AOTY 2017
Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Critic Score
Based on 31 reviews
2017 Ratings: #1 / 653
Year End Rank: #1
User Score
2017 Ratings: #1
Your Review

CRITIC REVIEWS

100
The Guardian
Luscious harmonies and hints of psychedelic soul – plus guest support from Bono and Rihanna – couch brilliant, sharp-edged storytelling from an artist at the top of his game
100
Pretty Much Amazing

It’s the first album in Kendrick Lamar’s discography where tracks can more readily be taken individually. And yet, given the talent of the artist in question, and the producers he’s pulled in, this one is no less ambitious and rewarding than some of his previous entries.

100
NOW Magazine

Countless rappers claim to have transcended the game. Kendrick Lamar actually does. There’s the sense his ambitions on DAMN. are even larger, reaching toward something more universal, fateful even spiritual in its reach to find the link tying all contradictions together.

100
A.V. Club

As on its predecessors, Damn. is packed tight with thoughts, anxieties, and anecdotes, but this time Lamar doesn’t even try to shape them into a big picture ... Lamar trusts every idea to stand on its own. When you’re making art this substantial, vital, and virtuosic, there’s no need to wrap a tidy bow around it.

100
Entertainment Weekly

After delving into the personal on 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city and going broader on Butterfly, Lamar has found a middle ground on DAMN. that yields some of his most emotionally resonant music yet.

100
Tiny Mix Tapes

Three months in, DAMN. feels like our first Trump-era classic. It’s as bold and as hard and as hopeful as it is bursting with vitriol. It’s as distracting as it is inciting. It’s as cohesive as it is dense.

100
DIY
Kendrick Lamar rose to the top with his last album, and on ‘DAMN.’ he tries to rediscover himself while on this new perch, with spectacular results.
100
The Telegraph

DAMN revels in its own imperfections in ways that affirm Lamar’s place not just at the top of the hip hop heap right now but at the top of popular music. This is the work of a future all-time great in full command of his powers.

98
HipHopDX

In all, DAMN. makes baseless any claims that Kendrick Lamar isn’t an all-time great.

95
The 405

It may not be nearly as overtly political a record as his last entry, but the state of things seeps into every crisis-in-song-form to be found here. The confidence displayed is easily misleading; more than anything, this is a breakdown in the form of an album.

92
Pitchfork

DAMN. is a widescreen masterpiece of rap, full of expensive beats, furious rhymes, and peerless storytelling about Kendrick’s destiny in America.

91
Paste

With DAMN., Kendrick Lamar plays by the rules and then sets the rule book on fire, and continues one of the most impressive run of albums of any artist in recent memory.

91
Consequence of Sound

A sonic departure from the jazz inflected funk of To Pimp a Butterfly and the hyper-melodic, west coast revival feel of good kid, m.A.A.d city, DAMN. is much more concerned with trading groove for thump and concept for straight spitting. 

90
AllMusic
It contains some of Lamar's best writing and performances, revealing his evolving complexity and versatility as a soul-baring lyricist and dynamic rapper.
90
Loud and Quiet
After four albums, Kendrick is still spitting like he has something to prove. The effect is devastatingly raw.
90
Slant Magazine
Clocking in at under an hour, the new album maintains its predecessor's varied sonic palette with a mishmash of stark trap flourishes and woozy, impressionistic melodies but also distills these sounds to an ear-wormy directness primed for your car speakers.
90
Rolling Stone

If To Pimp a Butterfly was the best rap album in 2015, Damn. is the platonic ideal of the best rap album of 1995, a dazzling display of showy rhyme skills, consciousness-raising political screeds, self-examination and bass-crazy-kicking.

90
Crack Magazine

If his expansive, epic 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly was Kendrick’s grand statement, the realisation of iconic status and a comment on US racial tensions in the final days of Obama’s presidency, then DAMN. sees a continuation of the rapper’s politicised vision, as he stares down FOX News and the Trump administration with strength.

90
PopMatters

Kendrick Lamar is at his most belligerent, confident, strident on DAMN.. But also his most tender, hurt, thoughtful. He switches tone within songs, and from song to song.

