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Kendrick Lamar is still at the top of his game 

click to enlarge Kendrick Lamar, "DAMN."
  • Kendrick Lamar, "DAMN."

Astute observers will note that the titles of the 14 tracks of Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. are written in all-caps, a marker for the emphatic or insane. For Lamar’s fourth studio work, it probably indicates a bit of both, with tongue held firmly in cheek. Since any sequel to the sprawling, 75-minute social opus To Pimp a Butterfly would seem anti-climactic, Lamar narrows his vision to a personal study of interacting with a world gone mad. But he applies the same mashing of styles as in previous outings, this time with help from artists as diverse as U2 and BadBadNotGood. While his political clarity can’t match that of artists like Colorado Springs’ own Kevin Mitchell, the droll observations on tracks like “DNA” and “XXX” make it clear how Lamar assesses the Trump era. DAMN. proves he’s still at the top of his game.
File next to: J. Cole, Ab-Soul, Schoolboy Q

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