I’m just going cut straight to the chase – Damn is the best album of 2017. Lamar is too good for any other artist to catch him (sorry Drake). Saying that, I’m not fully convinced that it’s Lamar’s best album (though I’ll probably change my mind after a few more listens). To Pimp the Butterfly had everything – a beautiful production and profound lyrics that addressed monolithic issues. Damn is less commercial with sudden surges of heavy basslines and surprising guest vocals from fading heavyweights. Yes, I’m talking about Bono’s appearance on ‘XXX’.
Damn is made up of 14 tracks that are sample-heavy (listen out for Rat-Boy on ‘LUST’) and have a lyrical flourish. It’s almost cinematic in the way Kendrick cuts from the fame-hungry ‘gunman/ Shootin’ up the charts’ (‘GOD’) to a startling story of murder (‘DUCKWORTH’), with slick mastery.
Verdict: Damn is not as perfect as To Pimp A Butterfly, but wouldn’t it be a boring world if it was? In its imperfections, Damn is a brave and powerful album. Kendrick is on top of the world and damn, he deserves it.