90
Clash

’DAMN.’ does at times feel contradictory and the ideas he’s transmitting at times don’t feel fully formed, but this is where its genius lies. Kendrick offers a true snapshot of the eternal debates that we host inside our heads, and there is immense bravery and artistry in his depiction.

90
Drowned in Sound

Expectations were undoubtedly, and wholly justifiably, running at the highest level imaginable for Kendrick Lamar’s latest release ... So does DAMN. meet those expectations? Well yes – but by taking a surprising side-step rather than a pace forward in its artistic development.

90
Northern Transmissions

With so much detail in commentary, religious comparisons and self-reflection it is truly a record that is worth anyone’s time, especially those who barely listen to rap to begin with.

89
GIGsoup

DAMN. is a special piece of work. Although Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and To Pimp a Butterfly set Kendrick up as a sharp, sincere storyteller, it wasn’t until DAMN. that we were able to hear what happens when the lens was turned fully inward and onto himself.

82
Sputnikmusic

More accurate to say that, in an era where hip-hop feels defined by absurdly long durations and scores of filler, songs on DAMN. arrive, say what needs be said, and rarely ever let the beat ride out

80
Mojo

His confidence positively gleams across dexterous modern-day parables whose fierce reflections, anxieties and grievances jab but never jar and rarely miss their targets.

80
NME

The triumphant Compton MC might have cut down the number of tracks on his fourth studio album ... but the ideas, thoughts and feelings it contains are massive, weighty things, from sexual tension to deep, dark depression.

80
XXL

DAMN. may be Kendrick’s most commercially viable body of work to date and contains a number of breezy tunes that should keep him on the Billboard charts for the foreseeable future, but it is at its best when the rapper delves inward.

80
Under The Radar
This is a fearlessly bleak, yet subtly downcast album, and Lamar has thankfully attained the confidence and standing not to compromise that vision with party tracks, nor dilute it with swaths of guest stars. It's pure, direct, and bitterly spat. Just like the curse word that is its title.
80
The Skinny
The themes are familiar from earlier efforts – but this is more obviously an effort, a struggle.
70
The Needle Drop

DAMN. is one of Kendrick's most intriguing releases yet, delivering a series of tracks that are chaotic, layered, and deeply conflicted.

60
Exclaim!

DAMN. is the first time in Lamar's career that he hasn't broken new ground, explored old themes in new ways or exhibited sonic growth. That said, it's a small blemish on an otherwise spotless catalogue.

Apr 11, 2017
FearFlour
95
He was so sick and tired of the Photoshop so he used MS Paint for the cover.
Apr 14, 2017*
exception
83
Unlike Kendrick's last two albums, DAMN. does not have one central idea. TPAB was heavily focused on political and social issues, and GKMC was a concept album that told a story of being an adolescent boy growing up in Compton. And because of this lack of an idea or theme, I think that DAMN. is the perfect balance between the two projects.
There are introspective songs that move along slowly (FEAR.), bangers that retain Kendrick's lyrical excellence (DNA.), and unapologetically commercial ... read more
Apr 14, 2017
EMR
84
Kendrick Lamar's fourth studio LP sees the Compton emcee returning to the basics, embracing a much more straight-forward and noticeably much more accessible sound, while reducing the scope of his previous works. It feels redundant to point out 2015's TPAB's incredible ambition and clear artistic vision. Along with 2012's GKMC, that album will go down as one of the most popular and relevant hip-hop albums of all time - deservingly so. So the stakes were naturally high for another Kendrick Lamar ... read more
Apr 14, 2017
mymanicandl
90
AOTY
Apr 14, 2017*
DEEPSLEEP
68
I can't fake scores just cuz your ass is insecure

Old heads have ran out of excuses
Music is moving forward with or without you
Jump on the train now- in the future don't be that guy who didn't listen to

Kendrick Lamar
Track List
  1. BLOOD.
  2. DNA.
  3. YAH.
  4. ELEMENT.
  5. FEEL.
  6. LOYALTY. (feat. Rihanna)
  7. PRIDE.
  8. HUMBLE.
  9. LUST.
  10. LOVE. (feat. Zacari)
  11. XXX. (feat. U2)
  12. FEAR.
  13. GOD.
  14. DUCKWORTH.


Added on: April 6, 2017