DAMN.

by Kendrick Lamar

Released April 14, 2017 via Top Dawg Entertainment / Aftermath Entertainment / Interscope Records

Reviewed April 12, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
DUCKWORTH. (62%), FEAR. (57%), PRIDE. (30%)

Whether it’s fear, rage, pride, or confidence, DAMN. is an album about emotions intoxicating us, spilling over into actions with absolute consequences. Kendrick Lamar presents his fourth album with a trove of versatility. Similarly to 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city, DAMN. sees the height of hit-making in hip-hop alongside a rare balance of art and concept. As Lamar continues to document his life through these outlets, the frame of his psyche has expanded, subsequently becoming his muse. DAMN. has a feverish feel to each word and every revelation, as if Kendrick Lamar is possessed, sleeping, or dying. Every emotion is expressed with little to no taper. Taking “two sides to a story” to another level, Lamar’s sense of mania and depression sees him as very different people. Instrumentally, the album’s array of production heightens the message to any given song. Add in the two-faced Gemini persona he embraces, and Lamar sees himself constantly reeling in a series of cycles. Some tracks, such as “HUMBLE” or “LOVE,” grossly pale in comparison to the record’s many peaks, elevating DAMN. to great—but not perfect—status. – DeVán (8.5/10)


Forward or backward, Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, DAMN., will be remembered as monumental. This project follows Kendrick’s conceptual pursuit of being Black in America. Taking a different approach than To Pimp A Butterfly—which took a deep dive into Black and African American culture— Lamar speaks more on Black emotion. DAMN. tackles the Black experience from Kendrick’s point of view and how he must balance being Black, famous, a musician, and a cultural icon. The track titles quite literally personify emotions and feelings prevalent to especially the Black community. There is beauty in this approach, as he can string these concepts into his perception. Lamar stays true to himself: Sometimes braggadocious, but never too cocky. The concepts are not overdone, and its production may be more subtle than previous projects, but that’s fine. At the time of its release, DAMN. was not as well-received as anticipated, but it definitely stands the test of time. – Daniel (8/10)


Kendrick Lamar's fourth studio album puts the philosophical feats on the backburner in exchange for cavernous and slightly experimental beats and freedom of character—a loosening of the serious ties that bind. Kendrick's venture into pop-centric territory played out like we knew it would: Better than the average, much better in most cases. DAMN. shows an artist at the height of their abilities opening up to the surface level side of their repertoire, while adding depth in the process. Teaming up with the likes of Rihanna and U2, DAMN. promised a certain level of sheen, gloss, and sparkle. Changing the formula noticeably while remaining familiar, Kendrick explores the untraversed depths of his universe. A place where unexpected guests, subject matter, and artists get their chance to intertwine. Teaming up with outside circles expands inner circles indefinitely. DAMN. is a change of pace from a contemporary king. – Peter (8/10)


Jacques: 10/10 | DeVán: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.4/10 | Pax: 8.4/10 | Alan: 8.2/10 | Daniel: 8/10

Hadley: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10 | Ben (Synth): 7.5/10 | Pablo: 7.5/10 | Cam: 7/10 | Jared: 5/10