Compton’s finest Kendrick Lamar dropped arguably his most graceful and challenging long form on Sunday to universal critical acclaim (obviously).
Featuring tracks such as ‘DUCKWORTH’ about chance meetings over KFC biscuits and ‘LOVE’ with Cali upstart Zacari, DAMN. is biblical in the old testament sense of the word.
Sprawling, contradictory, diverse and complex whilst remaining simple enough to appeal to a universal audience, Lamar’s latest offering projects uncomfortable themes by utilising sweeping synthetic sonic’s and classic hip hop instrumentalism.
It’s a bloody mind bender to say the least.
We over the pond have not escaped Lamar’s long sampling arm with borderline archaic legends U2 dragged back from endless ego charity balls joining Essex’s scumbag post ironic Rat Boy to grace the album with a little Irish/English charm.
The latter’s contribution, on ‘LUST’, I find to be a lot more poignant however. The overt brashness and teen angst Rat Boy imbues in pretty much his entire music outlay is expertly toned down by Lamar, infusing the usual grinding guitar lines with an almost Leonard Cohen esque melancholia.
It’s a tiny part of the whole picture but I like to think that Chelmsford and Compton are not so far apart, distant siblings perhaps.
Words by Aaron Powell