Boy, am I glad I decided to write down my first impressions of this album, because it was nothing like what I expected, based off what I heard from “To Pimp a Butterfly” and “untitled unmastered.” And I have a LOT of feelings about it.
I’ll have a full review out of “DAMN.” whenever I’m able to calm down from this first listen and can compose real, coherent sentences again. But rumor has it Kendrick will be releasing another album tomorrow (technically later today), so we’ll see if there’s even time to breathe before there’s something new to listen to again.
So here it is … 64 thoughts I had while listening to Kendrick’s “DAMN.”
1. I’m so excited for the album but I still can’t get over the cover. It looks likes Kendrick just got off a 12-hour shift at Waffle House where he witnessed at least two people attempt to urinate on the floor (and one who successfully did).
2. Intro to “BLOOD.” is giving me “Bohemian Rhapsody” vibes.
3. The old woman replies, “You have lost something. You’ve lost your life.” Savage, lady. He was just tryna help you pick something from the street.
4. Also, I lost 3 years off my life hearing the white Fox News man say “fo sho.”
5. Damn it’s 0 to 60 going from “BLOOD.” to “DNA.” This. Beat. Bangs.
6. “I got loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA” is a much cooler slogan than Northwestern’s “AND is in our DNA.” Goddamn overachievers.
7. Although every white girl will probably be changing her Insta bio to “royalty inside my DNA” soon. Don’t say I didn’t warn y’all.
8. I got heart palpitations from Kendrick’s second verse. God DAMN.
9. Literally had to pause before the next song because I’m still recuperating.
10. Alyssa is me right now.
11. Okay, I got some water in me. Ready for “YAH.”
12. Is Kendrick singing?? I’m into it.
13. I love that he’s dragging Fox News and Geraldo Rivera for three songs straight.
14. It’s in these moments where I wish I knew more about Christianity. References to things like “Deuteronomy” just go over my head.
15. Seriously, it was like 10th grade when I figured out that Jesus and God are kinda the same dude. Actually, are they?
16. LOL @ “Kung Fu Kenny.” I’m imagining a skinny white child trying to split a brick into two but breaking his hands in the process.
17. I can’t hear “element” without thinking of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” I wonder what kind of bender Kendrick would be. Probably fire?
18. Thus far, the album sounds more commercial than TPAB, but not in a bad way. The beat on “ELEMENT.” for example, is more mainstream and catchy than his previous stuff.
19. Loving the production on “FEEL.” Moody but energetic at the same time.
20. Also can’t believe “LOYALTY.” is the first collaboration between Rihanna and Kendrick.
21. Maybe he waited until she wasn’t with Drake to do something?
22. Speaking of commercial hits, I’m thinking this and “HUMBLE.” will be the breakouts from the album.
23. His flow is effortless, and Riri’s verse fits well with his vibe.
24. So “geeked up” means getting high off meth, cocaine or ecstasy. Interesting. Although if I used it I doubt people would think I was referring to anything besides getting a new calculator
25. Don’t kill me for saying this, but I’m much more into this album’s production than TPAB’s (at least initially).
26. The parts in “PRIDE.” where Kendrick’s voice is pitched up make me imagine him taking helium from a balloon, which might not be the intention.
27. Apparently Steve Lacy recorded this beat on an iPhone? And when he found out Kendrick included it on the album, he “screamed with joy.” That’s actually adorable.
28. I can barely take a non-blurry photo on the first try with my phone, and this dude is recording beats on it.
29. That probably says more about me than him though, huh?
30. Anna Wise is the best. Never let her go, Kendrick.
31. Speaking of Grey Poupon, Vox has an interesting video about why rappers have referenced this mustard SO much in the past.
32. Props to Kenny though, for not rhyming it with “coupon.”
33. I wonder if Instagram “comedians” are going to use “sit down, be humble” in their next 100 videos. And I wonder if it’ll be lowkey misogynistic (hint: probably).
34. Here, they’re sampling a song by an artist named Rat Boy.
35. Just imagine: “Everyone, meet Batman’s new sidekick: ‘Rat Boy.’”
36. “Wake up in the mornin’/Thinkin’ ’bout money, kick your feet up/Watch you a comedy, take a shit” …
37. Wow Kendrick, how did you know my Saturday routine?
38. Was that TMI?
39. Whatever, girls poop. Grow up.
40. Zacari’s voice is so smoooooth.
41. Tory Lanez is probably crying himself to sleep over not getting on this track.
42. Funny enough, Tory has a song called “LUV.”
43. This track is nothing like what I’ve heard from Kendrick before. It’s kinda awesome.
44. It’s a great blend of hip-hop and alternative R&B.
45. There’s a U2 feature ????? Whaaaattttt.
46. Kendrick keepin us on our toes with these unexpected guests.
47. The flow switch, when it goes from “You know we all love him” to “Yesterday I got a call,” is insane.
48. Whereas “XXX.” is overtly political, “FEAR.” is deeply personal.
49. Here, he references the titles of some previous tracks on the album: “Fear of losin’ loyalty from pride,” “fear that my humbleness is gone,” etc.
50. This song is almost 8 minutes longgggg. My attention span is half of that.
51. Am I the worst?
52. Thematically, the song is really interesting, but I probably won’t be listening to it on a regular basis (see: #51).
53. “GOD.” also starts off totally unlike what I expected from Kendrick.
54. If you would’ve told me a year ago that this is what the new Kendrick album would sound like, I’d be
55. I’m shooketh at the moment, actually.
56. At first I thought “work it JT” was a reference to Justin Timberlake, but evidently it’s from the film “The Five Heartbeats.” #themoreyouknow
57. But I guessing “I’m sellin’ verses, Jay Z, watch me work it, JT” is actually referring to the former ramen-noodle-headed, NYSNC heartthrob?
58. Yoooo some Genius commenter said this sounds like a Drake song. I kinda … agree? Is it intentional though? What if Kendrick is deliberately imitating Drake’s flow and his habit of calling himself “6 God” ? Hmmm …
59. The manipulation of Ted Taylor’s “Be Ever Wonderful” is amazing.
60. HA, apparently “DUCKWORTH.” tells the true story of how Top Dawg (founder of TDE, Kendrick’s label) almost killed Kendrick’s dad, Ducky, who worked at KFC.
61. And Top Dawg was nice to Ducky because Ducky would give him free chicken and biscuits when he went to KFC.
62. Now that’s what I call conflict prevention.
63. The song (and thus album) ends with Kendrick’s first line from the first song, “BLOOD.”: “So, I was takin a walk the other day …”
64. I need to lie down.