Who’s really counting albums/mixtapes/playlists these days? Lets just say artist Kendrick Lamar dropped his latest project DAMN. Nigga News received a copy on release day, but nobody was that excited . A majority of the staff was skeptical of Kendrick. How much is he just another marketing machine? Exploiting the cause for profit. Black lives don’t just matter, they also bring media coverage.
The revolution will not be televised but it definitely is being streamed. Sampling Fox News was tight. Hell, the skits all over we’re topical and poignant. Nice bars on DNA, this is the shit we want. Was a rapper finally living up to expectations? Hailing himself as black messiah is no small thing. But this tour-de-force of soulful musings through black America does make a strong case.
Hot fire, untouchable. Kendrick is a visionary but he isn’t pushing past the boundaries he set for himself. We get it homie, you’re a heterosexual black male who enjoys guns. Please wow me. Around ELEMENT is when the fun starts. Lamar is pure hip hop. Albeit his vocal instrument doesn’t have the timelessness of 90’s acts. But it’s undeniable he uses his uniqueness to his advantage.
Five tracks in Kendrick gets all zen on us. True Friends remix track FEEL LIKE. But really these kind of songs gives the record replay value. It’s deep, pensive, brooding. The flows are fantastic, and he sings pretty damn well. The chosen one is relentless in his firing of shots. The public, the government, himself, noone is safe. The album spans a wide array of topics. Most are unfortunately only superficially covered. Could probably use 3 less tracks and an actual analysis of race relations
Slick, jazzy production. TDE can obviously afford not to use “Kendrick type” beats. The live instrumentation is consistently on point. It bangs in a way guaranteed to make the hustlers and ladies bump. The atmosphere on this thing is crazy. Lush, like watching The Wire in HD. White listeners might actually feel like they’re in actual dangers.
This new funk Renaissance is fantastic. The slow plodding jam of PRIDE a brilliant stand out. Ridding the beat with a haunting monotone and an eerie bird-cry. This man has a true gift for eliciting imagery. Even if Kendrick might’ve have forgotten what it’s like to be black, he’s definitely still using drugs. Near the end of the album everything falls into usual rapper braggadociousness. By GOD, I was sort of wishing Kendrick had ghost writers, to tell him to stop.
Nice island flow on YAH. Kendrick has obviously been wishing Rhianna would break up with him. Despite perceptions of having sold out, Kendrick is undeniably connected to the black experience on some level. Personal anecdotes sprinkled throughout bring authenticity. His main conduit for oppression seems to be the media. Of course as celebrity that makes sense. Only thing is, it alienates a lot of listeners who actually suffer from disenfranchisement on the daily. All those kids living in the hood don’t care about paparazzi following you home. They have to worry about the neighborhood watch.
This album is all over the place. Vacillates between pop trash, and shit I actually enjoy. Such is the black experience made digestible for a white fan base. Will probably give it a few more spins in 2017. Hopefully there is a part 2. Right now it feels like I just watched the first part of Moonlight then the movie stopped. Pause.
K-Dot is a prophet no doubt. But he’s also fake. All throughout the album he undercuts the real he seems to stand for. I’ve got to give credit to where its due though. Kendrick admitting to not being perfect is what makes this album so great. It’s definitely of the times, and moves as such. Probably needs to cut his braids and get tasered.
FINAL NIGGA RATING, 3 OUT OF 5 BLACK POWER FISTS: TWO STEPPING COON STATUS, STILL JIGGY