Damn

Damn

Streaming Music - 2017
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Publisher: [United States] : Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermath Records/ Interscope Records, 2017
Branch Call Number: eMusic hoopla
Characteristics: 1 online resource (1 audio file (55 min.)) : digital
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davehasabeard Feb 28, 2019

Wow...Just Wow...

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scribby
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.

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runningwsquids
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.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kendrick-lamar-wins-pulitzer-prize-in-music-for-damn_us_5ad4f58de4b0edca2cbcc382

ChiPubLib_Adults Apr 16, 2018

2018 Pulitzer Prize Winner for Music

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Smeagol_precious
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".

d
Deebo574
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.

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sameyeiz
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.

a
Afzal_
Jul 12, 2017

Another masterpiece created by KDot. Fans of the Hip-Hop and Rap culture will love this album.

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”.

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Smeagol_precious
Mar 06, 2018

Smeagol_precious thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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red_snake_958
Dec 05, 2017

red_snake_958 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

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Marcus_M
Jul 12, 2017

"What happens on Earth, stays on Earth!"

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