Universal acclaim - based on 39 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 38 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
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  1. May 25, 2017
    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. Q Magazine
    May 9, 2017
    Damn. is an almost flawless hip-hop masterclass that crunches Kendrick's consuming concerns--life and death, pride and guilt, fate and freewill--into the tightest, most explosive package yet. [Jul 2017, p.102]
  3. May 3, 2017
    Kendrick Lamar rose to the top with his last album, and on DAMN. he tries to rediscover himself while on this new perch, with spectacular results.
  4. Apr 24, 2017
    Yet another dial-shifting record.
  5. Apr 21, 2017
    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.
  6. Apr 20, 2017
    Three months in, DAMN. feels like our first Trump-era classic. It’s as bold and as hard and as hopeful as it is bursting with vitriol. It’s as distracting as it is inciting. It’s as cohesive as it is dense.
  7. 100
    After delving into the personal on 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city and going broader on Butterfly, Lamar has found a middle ground on DAMN. that yields some of his most emotionally resonant music yet.
  8. Apr 17, 2017
    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.
  9. Apr 17, 2017
    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.
  10. 100
    This one is no less ambitious and rewarding than some of his previous entries.
  11. Apr 14, 2017
    From DNA’s punchy electro mantra about identity to LOVE’s tender sing-song reggae pop meditation on fickle emotions, DAMN is an album of surface sheen and hidden depths, where words and music operate in beautiful synchronicity, a constantly unfolding dance that lends each new approach a sense of investigation and revelation. It is dazzling.
  12. Apr 14, 2017
    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.
  13. Apr 19, 2017
    Whether it’s a future classic or impenetrable catalog builder remains to be seen, but once more, King Kendrick has proved through linear vision he’s naturally able to outshine the rest of the mainstream while still working to figure out the world around him.
  14. Apr 21, 2017
    This is Kendrick Lamar playing the game, and making everything else look dangerously irrelevant while he's at it. Be afraid.
  15. Apr 17, 2017
    Kendrick Lamar has proven he’s a master storyteller, but he’s been saving his best plot twist this whole time, waiting until he was ready, or able, to pull it off.
  16. Apr 19, 2017
    On “DNA.”, Kendrick slices himself down the middle, spills his guts, and mines the finer points of all of his moving parts over an 808-heavy production from Mike Will Made It. The combination may sound to purists like it should not work on paper, but it is absolute fire, and they reprise their magic again on “HUMBLE.” and “XXX.”, challenging rap’s own perceptions of itself and what value really boils down to from the Hot 100 to the underground.
  17. Apr 14, 2017
    With DAMN., Kendrick Lamar plays by the rules and then sets the rule book on fire, and continues one of the most impressive run of albums of any artist in recent memory.
  18. The Wire
    Aug 8, 2017
    A less deranged response to celebrity than Kanye West’s Yeezus, more imaginative than Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP or Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, it shares with the former an economy of form, and with the latter two the giddy energy of an artist coming into perfect sync with their audience. It’s also a sumptuous sounding pop record, polite streamlined mass market psychedelia. [Jun 2017, p.64]
  19. 90
    DAMN. isn’t the same kind of masterpiece that To Pimp a Butterfly is, but it’s a masterpiece nonetheless.
  20. Apr 25, 2017
    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.
  21. Apr 24, 2017
    DAMN. does at times feel contradictory and the ideas he’s transmitting at times don’t feel fully formed, but this is where its genius lies. Kendrick offers a true snapshot of the eternal debates that we host inside our heads, and there is immense bravery and artistry in his depiction.
  22. Apr 21, 2017
    An album that resembles a focused collection of small, brilliant things.
  23. Apr 20, 2017
    It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper.
  24. Apr 18, 2017
    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.
  25. Apr 17, 2017
    Tart and punchy.... Sometimes boisterous, sometimes swampy, rarely fanciful album--it’s Mr. Lamar’s version of the creeping paranoia that has become de rigueur for midcareer Drake. And yet this is likely Mr. Lamar’s most jubilant album, the one in which his rhymes are the least tangled.
  26. Apr 17, 2017
    Kendrick is at his best when he’s rapping through the abyss, and better when his flow pulls in rappers from times past.
  27. Apr 17, 2017
    The album is a 55-minute blitz of thumping beats and head-spinning rhymes that blur by you before you have a chance to process them.
  28. Apr 17, 2017
    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.
  29. Apr 14, 2017
    Damn. strips down the rhythms to their essence, flavored with the occasional cameo (notably Rihanna and U2). Lamar’s voice does most of the heavy lifting, playing multiple roles and characters. His supple singing complements a variety of rap tones and textures.
  30. Apr 18, 2017
    Trying to cherry-pick highlights from "DAMN." is an exercise in futility: practically every track is superb, more a matter of taste than anything else. It's simpler to isolate the one bum note: "God" sounds like an Akon joint from the mid-Noughties.
  31. Apr 14, 2017
    DAMN. remedies a lot of its predecessor's mistakes and gives us something better--a Kendrick not seen since Section.80, throwing tonally and stylistically inconsistent songs together in a desperate scramble to tell us just what the fuck he's feeling. It's slipshod, haphazard and rocky to listen to, and that's the Kendrick I've been missing for the past few years.
  32. Jul 5, 2017
    The beats are heavy, spare, and hard. Lamar demonstrates the versatility of his flow.
  33. Uncut
    May 18, 2017
    DAMN. is a showcase for a rapper at his peak, blessed with a flow, nuance and unostentatious authority that currently feels unparalleled. [Jul 2017, p.32]
  34. May 3, 2017
    This is a fearlessly bleak, yet subtly downcast album, and Lamar has thankfully attained the confidence and standing not to compromise that vision with party tracks, nor dilute it with swaths of guest stars. It's pure, direct, and bitterly spat.
  35. Apr 28, 2017
    DAMN. may be Kendrick’s most commercially viable body of work to date and contains a number of breezy tunes that should keep him on the Billboard charts for the foreseeable future, but is at its best when the rapper delves inward.
  36. 80
    DAMN. is by far his shortest release to date – but the ideas, thoughts and feelings it contains are massive, weighty things, from sexual tension to deep, dark depression.
  37. Apr 20, 2017
    A return to fundamentals closest in kin to Lamar’s 2012 debut, proving that, questionable sleeve design aside, he’s in imperious form.
  38. 80
    This album isn't a 'Holy shit I need to text my friend imploring them to listen immediately' mind blower, but it is a valuable addition to his oeuvre.
  39. Apr 18, 2017
    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.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 3203 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Apr 14, 2017
    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 Full Review »
  2. Apr 14, 2017
    A very good Hip-Hop album and Kendrick’s best album, lyrically. The album is different from his previous two albums.

