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Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. [review]

Music Review by Bj Ampy

I am a 38-year old black female who is admittedly a “Stan-tina” for boom bap, and renaissance era hip hop.  It’s what I grew up on.  It’s what’s primarily playing on my iphone at all times.  In 2015 when Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly dropped, and the follow-up the next year, Untitled Unmastered, I was quite the fan.  Those two albums made me go back and give a harder listen to his earlier albums.  I knew that DAMN. was out on the “internets”by Sunday, but Kendrick is one of those artists that I will respect enough to wait for the release date for. He’s definitely one of those artists that I will always check out.  In my opinion, he is one of the few that appeals to the young hip hop fan, the Oldheads, and everyone in-between. I wanted him to continue what he started with TPAB.  The pressure to live up to the hype of TPAB, had to be there. I finally sat down to listen, and I think he made the album that any hip hop fan will love. Did he get political? Yeah.  Did religion make an appearance? Yes. Did he talk about the usual money, sex, murder, love, homies and hoes? Of course! The album talks about the things seen in life from a view of a 28-29 year old black man.  And, I think he was able to ride a fine line that will allow the young and old, male and female, to relate, and truly connect with him over the various topics and themes within the album.

The production on DAMN. will definitely fit in with today’s music, and the lyrics will appeal to both the young and old.  Some of my friends, beat makers themselves, have expressed love-hate feelings with the beats chosen for the album. I had my come to Jesus moment with today’s beat makers a while ago. I realized that while the techniques used today aren’t necessarily what I grew up with, there is a beauty in the simplicity of it, and it honestly grew on me. The beats don’t override the lyrics which allows me to focus on the words being said. That’s the kind of music I need right now, music that says something to me. And, given the times we are in, I think we all need it. When it comes to Kendrick, its going to take a few listens to make sure that I get all the meaning behind each song.  But, after a couple listens I really appreciate the production for this album. “HUMBLE” was released last week, and I liked it, even with the video controversy. I knew Kendrick would give me what I was looking for in the album, and I wasn’t disappointed.  “XXX” feat. U2 really had me standing up ready to blow out my afro!  “LOYALTY” featuring Rihanna will definitely get major rotation on every radio station (even though its rare for me to listen to the radio).  “FEAR”. Love it!!! No matter your background, we can all relate to this experience, we have all had these feelings. “DUCKWORTH” is to me the best song on the album!!!!  I can’t even explain how I felt listening to it. I’m a kid from Flint, and I’ve heard this story. Kendrick putting it on record will have a lot of people nodding along. The samples, the beat and Kendrick’s flow just made me want to play it over and over again. So, I should have known that one of my favs, 9th Wonder, was behind that one 🙂

Note: Special thanks to ZOD tha GOD for giving me a platform to share my very first music review 🙂



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Written by Beverly J. Ampy

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