grace. His technique has vintage hip-hop elements but the result seems to be almost post-modern. Sprinkled throughout are jazz, pop and electric elements that intertwine in unique ways, which would be almost bizarre for anybody else, but it works well for Lamar.
At this stage nothing Lamar reveals he can do surprises me, but he never fails to impress. His verbal skills, alongside his story-telling talents and his ability to both convey and fight for real world issues within his music etches him further into hip-hop history as one of the greatest of his time, and at this stage he still manages to remain HUMBLE.