Kendrick hunches over on the cover, eyes half shut, he looks almost demonised. The M in the word Damn stands over his head like a crown or horns. Immediately this is an attention grabbing cover from the self-proclaimed 'greatest rapper alive' and we haven't even reached the music yet. Kendrick has stamped his mark on rapper for eternity ever since he released Section 80, then the incredible Good Kid, M.a.a.D City and To Pimp A Butterfly. He even showed that his unreleased throwaway songs have incredible potential with the release of his untitled unmastered project last year. With a background feud with Drake in the works at all times Kendrick waited until the release of More Life to release The Heart Part IV then quickly follow it up with Humble to then quickly release this album right here, so was it rushed or not?
The short answer is no, the production on this album is well rounded. Sounwave took alot of the production on To Pimp A Butterfly and handles a few tracks on this LP right here, most notably XXX featuring U2, which has a filthy beat switch up and Kendrick mixes up his flow. There's also more of a rock feeling to this track with electric guitars being thrown into the mix and what should be a mess turns into a beautiful mess. Kendrick brings the fire we all know and love him for aswell, spitting things such as a kid called Johnny who doesn't want to go to school anymore instead he wants to be a rapper just like his cousin and this is why people fall in love with Kendrick. Because if there is an issue he cares about, or is invested in then he's going to bring it up in his raps which is a far fetch from rappers like Kodak Black and Lil Uzi Vert.
Another song that got people talking was LOYALTY featuring Rihanna, due to the fact that you would not expect to see her name on a Kendrick album, maybe the other way around. Lamar's risk paid dividends though, Rihanna perfectly complements the soothing laid back beat. What Kendrick delves into here is what are you loyal to? weed? alcohol? money? it's almost like he's asking what are you willing to betray people for, what would you die for? It adds to numerous lines on the album where it makes you think inwards and that's the power of a phenomenal rapper such as Kendrick and he truly is one of the greatest wordsmiths out there.
Overall, what we receive here is an album where Kendrick shows us a much darker side, a dejected man. Some of it is quite damning to hear, but Kendrick really comes through with bars, production and a very cohesive project. Did I mention all the fan theories…