DAMN. Image
Metascore
95

Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critic Reviews What's this?

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8.4

Universal acclaim- based on 3192 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth full-length studio release for the Compton rapper features guest appearances from Rihanna, U2, and Zacari.
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. May 25, 2017
    100
    DAMN. sees the rapper make a 180 degree turn from the sprawling jazz/funk/hip-hop odyssey of TPAB to deliver 14 taut, tough and wise cutting-edge examples of what’s possible in hip-hop today. ... Essential stuff.
  2. Apr 17, 2017
    100
    Countless rappers claim to have transcended the game. Kendrick Lamar actually does. There’s the sense his ambitions on DAMN. are even larger, reaching toward something more universal, fateful even spiritual in its reach to find the link tying all contradictions together.
  3. Apr 21, 2017
    100
    It's so lean and spare sonically that it feels like a dash of cold water to the face after the cacophonous, dense To Pimp A Butterfly; it's so light on its feet that it makes Good Kid, M.A.A.D City feel ponderous in comparison. It does this while also staking its claim to being Kendrick's most philosophically profound album to date.
  4. Apr 17, 2017
    90
    Clocking in at under an hour, the new album maintains its predecessor's varied sonic palette with a mishmash of stark trap flourishes and woozy, impressionistic melodies but also distills these sounds to an ear-wormy directness primed for your car speakers.
  5. Apr 25, 2017
    90
    It’s not what you might have expected or even--on one or two initial listens--have been hoping for from Kendrick Lamar. But this is an artist in his absolute prime: artistically, lyrically and musically.
  6. Apr 18, 2017
    90
    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.
  7. Apr 18, 2017
    60
    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.

See all 39 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Negative: 15 out of 437
  1. Apr 14, 2017
    10
    This album was Kendrick changing his sound and offering something different than his previous albums. A great listen from start to end, stillThis album was Kendrick changing his sound and offering something different than his previous albums. A great listen from start to end, still need to listen a couple more times to unpack the lyrics Expand
  2. Apr 18, 2017
    10
    Wordplay, storytelling, vocal manipulation, clean production: all marks of a classic Kendrick album. Ultimately A tense affair with the King.Wordplay, storytelling, vocal manipulation, clean production: all marks of a classic Kendrick album. Ultimately A tense affair with the King. Not to be missed. Expand
  3. Jan 6, 2018
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. “I was born like this, since one like this; immaculate conception/I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua's new weapon … ”
    - Kendrick Lamar, “DNA.”

    Since Kendrick Lamar Duckworth’s beginnings as a local Compton rapper known as K-Dot, he has pushed the boundaries of the rap genre.

    After releasing his first mixtape, Y.H.N.I.C. (Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year) (2003) at age 16, Lamar gained attention locally and signed to LA-based label Top Dawg Entertainment. This prompted the release of the mixtapes Training Day (2005) and No Sleep til’ NYC (2007).

    After releasing his fourth mixtape, C4 (2009), Lamar set aside the peer-dubbed pseudonym “K-Dot” and pulled inspiration from his birth name, a refinement reflected in his release at the end of 2009, The Kendrick Lamar EP.

    **** my name is Kendrick … Lamar/I said my name is Kendrick … Lamar/I changed the name ‘cause I was tired of being like y’all/Now finally I’m ready to tell the world who I are …”
    - Kendrick Lamar, “Kendrick Lamar”

    As a redefined artist, Lamar released his O(verly) D(edicated) mixtape in 2010, followed by his debut studio album Section.80 in 2011, earning him more and more attention. Next released were the albums, good kid, m.A.A.d city (2012), To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) and untitled unmastered. (2016), earning him impressive ratings and praise.

    On April 14, 2017, Kendrick Lamar released his fourth studio album to the world: DAMN. The album’s lead single, “HUMBLE.,” reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100. All 14 tracks of DAMN. charted on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album itself peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.

    Metacritic, which gives a rating (metascore) out of 100 to albums based on user and critic reviews, assigned DAMN. a 95—giving Lamar the two highest scoring hip-hop/rap albums on Metacritic to date (To Pimp a Butterfly with 96). DAMN. was certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in its third week.

    Lamar is in the top five emcees—past and most certainly present—as far as rapping ability, no doubt, but where Lamar stands unrivaled is in his profound artistry. The conceptual beauty of To Pimp a Butterfly was proof, and DAMN. further cemented my belief.

    The album is a new chapter in his career, showing the evolution of Lamar’s character.

    “Kung Fu Kenny now/My resume is real enough for two millenniums . . . ”
    - Kendrick Lamar, “LOYALTY.”

