With the recent release of DAMN, there has never been a better time to discuss Kendrick Lamar. I’ve had DAMN on repeat since release and am enjoying the album greatly. That said, I don’t think it is an “instant classic” like good kid or To Pimp a Butterfly. The album as a whole feels more commercial than his other projects, and while I enjoy it as a whole, I think it a little less ground breaking. I have a lot of opinions about DAMN, but don’t want this to come off as a DAMN centric post so I’ll end this initial message with my current rankings of his commercial albums (not including Untitled, Unmastered which I consider to be more of a B-sides EP)
good kid > Butterfly > DAMN > Section.80
Look forward to the ensuring discussion fellow KenFolk.
DAMN is much more concerned more with Kendrick’s mental state and his existence (and both relate to his actions and the world), versus his other work that is commenting or telling stories that are external and about the world.
At least in my head, being a little more mainstream or commercial (in terms of the music) helps that from getting too heady and self-centered. He is trying on these other styles and experimenting within them, trying to find himself, and letting us see that process.
I think that’s why the myth of a second album was able to catch hold in our minds so easily. It feels like the lead up to something.
I’m going to reserve my judgment until NATION arrives.
I wanted to believe so bad simply because NATION was the perfect title for the second half of a secret double album with themes heavily tied to death and rebirth.
TPAB > GKMC > Section 80 > DAMN
Yeah, I said it, but at least I’m not my friend who rates Section 80 over GKMC.
I think Section.80 is actually kind of slept on. I think the lows on the album are the lowest of any Kendrick album, but the highs are real high. Basically No Make Up Song is the worst Kendrick song, God is fine, fight me lol.
Just kidding about NATION.
Section.80 > good kid > Butterfly > DAMN and they’re ALL highly lovable and important rap albums.
I don’t know how weird I am for liking Section.80 the most, but I feel like it was a really good official intro to Kendrick, displaying his more sensitive and more ferocious sides. I put it nearly neck-to-neck with GKMC if that makes it any better, I just thought GKMC could lose a few songs.
I feel like DAMN. Is a reponse to how like music discourse got REAL BAD at implying Kendrick was ABOVE rap culture which like… Surely for a dude as passionate about the scene as Kendrick displays would take issue with that. Also that’s just a fucked statement in general and reeks of sneerly intellectualism.
So it feels like the most mainstream rap album he can produce and I love it. Duckworth. Is Biggie level storytelling.
EDIT: also TPAB came out at exactly the right time for me and got me back into rap after a long time out of the scene so like I can’t objectively compare it to others cause I adore it.
Poe Mans Dreams is still my favorite Kendrick song to this day.
To be honest GKMC and TPAB are almost equal to me.
But I just wasn’t feeling Damn.
Kinda felt like a better Drake album than Drake puts out.
I think DAMN is definitely a step down from the masterpiece that was tpab but The DNA video is my favorite thing Kendrick’s ever done.
I’m really uneducated when it comes to hip-hop. But I always have time to listen to TPAB. I’ve only listened to DAMN a handful of times, so it hasn’t really ‘sunk in’ for me yet - but it’s got some great tracks. Kind of a huge shift from TPAB’s sound, and it feels more urgent.
Kendrick… Lamar… Two first names huh. What the fuck is up with that
watched the DNA video 100 times and somehow just heard that line for the first time
First of all let me state that I love Kendrick Lamar and almost everything he’s done. I am really enjoying DAMN. more and more every day, it’s slowly rising to the top.
I think one of the reasons is because it is not over indulgent. One of my pet peeves recently with music is when it overstays it’s welcome, and this is coming from that weird pasty kid that only listened to prog rock in jr high.
TPAB is 78 minutes long (!), for reference a compact disc holds 80 minutes of music. And the way it’s structured almost demands the listener be in for the long haul. If we compare this to another album that is extremely long, Drake’s “Views” from last year was 81 minutes but felt more like a (very hot and cold) mixture of singles. I would never feel bad about skipping a track on that album because not only are there no through-lines between songs, but it’s not even sequenced particularly well.
GKMC was 68 minutes long, and even then I start to feel a fatigue near the end, but I feel like every song has it’s own arc and can be enjoyed individually.
I guess this ended up just being about how much I don’t like overly long albums, so let me leave you with the final stats
GKMC > DAMN. > TPAB > Section.80
I appreciate DAMN because I see it as Kendrick saying “Look, I’m not gonna do the crazy concept album thing every time.” That doesn’t mean there isn’t structure or a concept behind DAMN, but it does not attempt to do what TPAB or GKMC did, where every song is tied together with a poem or a story, and some songs are a lot stronger when taken in as an entire album than individually.
DAMN does its own thing, and while I feel it is a weaker album than Kendrick’s previous two, I am more likely to listen to individual songs on it or have them in the background. Some songs on previous albums are too tied to the concept of the album to be taken in on their own, which I feel doesn’t happen with DAMN, as well as Untitled Unmastered.
TPAB > GKMC > DAMN > Section.80
GKMC > DAMN > Section.80 / TPAB
Kendrick is so far ahead of everybody else that it’s difficult putting any particular album on top.
DAMN was a pretty good way to avoid reaching higher than TPAB critically, by dragging all the discussion to what’s in Kendrick’s mind.
The songs in it by themselves are good, but sonically they can be so different from each other (Humble totally feels off) that it’s weird for me to do an entire album run now; I usually pick a few songs to listen.
I just can’t get into DAMN. at all. I’ve yet to listen to it all the way through headphones on no distractions, but I’ve gotten through it a few times now and it’s just kinda…boring. DNA, YAH, HUMBLE, and DUCKWORTH stick out but everything else is just meh to me. I’ll keep listening and hoping I eventually “get” it, but as of now I enjoy the discourse around the thing more than I actually enjoy the thing.
And for the record TPAB > Section.80 ≥ GKMC >> DAMN.
Try LUST and FEEL, two best tracks for me on this album (at this moment anyway)
Also edit: untitled unmastered. is INCREDIBLE.
FEEL is probably my favorite track on the album