DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

January 28, 2018
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Many rap songs teens sing along to today and  find “catchy” promote poor messages and ideas. Many people associate these “inappropriate” songs with all rappers. On Fox News a reporter called out Kendrick Lamar for promoting poor ideas in his music, just assuming this was the case because he is a popular rapper. However, Kendrick Lamar does just the opposite, promoting positive meaning in his songs, so when he released his album DAMN., he made a few references to Fox News in response to this reporter's comments. He expressed that this reporter did not know what he was talking about, and continued to prove him wrong through the rest of the album by strictly promoting positivity. This album is not only catchy, but also filled with deeper meaning. Kendrick Lamar’s newest album DAMN. is deserving of the title of best album of 2017 because it provided the audience with catchy songs while still filling each individual song with meaning, and telling an amazing story.
Kendrick’s album rose to the top charts immediately after its release, and it's no wonder why. The beats and raps provide every rap loving, Kendrick fan with what they were hoping for and more. “Humble,” being one of the most popular songs, has over 500 million views just from Spotify alone. This song has a very catchy chorus singing “B***h, sit down, be humble,” which of course always resonates with the fans because it gives them something to sing along too. However, many parents hear those words and automatically think of the song as “inappropriate” and disregard it, missing the actual meaning behind his words. Many rappers and other artists in today's day get very carried away with fame, but Kendrick is not like them, he remains humble, which is what these lyrics are about. He is expressing the importance of remaining humble that many people have lost today. This is just one of the 14 songs on the album that are overflowing with meaning that promote only positive things. Music is one of the greatest platforms to promote positive meaning because it is a great way to reach younger generations.

Kendrick not only managed to make each individual song filled with positive meaning, but he also managed to do something with the album put together as a whole. The last song on the album, “Duckworth,” tells the amazing story of how the man who brought Kendrick to fame, named Anthony (Top Dawg), robbed the KFC where Kendrick’s father, named Ducky, worked at the time. However, Top Dawg did not harm Kendrick’s father simply because Ducky had gotten on his good side by giving him free biscuits every time he came to KFC. He concludes the song saying, “whoever thought the greatest rapper, would be from coincidence, because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life, while I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight” (“Duckworth,” DAMN.). The simple act of giving free biscuits not only saved his father’s life, but also allowed for Top Dawg to still roam the streets and allow them to meet years later in the recording studio. Ending with such a crazy story was not enough for the genius that is Kendrick Lamar. The song actually continues as it starts to play certain things in a sped up reverse, then Kendrick finishes the song with the same words that he used to start the album. This clued to fans that perhaps this album is meant to be played in reverse, which was later confirmed by Kendrick. In an interview done with MTV News Kendrick said, "The initial vibe listening from the top all the way to the bottom is...this aggression and this attitude. You know, 'DNA,' and exposing who I really am. You listen from the back end, and it’s almost the duality and the contrast of the intricate Kendrick Lamar. Both of these pieces are who I am." Not only did Kendrick manage to make a truly amazing album when played forwards, but gave it a whole new feel when played in reverse.

Kendrick Lamar’s album DAMN. truly deserves to be recognized as the best album of 2017 because of the true genius behind it. He manages to clap back at the Fox News reporter’s comments, then prove him wrong by promoting positive messages. Kendrick manages to do all of this while still making catchy, lovable music for his fans and telling amazing stories throughout the album that can be played both forward and backwards. Kendrick essentially provided two albums in one for his fans when he released this project because it creates two different feels when played in opposite directions- perhaps this album should count as the top two albums of 2017.

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