Kendrick Lamar

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Damn (stylized as DAMN.) is the fourth studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on April 14, 2017, by Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records. The album features production from a variety of record producers, including executive producer from the Top Dawg Entertainment label-head Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, Sounwave, DJ Dahi, Mike Will Made It and Ricci Riera; as well as production contributions from James Blake, Steve Lacy, BadBadNotGood, Greg Kurstin, The Alchemist and 9th Wonder, among others.

Damn received widespread critical acclaim and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, earning Lamar his third consecutive number one album in the United States. The album was supported by the lead single, "Humble". On May 4, 2017, Damn was certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Recording and production

"DNA" was the second song from the album to be recorded by Lamar and Mike Will, after "Humble". After the first verse was recorded with the beat that Mike Will had already prepared, Lamar started rapping the second verse a cappella, requesting that Mike Will build the beat around the rap. Lamar proposed that it sound like "chaos", and Mike Will put together the second half of the song with the intention to make it "sound like he's battling the beat."

The beat for "Humble" was developed by Mike Will with the intention of recording with Gucci Mane, but later showed it to Lamar, thinking that this would be the first time Lamar had recorded with a trap-style beat that Mike Will had been known for. After recording, it was initially agreed upon that it would be released on Mike Will's debut album Ransom 2, but others convinced Lamar to keep it for his own next album.

Artwork

On April 11, 2017, Lamar revealed the cover artwork for Damn. The album cover was designed by Vlad Sepetov, who created the album covers for Lamar's last two projects - To Pimp a Butterfly and Untitled Unmastered. Sepetov described Damn's cover as "loud and abrasive" and "not uber political like To Pimp a Butterfly but it has energy". Sepetov goes on to say the decision to put the Parental Advisory sticker in its unconventional position was so it could be a part of the design instead of an "afterthought".

Upon its reveal, the album art for Damn inspired many memes.

Release and promotion

On March 23, 2017, Lamar released a promotional single, titled "The Heart Part 4", which contained lyrics hinting at a possible April 7 release date for his fourth studio album. On April 7, 2017, the album was made available for pre-order and confirmed to be released on April 14. On April 11, Lamar revealed the track listing for Damn.

Singles

On March 30, 2017, Lamar released the album's lead single, titled "Humble" accompanied by a music video. It reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Canadian Hot 100 charts.

Other songs

On April 18, 2017, Lamar released the video for "DNA" on his YouTube channel, which entered at number four on the US Billboard Hot 100, becoming Lamar's second highest-charting song as a solo artist after "Humble".

Critical reception

Damn received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 95, based on 33 reviews. Andy Kellman of AllMusic stated that "It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper." Christopher R. Weingarten, an author for Rolling Stone, said, "Much like the recent A Tribe Called Quest record, Damn. is a brilliant combination of the timeless and the modern, the old school and the next-level. The most gifted rapper of a generation stomps into the Nineties and continues to blaze a trail forward." Writing for The A.V. Club, Evan Rytlewski concluded, "Lamar trusts every idea to stand on its own. When you're making art this substantial, vital, and virtuosic, there's no need to wrap a tidy bow around it."

Alexis Petridis of The Guardian wrote: "If it seems a more straightforward listen than To Pimp a Butterfly, there's a cheering sense that this doesn't equate to a lessening of musical ambition. There's none of that album's wilfully jarring quality - its sudden, anxious musical lurches and abrupt, short-circuiting leaps between genres - but the tracks on Damn still feel episodic and expansive. Whether Damn will have the same epochal impact as To Pimp a Butterfly remains to be seen, but either way it sounds like the work of a supremely confident artist at the top of his game." Neil McCormick of The Daily Telegraph stating that Damn "is the work of a future all-time great in full command of his powers." In Pitchfork's review of Damn, Matthew Trammell writes Damn "is a widescreen masterpiece of rap, full of expensive beats, furious rhymes, and peerless storytelling about Kendrick's destiny in America." In a mixed review, Exclaim! wrote that Damn "is the first time in Lamar's career that he hasn't broken new ground, explored old themes in new ways or exhibited sonic growth."

