After To Pimp A Butterfly, the only way up is to take a turn and go back on yourself. Damn. is a trip back to basics, away from the avant-garde jazz rap, and towards a series of hard-hitting beats and lines, so everything’s fine. Back to his other kind of genius is a better way to put it… to use basics, well, that’s just… damn!
DNA, Pride, Humble, Loyalty… the one word track titles clearly signify what it’s all about, and this approach is seen throughout. A smaller scope allows for more personal Lamar thoughts, about his rise to fame, family, and all the fear and doubts that come with it.
A smaller pool of guests are also on board, with Lamar giving the likes of U2 and Rihanna the Paul Thomas Anderson treatment when it comes to pushing out performances to win anybody over. We may hate Bono, but you won’t hate ‘XXX’. ‘America, God bless you if it’s good to you’ was a line that occupied my mind around the car park for quite some time. It was good to Bono, yes it was good to him alright.
Easier to consume than the butterfly, yet it isn’t a constant hit machine, with ‘Fear’ adding weight to the proceedings. Even if everything is smaller than last time, it’s still just as heavy. And of course all you can say when listening and looking at that 90’s throwback cover art is… yes you know it, I won’t even say it…