by Kendrick LamarKendrick Lamar


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To Pimp a Butterfly's proper and oft-biblical follow-up arrived on Good Friday, 13 months after untitled unmastered., an intermediary release that eclipsed the best work of most contemporary artists. If Kendrick Lamar felt pressure to continue living up to his previous output, there's no evidence on DAMN. He's too occupied tracing the spectrum of his mental states, from "boxin' demons" to "flex on swole," questioning and reveling in his affluence, castigating and celebrating his bloodline, humble enough to relate his vulnerabilities, assured enough to proclaim "Ain't none of y'all fuckin' with the flow." Throughout, he intensely examines most of the seven deadly sins, aware all along that his existence is threatened by anyone who objects to the color of his skin or clothes -- or, in the case of the blind stranger who shoots him during the album's opener, nothing that is apparent. Compared to the maximum-capacity, genre-twisting vastness and winding narratives of Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City and To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. on the surface seems like a comparatively simple rap album that demands less from the listener. There's relative concision in the track titles and material, and a greater emphasis on commercial sounds -- such as Mike WiLL's lean and piano-laced trap beat for the strong-arming "HUMBLE.," Lamar's first Top Ten pop hit, and a couple productions that are merely functional backdrops lacking distinction. In a way, however, DAMN. is just as lavish and singular as the preceding albums, its quantity and weight of thoughts and connected concepts condensed into a considerably tighter space. It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper. Although it's occasionally distorted, stretched, smeared, and reversed to compelling and imagination-fueling effect, his voice is at its most affecting in its many untreated forms. Take "FEAR.," in which he switches between echoing hot-blooded parental threats to enumerating, with a 40-acre stare, various death scenarios. His storytelling hits an astonishing new high on "Duckworth," the album's finale. Over ethereal funk sewn by 9th Wonder, Lamar details a potentially tragic encounter between his father and future Top Dawg CEO Anthony Tiffith -- and the conditions leading to it -- that occurred long before Kung Fu Kenny was known as K. Dot.

Product Details

Release Date: 04/14/2017
Label: Aftermath
UPC: 0602557611755
catalogNumber: 002671602
Rank: 5652

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kendrick Lamar   Primary Artist,Keyboards
Kid Capri   Vocals
Charles Edwards   Vocals
Kamasi Washington   Strings
Thundercats   Bass
DJ Dahi   Vocals
Sounwave   Strings
Chelsea Blythe   Vocals
Matt Schaeffer   Guitar
Anna Wise   Background Vocals
Steve Lacy   Background Vocals
Rat Boy   Vocals
Zacari   Vocals
Bekon   Violin,Vocals
Charles Edward Sydney Isom   Vocals

Technical Credits

Dr. Dre   Executive Producer
Adam Clayton   Composer
Greg Kurstin   Composer,Producer
Larry Mullen   Composer
Brendan Perry   Engineer
Paul Hewson   Composer
Kuk Harrell   Vocal Producer
Alchemist   Producer
Dave Evans   Composer
9th Wonder   Producer
Anthony "TOPDAWG" Tiffith   Composer,Producer,Executive Producer
Marcos Tovar   Engineer
James Hunt   Engineer
Blake Harden   Engineer
Terrace Martin   Composer,Producer
James Blake   Composer,Producer
Patrick Douthit   Composer
DJ Dahi   Producer
Michael L. Williams   Composer,Producer
Cardo   Producer
Sounwave   Producer
Kendrick Duckworth   Composer
Ricci Riera   Composer,Producer
Mike WiLL Made It   Producer
Daniel Tannenbaum   Composer
Alexander Sowinski   Composer
BadBadNotGood   Producer
Chester Hansen   Composer
Dacoury Natche   Composer
Mark Spears   Composer
Zeke Mishanec   Engineer
Matthew Tavares   Composer
Tae Beast   Additional Production
Matt Schaeffer   Engineer
Leland Whitty   Composer
Alan Maman   Composer
Anna Wise   Composer
Teddy Walton   Composer,Producer
Steve Lacy   Composer,Producer
Ronald LaTour   Composer
Bekon   Producer,Additional Production
Zacari Pacaldo   Composer

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