    The album isn’t as
    A very good Hip-Hop album and Kendrick’s best album, lyrically. The album is different from his previous two albums.

    The album isn’t as strong as TPABF but, the track on the album does sound better. Kendrick isn’t spitting that super political message like he did on TPABF but, his lyrics and bars are more fun to listen to on this album.

    This album will probably be 2017 the best hip-hop albums and top 10 albums of the year and receive many Grammys nominations.

    The lead single, HUMBLE is an overall great track but, it isn’t the best from this album. There are far better songs than Humble.

    The single isn’t the best on the album, but it is one of the best singles of the year. This track could also end up getting an Oscar nomination, depending on what other songs he decides to put out as a single.

    Kendrick Lamar is taking a Kanye West approach with his albums. Every album sounds different from the last. The thing that Kendrick does well with his new sound is keeping it hip-hop. This album doesn’t have that jazz feeling or west coast hip-hop feeling, it actually sounds like more of the newer radio hip hop stuff, but, it still sounds like real hip hop.

    Overall, this album shows that Kendrick can change sounds and still sound great.

    9.3/10 - Great tracks and lyrically his best, but it lacks the overall strong message and storytelling like TPABF and GKMC.

    TPABF: 9.7/10
    Section: 8/10
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 18, 2017
    Ive always wondered what kendrick would do after his classic tpab. Will he really go experimental, will he go trap, his style on gkmc or heIve always wondered what kendrick would do after his classic tpab. Will he really go experimental, will he go trap, his style on gkmc or he would continuehis jazz sound? And we got this. Probably the most overrated rap album oat. Not only by fans but also by critics. You know what? I felt like a 5 but when i saw a damn 97 my jaw dropped to the floor. Like are you for real? Lmao ill never take reviewers seriously if they overrate it so much and this album ends up having a 90+ not even 75 should get. It doesnt feel done or finished, yes ik its a concept album but he didnt make a good job this time. In no nonno way this is better than good kid maad city no. It has kennys WIRST and poppiest songs he ever made like loyalty and that annoying song love, the banfers are pretty meh, and the overall theme feels not finished. Kendrick ur one of my favourites but this album is your first flaw Full Review »