‘DAMN.’ introspective, relentless

Editorial Comment

We were going to discuss how President Trump flip-flopped his positions on healthcare, tax reform, NATO, Russia and of course military intervention in Syria, but K-Dot dropped a new album last week, and it’s as evocative as ever.

Kendrick Lamar, the seven-time grammy-winning hip hop artist, released his fourth studio album on April 14 titled, “DAMN.” Aside from being an introspective masterpiece that dives into the deepest crevices of a conscience abused by malicious systemic forces, the album bumps to a new level.

From “Section.80,” his first album to “To Pimp a Butterfly,” the predecessor to “DAMN.,” Lamar has cemented that he is the most fluid, creative and innovative hip hop artist alive. His poetically swampy word play rivals Eminem at his prime, while his storytelling masterfully underscores the not-so-subliminal consequences of the persecution of black Americans.

In “DAMN.” we witness the deconstruction of salvation by a man struggling with his faith not only in God, but in humanity as he observes the regression of American society.

Though Lamar is not a Christian rapper in a conventional sense, meaning he doesn’t explicitly glorify the name of God, his latest album is sweeping with Biblical allusions, drawing specifically from Old Testament temperament.

At the age of five, he witnessed his first murder from his apartment window in Compton, California.

Influenced and perplexed by the violent gang lifestyle of the 80s and 90s, Lamar continues to express his sharp observations of the blatant racism and systemic oppression ingrained in our culture. A culture that he feels is grounded in “sex, money and murder.”

Brian Joseph of SPIN magazine writes, “The man who once chanted ‘we gon’ be alright’ is no liberator; he’s a citizen making sense of a corrupt construct that doesn’t change just because his songs empowered people marching in the streets … Here, racism isn’t inhumane; it’s blasphemous.”

As evident in the short, punchy, conceptual titles of each of the 14 songs, Lamar explores conflicts and contradictions both throughout the album and layered within each song itself.

He may not be the prophet he self-proclaims, but Lamar has definitely electrified the music community once again and asked his audience to confront their demons.

This article was posted in the section Opinion.
Editorial Board

The Editorial Board comprises the editor-in-chief, opinion editor and two other editors. The staff editorial, composed weekly, reflects the majority opinion of the group. News editors and the business manager are never involved with the staff editorial.

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