On DAMN. Kendrick Lamar seems more socially conscious than we’ve already known him to be. The woke rapper’s fourth and highly-anticipated album exudes those raw emotions that many experience alone at some point. Imagine yourself kneeling and confessing thoughts. This album helps complete the vision as it covers things most people don’t say aloud. It feels due at a time like this — when the world’s racially-charged issues are hyper visual.

DAMN. is delivered in true Kendrick fashion, rooted and lyrical. Hungry flows served with food for thought linger.

On “LUST.” Kendrick spits about tempting guilty pleasures, while the lyrics on “LOVE.”, which immediately follows it, say the opposite and slow things down with mellow vocals from both K Dot and Zacari.

Lamar proves he’s grown past the intimate stories and introductions that led to critical acclaim on his debut and sophomore projects (good kid, m.A.A.d city and the Grammy-award-winning To Pimp a Butterfly). In fact, he’s blossomed from a good kid with wise words to a man simply fed up with labels as demonstrated on ‘YAH.’ On DAMN. Kendrick doesn’t shy away from what he relates to — raising social issues throughout the project concerning Black history, police brutality and unjust systems and inequality — especially in America. Lamar’s approach seems to be working as his debut single “HUMBLE.” shot to number one on both Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot 100 charts.

DAMN. is delivered in true Kendrick fashion, rooted and lyrical. Hungry flows served with food for thought linger.

“XXX.” is everything you’d expect from a Black Lives Matter protest. With sampled police sirens in the background and jaw dropping, real stories, Kendrick speaks on Black youth being murdered in the street by those entrusted to ‘serve and protect.’ Sonically, with Bono of rock band U2 singing the chorus, the song has a rock ‘n’ roll meets hip-hop feel.

Though DAMN. may not have the entertaining interludes of Kendrick’s previous works, it does have him further experimenting with his vocals, even singing on “ELEMENT.” This may be why some critics have even added the emcee to their list of artists who’ve sold out for fame. 

But, songs like “LOYALTY.” featuring Rihanna, with its unapologetic lyrics that scream of honesty as they blatantly question where one’s loyalty lies and to whom, suggest otherwise.

Perhaps a more accurate assessment would be that DAMN. made social awareness mainstream.

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