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Kendrick Lamar is a different breed. He has positioned himself among today’s most elite rappers due to his perfect blend of a jazz-like style and rap coupled with an amazing ability to tell a story through his songs.
On April 14, Lamar released his fourth studio album, “DAMN.” His lyricism is as great as ever and is respected throughout the genre.
Ever since I first heard Lamar’s name, he has always been within the discussion about the elite rappers of today’s rap game, but something about his flow, style, or topics made it hard to resonate with him as a fan.
He has received acclaim from artists like Eminem and Jay Z and has even had the pleasure of meeting President Obama, but despite all of this, I found myself only liking a handful of his extensive discography.
After listening to this album, I haven’t been able to take my headphones off. I go to sleep listening to Lamar. My alarm is Lamar. I work out to Lamar. This just goes to show the versatility of this album.
Although following a storyline introduced in the first song, this album contains a variety of topics and styles. Among a multitude of other topics, Lamar discusses faith, social injustice, the complications of becoming a superstar.
The most captivating aspect of Lamar’s style is his ability to tell a story while applying lyricism to his narratives. Listening to the lyrics of his songs gives further insight into the childhood that fuels his present day emotions.
It takes more than just a couple of full album play-throughs to understand the magnitude of what Lamar is talking about. That alone is what adds to the replayability of this album. Everytime you listen to songs from the album, you discover another metaphor or better understand some lyrics.
He often includes excerpts of conversations in his songs, which assists in creating a story with context. In his most recent album, these excerpts allude to an internal struggle while he continues to rise towards international stardom.
Just like in Lamar’s second studio album “Good Kidd M.A.A.D City,” his conversation excerpts are almost like the glue between each of his songs. Two songs in particular are great examples of the connections Kendrick makes between his songs and excerpts.
“Feel” contains the lyrics “Ain’t nobody praying for me, I feel like a chip on my shoulder,” but the song begins with an excerpt that serves as a consolation to Kendrick’s feeling.
It’s a recording from a relative that reassures Lamar that despite the lack of contact he may have with his family or loved ones, he continues to have a distant support system regardless of it is felt directly.
These type of connections and lyrics help me see past Lamar being a rapper and into his more personal side, which is always a goal of mine while listening to any artist.
Songs like “DNA,” while still lyrically superior, are among Lamar’s throne-claiming songs with lyrics like “I got royalty inside my DNA” and “I was like this, since one like this immaculate conception.” I enjoy this type of confidence because it often leads to some rappers’ best productions.
This album as a whole is my favorite of the year because it is so well connected. I enjoyed every aspect of this album, production, lyricism and style. This has the potential to win rap album of the year. I’m calling it!