Kendrick Lamar is an iconic hip-hop artist outta Compton, California. Not too long ago, he released his fourth studio album, entitled, “DAMN.”.
1) Kendrick Lamar – “BLOOD.”
Lamar tackles the issue of life and death. He poses several questions over a melodic instrumental produced by Lamar, Bēkon, and Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith. One of them being, “Are we gonna live or die?” Lamar tells a brilliant story about him walking down a block, and he sees a blind lady in search of something she had lost. He goes over to help, and then he asks, “Hello, ma’am, can I be of any assistance? It seems to me that you have lost something. I would like to help you find it.” She replied, “Oh yes, you have lost something. You’ve lost your life.” And then we hear a gunshot. Lamar is shot. Did he lose his life? The dire ending answers the probing question posed in the beginning—we gonna die.
2) Kendrick Lamar – “DNA.”
Lamar explains why his DNA differs from a sucker’s DNA. His deoxyribonucleic acid consists of going through the school of hard knocks. He endured a rugged street life, prisons, money, drugs, alcohol, sex, murder, mayhem, loyalty, royalty, joy, etc. This is because his DNA comprises of things shared collectively by African-Americans who have been through the struggle. Lyrically, Lamar leaves earth, while rapping over an explosive track produced by Mike WiLL Made-It. From beginning to end, he doesn’t take a bar off and shows why conscience rap has resurrected into the new norm.
3) Kendrick Lamar – “YAH.”
Lamar let it be known that he’s diagnosed with real ni^^a conditions, and keeps it a hunnit by calling out Geraldo Rivera because of criticism Lamar received from a FOX NEWS segment. The kid Capri intro adds a classic east coast authenticity over a laid-back track produced by Bēkon, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Sounwave, and DJ Dahi. “YAH” is Lamar’s deity, and he raps, “Somebody tell Geraldo this ni^^a got some ambition / I’m not a politician, I’m not ‘bout a religion / I’m an Israelite, don’t call me Black no mo’ / That word is only a color, it ain’t facts no mo’…” Preconceived lies told by White slave masters to African slaves are melting like hot butter in the sun. Lamar, a descendant of those slaves, has awakened and knows himself.
4) Kendrick Lamar – “ELEMENT.”
Lamar, who Capri calls the ‘New Kung Fu Kenny’, continues his Shaolin-rap assault over a Wu-Tang-like track produced by Bēkon, Tae Beast, James Blake, Sounwave, and Ricci Riera. Lamar is simply on another level than his peers. He’s been through more sh*t than them, and he’s ready to put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this sh*t. When he said, “I been stomped out in front of my mama / my daddy commissary made it to commas / B*tch, all my grandmas dead / So, ain’t nobody prayin’ for me, I’m on your head.”
This makes us wonder, was Lamar holding back all these years from destroying his competition? It seems that way because he addresses them here, “Most of y’all just envy, but jealousy get you killed / Most of y’all throw rocks and try to hide your hand / Just say his name and I promise that you’ll see Candyman / Because it’s all in your eyes, most of Y’all tell lies / Most of Y’all don’t fade, most of Y’all been advised / the Last LP I tried to lift the black artists / But it’s a difference between black artists and wack artists.”
5) Kendrick Lamar – “FEEL.”
Lamar beautifully expresses how he feels on a dope Sounwave-produced track, where Lamar raps, “I feel like the whole world want me to pray for ’em / But who the f*ck prayin’ for me?” Lamar feels that nobody ain’t prayin’ for him, and this void has him with a chip on his shoulders, looking at life from a dark, and troubling point of view. He feels pain and doesn’t see hope. Did the incident with the blind lady cause him to feel this way? Why does he feel this way? Kendrick raps, “I feel like it ain’t no tomorrow f*ck the world / The world is endin’, I’m done pretendin’… I feel like this gotta be the feelin’ what ‘Pac was…”
But Lamar knows ill-thinking is bad for his health, and he acknowledges the source of his negative thinking, “The feelin’ is toxic, I feel like I’m boxin’ demons / Monsters, false prophets schemin’,” and the list goes on and on. If no one is, just know that we are praying for you Kendrick, YAH-willing.
6) Kendrick Lamar – “LOYALTY” (FEAT. RIHANNA.)
Lamar and Rihanna explore one of the key elements in Lamar’s DNA, loyalty; and they pose a simple question—who are you loyal to? Is it your family? Friends? Or yourself? Maybe it’s money, weed, or alcoholic? Where does it begin and where does it end? Lamar and Rihanna do a wonderful job over a beautify track produced by Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Terrace Martin, Sounwave, and DJ Dahi.
7) Kendrick Lamar – “PRIDE.”
The Steve Lacy’s intro, “Love’s gonna get you killed, but pride’s gonna be the death of you and me,” fits perfectly in the scheme of things. Lamar, a spiritual intellectual, understands Proverbs 16: 18, which states, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” So, Lamar uses those reference points to further expound his faith. In the beginning, Lamar’s love for the blind lady got him shot. And now, will his pride, the great satisfaction he feels when he reviews all that he has achieved, will that be the death of him? Over a smooth/laid-back track produced by Bēkon, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, and Steve Lacy, Lamar states that he can’t fake being humble, just because people are insecure.
