- 28 Apr 17
Hip-hop superstar delivers second consecutive masterpiece.
With DAMN., Kendrick Lamar has achieved the musical equivalent of winning back-to-back Champions League titles, thus extending his reign over the pop cultural landscape – a period of absolute pre-eminence attained by all major artists, famously described by the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant as “the imperial phase.”
Faced with the formidable task of following up the era-defining To Pimp A Butterfly, Kendrick has gone back to basics: as telegraphed by the cover (the rapper in a white t-shirt against a brick wall, leering out at us) and the one-word song titles, DAMN. prioritises primary feelings and emotions. Fear not, though – Lamar’s genius as songwriter, producer and lyricist is still conspicuously in evidence.
Though sparser than …Butterfly, DAMN. still gets around the musical houses in dazzling fashion: throbbing electro on ‘DNA’; atmospheric trip-hop on ‘Yah’; icy industrial on ‘Humble’. And as with similar heavyweights like Prince and Bowie, Lamar is an avant-garde adventurer who also can pen a hit single to order: expect the Rihanna collaboration, ‘Loyalty’, to be unavoidable this summer.