Pitchfork gave songs "Fear" and "DNA" the title of "Best New Track".

Commercial performance

In the United States, Damn debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 603,000 album-equivalent units in its first week of release. It sold 353,000 copies in its debut week and accumulated over 340 million streams, becoming the largest sales debut for an album in 2017 in the US so far. In its second week, the album remained at the top of the US charts with 238,000 album-equivalent units of which 87,000 were traditional album sales, bringing the sales to a total of 841,000 units.

In the United Kingdom, Damn sold 30,000 units in its first week and debuted at number two on the UK Albums Chart.

Track listing

Album credits adapted from official liner notes.

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies an additional producer
  • ^[b] signifies an uncredited co-producer
  • ^[c] signifies a vocal producer
  • Every song is stylized in all capital letters, with a period at the end of their titles; matching the album's title. For example, "Humble" is stylized as "HUMBLE."
  • "Blood" features an excerpt from Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle criticizing "Alright"
  • "Blood", "Yah", "Pride" and "God" feature additional vocals by B?kon
  • "DNA" features an excerpt from Geraldo Rivera
  • "Element" and "Love" feature additional vocals by Kid Capri
  • "Feel" features additional vocals by Chelsea Blythe
  • "Loyalty" features additional vocals by DJ Dahi
  • "Pride" features background vocals by Anna Wise and Steve Lacy
  • "Lust" features additional vocals by Kaytranada and Rat Boy
  • "XXX" and "Duckworth" feature additional vocals by B?kon and Kid Capri
  • "Fear" features additional vocals by Charles Edward Sydney Isom Jr., B?kon and Charles Duckworth

Sample credits

  • "Blood" and "DNA" contain elements of Fox News commentators criticizing Lamar's 2015 BET Awards performance; "DNA" also contains a sample from a live recording of "Mary Jane" as written and performed by Rick James, from the album Come Get It!.
  • "Element" contains pieces from "Ha" as written by Terius Gray and Byron O. Thomas and performed by Juvenile from the album 400 Degreez.
  • "Feel" samples "Stormy" as written and performed by O. C. Smith, from the album For Once in My Life, and interpolations from "Don't Let Me Down" as written and performed by Fleurie from the album Love and War.
  • "Loyalty" samples "24K Magic" as written by Bruno Mars, Christopher Brody Brown and Philip Lawrence and performed by Bruno Mars, from the album 24K Magic, "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as written by Russell Jones and Robert Diggs and performed by Ol' Dirty Bastard, from the album Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version and "Get Your Mind Right Mami" as written by Shawn Carter, Cordozar Calvin Broadus, Jr., Gerrell Gaddis and Malik Cox and performed by Jay Z featuring Snoop Dogg, Rell and Memphis Bleek, from the album The Dynasty: Roc La Familia.
  • "Lust" samples "Knock Knock" as written and performed by Rat Boy.
  • "Fear" samples "Poverty's Paradise" as written by Dale Warren and performed by 24-Carat Black from the album Ghetto: Misfortune's Wealth.
  • "XXX" samples "Get Up Offa That Thing" as written by Deanna Brown, Diedra Brown and Yamma Brown and performed by James Brown, from the album Get Up Offa' That Thing.
  • "Duckworth" samples "Atari" as written by Nai Palmand performed by Hiatus Kaiyote, "Be Ever Wonderful" as written by Maurice White and Larry Dunn and performed by Earth, Wind & Fire, from the album All 'n All, "Ostravi Trag" as written by September from the album Zadnja Avantura, and "Let the Drums Speak" as written by Bill Curtis and performed by the Fatback Band, from the album Yum Yum.

Personnel

Adapted from the album liner notes and AllMusic.

Charts

Certifications

Release history

See also

  • 2017 in hip hop music
  • List of 2017 albums
  • List of Billboard 200 number-one albums of 2017
  • List of number-one albums of 2017 (Canada)

References

Source : Wikipedia

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