Streaming Music - 2017 | Explicit version
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Publisher: [United States] : Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath Records/ Interscope Records, 2017
Edition: Explicit version
Branch Call Number: eMusic hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (55 min.)) : digital
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Jul 16, 2018

“I was takin’ a walk the other day…”

And so this begins. As expected from the title, (and in contrast to that innocent opening), this musical "walk the other day" isn't NICE. Nobody has ever gotten a Pulitzer in music for writing inoffensive little songs.

(Think I'm wrong here? Consider these from previous awards: Julia Wolff’s “Anthracite Fields” is about deaths of coal miners; Winton Marsalis’ “Blood on the Fields” is about slavery; and George Crumb’s startling anti-symphony “Echoes of Time and the River” – which caused a near riot in Seattle in the 1960’s – is about mortality in general. Even the purely instrumental works, such as those by Henry Threadgill or Elliot Carter, are edgy even though they aren't "about" anything.)

A disclaimer: In the case of “Damn”, the MUSIC itself is not shocking in any way; it’s well-composed hip-hop numbers with tunes and chord progressions straight out of jazz standards (and few samples or beat-boxes). There are beautiful backup vocals in tight harmony. In fact, much of the album is understated and often quite pretty – I can’t really imagine this music booming full-blast from the subwoofers of a souped-up car cruising the avenue on a Friday evening.

It’s the LYRICS that are startling. At first listen the words may seem like nothing but a collection of F-bombs and N-bombs. One is tempted to turn it off and comment that it’s no different from all of those other records where the swearing is merely passed from one rapper to another without anyone in the middle thinking about what’s actually being said. THAT IS NOT THE CASE HERE. First of all, not every song has the “swears”, and those that do have them for a reason: this is about the despair of the urban poor in the US, and the anger of one constantly exposed to bigotry and racism in subtle and not-so-subtle ways. As stated in “Yah” (the third song), even the Bible is (mis)quoted to support continued oppression (this along with the refrain “ain’t nobody prayin’ for me” which occurs in several of the songs). Most of the songs are narratives. In many, the “characters” in the stories care for one another even as they admit appalling situations and, sometimes, shortcomings. The song “loyalty” is about this. In a linguistic slight-of-hand, “loyalty” is often pronounced so it sounds like “laity” – the “regular” people in this case – or “larity”, maybe a coined word that could mean "the quality of being a lariat” and hence a trap (even loyalty could be a trap!).

In the end, this “takin’ a walk the other day” comes full circle. The blind woman in that first tale loses her life at the hands of someone trying to “help” her – and we (listeners) are left feeling guilty for being entertained by the nasty surprise. By the end of the record, we are left heartbroken that it may have been us (or our political institutions) who supplied that nasty surprise.

Apr 16, 2018

From article linked below: Kendrick Lamar Wins Pulitzer Prize for Music For "Damn"

Kendrick Lamar won the Pulitzer Prize in music for his album “Damn” ... He is the first nonclassical or jazz artist to win the award.

The award is given “for distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year,” according to the Pulitzer Prize Board.


ChiPubLib_Adults Apr 16, 2018

2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music

Mar 06, 2018

As many know, this album won rap album of the year at the Grammys in 2018. The thing is though, is that only around half the sound material is rap, Lamar fills his "music" with all sorts of random stuff. At times it is well placed, other times it is just weird. My favourite song on this album is "DNA".

Jan 30, 2018

Lets separate the artist and the music for one sec. Kendrick is incredible artist and yeah may be the best rapper currently alive. That being said this album is so subpar. Other than the stand out dark and lyric punching DNA and Duckworth all the songs fall flat. This album is very incohesive with the overall theme. Good Kid Madd City (his second project) and To Pimp a Butterfly (third project) had theme that were very implicit and explicit but it was a clear message to be found. DAMN does not have this so its quite confusing. So no overall theme and the songs don't really sound that good from lyrics to the producers beats. This is just a meh album. But a meh album for Kendrick is something a lot of rappers best could never be. If you haven't heard DAMN check it out and be the judge for yourself.

