By Victoria Tinker

For those of you that aren’t huge fans of hip hop, like me, you might not know who Kendrick Lamar is. Although by now, you might recognize at least one of these three songs: “Swimming Pools (Drank),” “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” or “Poetic Justice.” All of which are from Lamar’s second album, “Good Kid, M.A.D.D City,” released Oct. 22, 2012.

Lamar’s new album, “DAMN.” was released on April 14. Just like the title, all of the songs featured in the album are capitalized accompanied with a period.

The first song, “BLOOD.,” is an introduction to the album in sense. Lamar notices a blind woman who looks like she’s struggling to find something, so he walks up to her and asks if she needs help. She responds by killing him dead on the street. My take on this intro is, you can’t trust everyone you meet on the street. The outro to the song is a Fox News excerpt.

In June of 2015, Lamar opened the BET Awards standing on top of a graffiti cop car performing the song, “Alright” from his third album, “To Pimp a Butterfly” which was released in March of 2015.

Later, Eric Bolling and Kimberly Guilfoyle then criticized his performance in a Fox News segment.

In “BLOOD.,” Lamar samples the news segment, where Bolling said, “Lamar stated his views on police brutality with that line in the song, quote ‘And we hate the popo, wanna kill us in the street fo’ sho.’” and to which you hear Guilfoyle reply with, “Oh please, ugh, I don’t like it.”

It’s obvious that Lamar’s views on police brutality haven’t changed since last year, and he wanted to make that very clear in this album.

The next song, “DNA.” was made into a music video. “YAH.,” the third song in the album is playing in the background. They zoom in on Lamar sitting in an interrogation room, cuffed to the table with a lie detector next to him on his right. A black cop walks in and starts to interrogate him. He says, “You know what DNA stands for? Dead Nigger Association.”

The cop takes a seat next to the lie detector and the excerpt of Fox News from “BLOOD.” echoes in, he goes to start the lie detector and is electrocuted. Then the song starts, “I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA.”

The video and the lyrics, “My DNA not for imitation, your DNA an abomination,” hit hard on the idea that being a person of color in a white man’s world is a hard life. So whether your name is well known or not, you have to stick together and have each other’s back in this cruel world that we live in.

Anyone that has heard Lamar released a new album, knows the song “HUMBLE.” One of my friends introduced me to the song and said, “This song makes me want to drive around and do crazy shit.”

“HUMBLE.” was released on its own 15 days before the album. This is one of the most upbeat songs on the album, and could easily be a great song on its own, but oddly enough it fits perfectly into the album.

This song was also made into a music video. It’s a masterpiece that you’ll just have to watch.

In “HUMBLE.” Lamar sings, “I’m so fuckin’ tired of the photoshop, show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks.”

This appeals to a lot of feminists, even though there’s cussing and some other explicit language, Lamar is still respectful to his audience.

It’s hard to pick a favorite when the entire album is great, but “LUST.” is in my top five. The beat in the beginning, pans from the left speaker to the right, and back a few times, making you feel a little disoriented. Which is a great transition into this song from “HUMBLE.”

Lamar starts singing,

“I need some water

something came over me

way too hot to simmer down

might as well overheat…”

The theme of being disoriented follows through this song as blood rushes his “favorite vein” and his heart races like a junkie’s as he tries to get a girl to have sex with him.

This album is an amazing piece of art that is Kendrick Lamar’s life. The transitions in between each song are so smooth, the first time you listen to the album all the way through you might catch yourself looking down at the playlist to see if you’re still on the same song or if it’s changed.

I could easily ramble on about how great this album is, especially after researching deeper into the meaning of every song and seeing how they are connected.

But the more you listen to it, the more you notice and start to piece together parts of the puzzle yourself.




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Victoria Tinker