Kendrick Lamar: DAMN. , First for the verb ****

Art 19 April, 2017

Having paved an exceptional way to present-day hip-hop by extending it with modal jazz, nusoul and choral singing, does Kendrick Lamar still have this breath of genius that has been lent to him since the release of the ‘Opus flagship To Pimp a Butterfly ?


Through the 14 titles of DAMN. , Kendrick Lamar propels his new rhymes to altitudes comparable to those already reached. The 29-year-old MC did not choose the same flight plan for the music of his fourth studio album. Obviously, he is looking elsewhere for two or three years, not in the most remote places.

This time, his words blend into a beatmaking inherent in today’s hip-hop and its trap extensions, as well as to a soul / R & B from earlier epochs.

Superstar devoted, Kendrick allows herself to invite Rihanna to express herself to him indolently in LOYALTY. He even succeeded in giving youthful airs to Bono and his redundant colleagues from U2 in XXX. – It’s not a place / country This is to be a sound of drum and bass / You close your eyes to look around , sings including Paul Hewson …

More Synthetic Achievements

Whatever one thinks of these appearances, the rapper and his entourage advocate less organic, less instrumental, more synthetic, but do not exclude the afro-soul groove, the well-felt vocal complements, this typical Afro- American.

The frequencies are stringed by Mike Will Made It, 9th Wonder, James Blake, Badbadnotgood, Terrace Martin, Bēkon, The Alchemist, Sounwave and Tae Beast (Digi + Phonics). As with Blake, our Kaytranada adds a few background voices, Kamasi Washington suggests strings arrangements rather than spun tenor sax, Thundercat offers a bass track … In short, DAMN. Avoids large sound deployments, its innovations are succinct, compact, not to say discrete.

If this album manages to stand out among the great vintages of 2017, in any case, it will be first for the flow of his words.

On the program: parables as elegant as they are crude, social criticism sharpened, political consciousness exacerbated by the violence of the conjuncture, skilful biblical evocations, reflection on the principle of God, well-felt family history, assumption of personal paradoxes, promotion of humility , Expression of fear and confusion, recall of class origins, reiterated allegiance to the Compton ghetto black, evocations of the American president and his predecessor, ironic quotation from Fox News’s Geraldo Rivera (denigrating hip-hop), contradictions Lived by the Afro-American wanting to follow the right path, cynicism, anxiety.

In this cycle that begins, Kendrick Lamar has obviously lost nothing of his bite, his high lucidity, his metaphoric finesse. From its superb.




Kendrick Lamar

Top Dawg, Aftermath and Interscope