Jan 25, 2018

Kendrick Lamar is a rare talent. As someone who does not enjoy the majority of current mainstream hip hop, Kendrick is the exception for me. Each song feels uniquely crafted and shows much attention to detail. Each of his albums is a complete listening experience, rather than simply a compilation of random tracks pasted together. Common themes and sounds are repeated throughout the album making it one cohesive unit. His themes can be dark, and are not for those looking for a light, poppy listen. But, for fans of meaningful hip hop, I highly recommend this album.

Th3L1brar1an Sep 13, 2017

This album is worth the wait! Kendrick packed this album full of powerful political pieces and once again gives you all the feels while dropping some mad beats.

VaughanPLAlyssia May 25, 2017

Kendrick always feels like he’s doing things on another plane than his peers. Tons of people are making rap albums, but nobody seems to hit the same peaks as him. He consistently knocks it out of the park, and “Damn” is no exception. This album is more accessible than “To Pimp a Butterfly”, but that doesn’t diminish the artistry of it. “Humble” is the track most people will be familiar with (it’s hilarious to hear it censored on the radio), but “DNA” hits like a punch, and “Duckworth” is a masterpiece. We’ll see if this album has the staying power of “Good Kid, Mad City”.

May 18, 2017

DAMN by Kendrick Lamar was a very powerful album and I enjoyed it very much. Kendrick's rapping is so raw and he speaks on very powerful topics within this awesome album! His songs tell an actual story, unlike other rappers that have meaningless lyrics. This album has 14 tracks and I cannot say that I disliked any one of them! I think the most popular song on DAMN was Humble, as it was played on the radio almost every day and it was in the top ten countdown for a very long time. I think most people forget how talented rappers can actually be when there are people that get famous by only rapping about drugs or alcohol... There is definitely more to this genre of music and I think Kendrick Lamar demonstrated this within DAMN! I rate this album a 4/5. @Montgomery of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Kendrick Lamar's album Damn, is another masterpiece from Kendrick. When it comes to Kendrick Lamar you ether love his music or hate it. When it comes to most of his albums they aren't just songs but instead stories. The album is headlined by the songs DNA and HUMBLE but I feel that every song is very enjoyable. It could have been easy for Kendrick to slip when it came to making this album as some artists dont care as much after becoming successful but Kendrick instead put out one of his best albums yet. I rate the album 5/5 and more importantly hope Kendrick Lamar continues making great albums.
- @Storm17 of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar is his latest album. Firstly, Kendrick isn’t for everyone as he isn’t just about making hits. His music is very detailed and has stories. DAMN. represents this and is a very good album. It has 14 tracks on the album. Listening to this you have to actually listen to the words and the play on he does in his lyrics. It is a very enjoyable album, especially if you listen to it in order. The biggest stand out track is HUMBLE. which was released as a single before the album came out and it has became one of Kendrick's most popular songs to date. It has features with Rihanna on LOYALTY., Zacari on LOVE., and U2 on XXX. It starts off with BLOOD. which is a short intro of Kendrick “dying” in it and it goes to DNA. in which he addresses his haters and enemies. I honestly nearly liked every single song on the album. The best ones in my opinion are DNA, ELEMENT, FEEL, PRIDE, and LOVE. The only song I somewhat didn’t enjoy was YAH. If you are into lyrical rap this is a must.
- @sra1031 of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library

Damn is a widescreen masterpiece of rap, full of cool beats, furious rhymes, and incredible storytelling about Kendrick’s life in America. This album of course is by Kendrick Lamar, as this is his fourth studio album and clearly one of his top two so far. He is highly regarded as a top three rapper of the new generation of Hip Hop. The one thing that's always put Kendrick above others is his story telling ability in his music which is perfectly displayed in his most recent album DAMN. Some of the songs I highly recommend you listen to, whether you're a rap fan or not, are DNA, Humble, Blood and Element. These songs tell great stories and Kendrick's rhyming ability is off the charts as that is the other thing that Kendrick can do better than most artists in the new generation of Hip Hop. Overall I would give this album five out of five stars.
- @Rajo6 of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library

May 12, 2017

I don't know what the fuss over Lamar is all about. His music is either boring or obnoxious. I liked two songs on this album, but not enough to remember which ones, or to want to hear them again.


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Jul 12, 2017

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