    The protagonist of “good kid, m.A.A.d city” is a young, impressionable Lamar being subjected to the trials and tribulations of growing up in his hometown of Compton, California.

    “To Pimp a Butterfly” delves into the challenges of escaping Compton’s perils, the wider struggles of the American black man, and Lamar’s personal struggle in American black society.

    DAMN. is the most focused on Lamar’s inner-self—his core emotions. His fears, his feelings, his values—and his “DNA.”—are unveiled on this record, as seen in the track titles “FEAR.,” “FEEL.” and “LOYALTY.”

    This is Lamar’s most raw and personal work, conveyed in a humble, but prideful, subdued, but rebellious, manner. After the declarative, hard-hitting “DNA.” comes a dimmed, pensive “YAH.,” followed by the self-empowering “ELEMENT.,” and then the contrastingly somber and vulnerable “FEEL.” The juxtapositions are deliberate and effective.

    "I feel like a chip on my shoulders/I feel like I'm losin' my focus/I feel like I'm losin' my patience/I feel like my thoughts in the basement …"
    - Kendrick Lamar, "FEEL."

    “‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ would be the idea of the thought of changing the world,” Lamar, in an interview with Zane Lowe of Apple Music, said. “DAMN. would be the idea, ‘I can’t change the world ‘til I change myself.’”

    In DAMN. we hear Lamar’s explicit take on what he sees in the mirror. At the root of this project is his struggle for humility, rendered masterfully in high-level lyricism. DAMN. gives the listener an expanded, human sense of Lamar, something not extensively explored in his previous works. Kendrick this season blesses the world with another creative masterpiece.

    Drake? Big Sean? In the words of the man himself, “get out the goddamn way.”
    Expand
  4. Apr 16, 2017
    10
    Kendrick has evolved since TPAB to give us this introspective masterpiece. Each track bursts with originality, with some excellent beats whichKendrick has evolved since TPAB to give us this introspective masterpiece. Each track bursts with originality, with some excellent beats which are complimented by superb lyrics and wonderful production. There is not one weak track on this 14 song opus, Kendrick has followed a classic with another classic. Truly amazing! Expand
  5. Apr 16, 2017
    9
    DAMN, is an interesting album. It begins with a narrative, and is a lot more personal than any of Kendrick's other albums. the album focusesDAMN, is an interesting album. It begins with a narrative, and is a lot more personal than any of Kendrick's other albums. the album focuses on the nature of the person, and it begins and ends with a simple tale. He changed up his sound greatly, with production on this album being a lot more scarce, and in some ways scattered compared to the heavy sound that TPAB had. The track listing is extremely strong, with only a few duds - "Love" and "God". Overall, DAMN is a solid follow-up to TPAB, and better, at least in my opinion. However, I'm also in the minority that thinks that GKMC is better than TPAB - obviously in the minority. Expand
  6. Sep 25, 2021
    8
    I feel DAMN. is simultaneously overrated and overrated. On one hand there are people who adulate this album excessively merely because it’s aI feel DAMN. is simultaneously overrated and overrated. On one hand there are people who adulate this album excessively merely because it’s a Kendrick Lamar album, while on the other there’s people who blindly hate on it without trying to understand it. DAMN. shows Kendrick trying to make an album which dives into his psyche, and for that matter the human psyche’s emotions and feelings. For the most part, he does this well. Tracks like DUCKWORTH, XXX., FEAR., PRIDE., ELEMENT and DNA. are amazing songs with admirable production and meaningful lyrics. BLOOD. and LUST. are good tracks but don’t hit as much as the ones mentioned before. HUMBLE. is in its own category as though I believe it’s above BLOOD. and LUST., it’s radio friendly and slightly shallow meaning is reminiscent of Swimming Pools, and consequently makes me hesitant to praise it too much. YAH. and GOD. are decent at best, some may say mediocre, there’s honestly not too much to say about them. LOYALTY. and LOVE. are definitely regrettable. LOYALTY. is just annoying and obviously engineered for the radio, while LOVE. is soulless, uncharacteristic and is probably the only Kendrick song since 2011 which I’d actually classify as bad. At times, Kendrick also fails to tie in all these ideas together - the album lacks cohesion at times. With that being said, the album is still full of good songs, and the concepts Kendrick explores are impactful and deep. Kendrick should have just fleshed out some ideas more, especially for LOVE. and LOYALTY. Expand
  7. Jan 22, 2020
    0
    Trash!!!!!!!!!!!! His fans are toxic and need to grow up. Making multiple accounts to bring ratings down is pathetic

See all 437 User Reviews

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