Urban Image Music Reviews: Damn By Kendrick Lamar

What I thought would be the easiest review for me to write has turned out to be the most difficult. Writing this particular review makes me wanna talk about...

What I thought would be the easiest review for me to write has turned out to be the most difficult. Writing this particular review makes me wanna talk about the state of today’s rap fan more than the album itself. DAMN hadn’t been out 60 minutes before I seen people posting/tweeting about how this is “the best album ever” or its “a classic” or “Kendrick is the best rapper EVER”. Then it hit me: in 2017 “classic/best ever” really just means “new”. But that’s another blog for another day. Lets get into Kendrick’s 4th LP, DAMN.

The elephant in the room…

I gotta address the elephant in the room: Kendrick seemed to be swerving into the lanes of the very same rappers he’s been throwing subliminal shots at lately (Drake, Cole, Sean). Lead single Humble was dope the first time I heard it, but in hindsight I think I only dug it because of the dope ass video for it. When I hear Humble without seeing the video, it really just sounds like a ripoff of Big Sean to me, who he seems to be subliminally dissing throughout the song, ironically. Anyway, DAMN opens up with a slew of mediocre songs. DNA just sounds random. Its almost like when Kendrick doesn’t have a clear concept or topic or direct point he’s trying to convey, he’s really just not that great. I initially like the vibe of YAH, but that vibe didn’t last. The song just sounds lazy and boring (kinda like most J. Cole songs *shrug*). ELEMENT has Kung Fu Kenny spittin “If I gotta slap a p-ssy ass n—a I’mma make it look sexy”😒…..🚮. Doesn’t help that this song is so Drake-ish (but shout out to the slight nod to Juvenile’s Ha on this track). The first song on this album that caught my attention for real was FEEL. I feel like this song explains why this album sounds how it sounds.

Not bad…

LOYALTY feat. Rihanna is cool for the clubs or just vibing with a chick or 2. Not bad. But not the groundbreaking music I’ve grown accustomed to from K. Dot. PRIDE is another slow, lazy song, but better than YAH“in those regards. LUST is very Outkast-ish, but in a good way. A Big Boi feature on this would’ve been a welcome addition and a nice touch. LOVE is a good song for anybody else. It sounds so out of place in Kendrick’s catalog. On The Heart Pt. 4, which dropped a couple weeks before DAMN, Kendrick talked about how he was gonna “Kill rappers” in April. All he REALLY did was imitate the same rappers he throws subliminals at up to this point in the album.


But then, everything suddenly changes…

The last 4 tracks are the best songs on the album if you love introspective Kendrick. When I first saw the tracklist for DAMN, I almost threw up at the sight of a U2 feature (I HATE U2, bruh). But XXX w/ Bono & company is really where the album gets great, followed by the 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 of FEAR, which deliberately (or not) pays homage to Beanie Sigel’s Die in the 2nd verse. The first verse on “FEAR” was some of the trillest sh-t I’ve ever heard, laughing but very serious. GOD is a LITTLE Drake-esque again, but I like it for what it is. And thennnnnnnn there’s the finale, DUCKWORTH. I have no words to describe this track, only emojis: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥.

Kendrick v. Kendrick…

Compared to his peers’ (Drake, Sean, Cole) bodies of work this album is GREAT. But compared to his own previous albums, this shit is extremely underwhelming and unfocused in my opinion. And without a story or theme like Good Kid, m.a.a.d City or To Pimp A Butterfly, it really exposed his weaknesses as an emcee. Sometimes its better to just do what u do best and not try to search for something different. K Dot’s last 2 albums were more of an experience than just an album. DAMN is the opposite. I originally said I’d give this 3.5 to 4 stars. But after a few more listens, I’m feeling a strong 2.75. Kendrick still 1 of my favorites, this just not 1 of my favorite Kendrick projects. Sue me. *shrug*

I’m feeling a strong 2.75.


Will McKinney

Will McKinney has been a Hip Hop fanatic since childhood. He’s notorious for destroying freestyle cyphers and crashing mixtapes throughout central Indiana. You can reach out to him on Facebook.

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3 Comments on this post.
  • Michael Dashawn Foote
    16 April 2017 at 8:47 am

    I think it’s more people friendly and it’s already on pace and will outsell his previous album’s. Maybe that was his ultimate plan to make a album even the dumb-dumb’s could appreciate.

    • Will McKinney
      16 April 2017 at 12:16 pm

      Maybe so. I was disappointed either way tho. Lol

  • Javon Washington
    17 April 2017 at 7:43 pm

    I think it’s cool but I’ve only listened once all the way through. Maybe I have to listen more…