He answers the question of pride
Lamar raps, “Sick venom in men and women overcome with pride. A perfect world is never perfect, only filled with lies. Promises are broken and more resentment come alive. Race barriers make inferior of you and I. See, in a perfect world, I’ll choose faith over riches. I’ll choose work over b*tches, I’ll make schools out of prison. I’ll take all the religions and put ‘em all in one service. Just to tell ’em we ain’t sh*t, but He’s been perfect.”
If Lamar maintains his Israelite faith over riches, and keep that equation as the top priority, he won’t be a victim of pride. But the question is—can Lamar remain humble amidst all the madness?
8) Kendrick Lamar – “HUMBLE.”
Lamar shows that being humble is easier said than done. Over a bouncy-head-nodding track produced by Mike WiLL Made-It, Lamar speaks his mind and gives zero f*cks on what people think about him. He’s braggadocios, confident, and asserts himself as the king of rap music. He sends a cryptic message to his competition, “Watch my soul speak, you let the meds talk. If I kill a ni^^a, it won’t be the alcohol. I’m the realest ni^^a after all, b*tch, be humble.”
9) Kendrick Lamar – “LUST.”
Lamar tackles the issue of lust, one of the main causes that fuel what we do. He begins by creating a scene, where lust has him trying to stick the tip of his phallus inside a woman’s vagina. She agrees, causing blood to run through his favorite vein. His logic, it doesn’t matter what you do—just make it count.
So, over a chilled- track produced by BADBADNOTGOOD, Sounwave, and DJ Dahi, Lamar raps, “Hop in the shower, put on your makeup, lace your weave up. Touch on yourself, call up your ni^^a, tell him he ain’t sh*t. Credit card scam, get you a Visa, make him pay your rent. Hop on the ‘Gram, flex on the b*tches that be hatin’ on you. Pop you a pill, call up your b*tches, have ‘em waitin’ on you. Go to the club, have you some fun, make that ass bounce. It’s whatever, just make it count.”
10) Kendrick Lamar – “LOVE.” (FEAT. ZACARI.)
Lamar turns the lights down over a contemporary R&B love song, produced by Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Greg Kurstin, Sounwave, and Teddy Walton. The theme of love and lust continues, but this time, into a more unchartered direction. Zacari’s melodic cadence compliments Kung Fu Kenny’s intimate love-lyrics to the love of his life, probably his fiancé Whitney Alford, Lamar’s high school sweetheart.
11) Kendrick Lamar – “XXX.” (FEAT. U2.)
Lamar gets political over an NWA-type track produced By Bēkon, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, DJ Dahi, Sounwave, and Mike WiLL Made-It. The theme is America and the plight and strife of young African-American males trying to make ends meet. Lamar talks about a man who calls him, needing prayer and advice because his son had been murdered. He wants to know what to do and seeks advice from Lamar because he’s anointed.
But Lamar doesn’t sugarcoat his advice. He tells the man straight up, “If somebody kills my son, that means somebody’s gettin’ killed.” Then, Lamar goes on to tell the man how he would go about doing the killing. America is an eye-for-an-eye nation, and forgiveness is hardly practiced.
12) Kendrick Lamar – “FEAR.”
Lamar deeps dig into his soul to confront his fears. He does so over a conversation track produced by The Alchemist. Lamar uses Deuteronomy 28:28 to make sense of his damnation, where the title track derived from. “The Lord shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart…,” states the biblical commandment. Lamar reasons that YAH cursed the Israelites (so-called Blacks, Hispanics, and Native American Indians) because of their iniquity. So, that explains their conditions in the wilderness of North America.
If pride was the death of him, then surely fear is too. Lamar highlights one of his biggest fears, “When I was 27, I grew accustomed to more fear. Accumulated 10 times over throughout the years. My newfound life made all of me magnified. How many accolades do I need to block denial? The shock value of my success put bolts in me. All this money, is God playin’ a joke on me? Is it for the moment and will he see me as Job? Take it from me and leave me worse than I was before? At 27, my biggest fear was losin’ it all.”
So, Lamar’s fear of lose it all like the biblical character forced him or scared him to not spend a dime. Not because he is cheap, but because he didn’t want to spend money because he feared running out of money, and going back to Section 8. Lamar raps, “30 shows a month and I still won’t buy me no Lexus.” Not a lot of people can say this.
13) Kendrick Lamar – “GOD.”
Lamar talks about the success that he doesn’t want to lose. He compares it to what it was like when he didn’t have fame and fortune. Even though he chooses faith over riches, he’s still feeling good laughing to the bank like aha. Over a laid-back track produced by Bēkon, Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, Cardo, Sounwave, Ricci Riera, and DJ Dahi, Lamar tells listeners, “Don’t judge me,” because this is what God feels like. Matthew 7:1 states, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” and therefore, Lamar feels like ‘Pac because ‘Pac felt, “Only God can judge me.”
14) Kendrick Lamar – “DUCKWORTH.”
Lamar uses his last name, Duckworth, as a song to explain the relationship between his father, Ducky, and Anthony Tiffith, CEO of Top Dawg Entertainment. Lamar explained if Tiffith had killed Ducky, then he would be serving life, and Lamar would’ve grown up without a father. And there would have been no Top Dawg Entertainment, and probably no Kendrick Lamar.