Kendrick Lamar - DAMN.
Apr 17, 2017 (updated Apr 18, 2017)
I don't like hip-hop, I didn't plan to listen it (exception was for TBAP concept). But when I read that it's easy to listen it even if you're not a big fan of hip hop or introspection's work is so fabulous, I was curious ...

First, I don't see the astonishing production. I mean ... the flaw and beats aren't really "new" or incredible. It can have subtility but I don't hear it and it's not a good sign because I'm the type of listeners who like subtility.

Second, I don't really find a consistant album but much more a sort of mix tape. Even the themes aren't well structured (A good example are the 3 first tracks. Where's the link between them ? With the entire album ?). In a lot of tracks, he just seems to complain (sometimes with vulgarity, which I dislike) ... and that's all. What I've to do with that ? I don't know.

Maybe I'm just biased by my dislike of Hip-Hop genre but the hype is really too high and some reviews in internet complety hide/forget some aspects of the album or just tell enormous bullshit because of a huge pleasure.
Apr 18, 2017
I feel the same way. Maybe It's getting overrated cause it's Kendrick
Apr 19, 2017
Yeah it's clearly possible, in addition to the introspective work. Even if I don't find it really consistent/cohesive, it could impacts some listeners.

I'm definitely more into the new Shamir album for example (musically and conceptually).
Apr 22, 2017
With all due respect I think you should've stopped typing after "I don't like hip-hop". Listening to a rap album and complaining about vulgarity is like listening to a rock album and complaining about there being too many guitar sounds.

To comment on your remark about the production on the album (again, I have to take it with a grain of salt considering your dislike for hip hop), well, you're entitled to your opinion. I do however wonder what is astonishing to you.

Apr 22, 2017
Regarding the beats not sounding "new" - I strongly disagree but even if they weren't nobody said Kendrick has to be rap's innovator and present new, groundbreaking ideas on each of his albums.
Apr 22, 2017
As far as your mentioned inconsistency, well, the album doesn't always have to be a concept album to be a good album. That said, DAMN. does have a theme, the duality of obeying God and being blessed, or disobeying him and being Damned—giving into “wickedness” or admitting your “weaknesses” and submitting yourself to God.
Apr 22, 2017
At the end of the song DUCKWORTH., when the album rewinds, it signals a twist in the story. If you play the album from BLOOD. to DUCKWORTH. it tells a story of Kendrick overcoming his wickedness (hence why the first half is mostly braggadocios) and going into his weakness (the second half). But if you play the album in reverse, from DUCKWORTH. to BLOOD., it starts with his weakness, as he becomes more wicked. HUMBLE. is always in the middle, therefore it’s the turning point of the story.
Apr 22, 2017
Playing it from BLOOD. to DUCKWORTH. tells the story of Kendrick overcoming his wickedness, and the dichotomy between wickedness and weakness, good and bad, but if you play it in reverse it tells an alternate tale of what Kendrick would have become if Top Dawg did actually kill Kendrick’s father Ducky, and how Kendrick would have become another hustler and died on the streets. The album begins and ends the same to signal this twist in the narrative.
Apr 22, 2017
Thanks you for your no-agressive point of view.
Some points that you say are directly or indirectly connected with my last paragraph.

1. Even if I don't like Hip-Hop, I'm always curious. I'm not really confined in genres (For example, I don't like metal in general but I found albums that I enjoy). I've a point of view of a person who doesn't like this genre in general. (for rocks with too many guitars, sometime it can be a problem if it predominates too much in other aspects to the point
Apr 22, 2017
that it can be inaudible

2. There's no necessary to be new but sometimes it could be a problem if you're sticked too much to a more simple palette of sounds. I find this problem during listenings.

3. 4. 5. You say that an album doesn't need to have a concept but in 3 commentaries you describe the story and structure of the album ... DAMN. has a concept because it developpes few themes that you directly or indirectly described. Inconsistency is used here because the tracks aren't sticked
Apr 22, 2017
really well and the album consists more at a accumalation of anecdotes/past stories and politicals issues. The problem I reproach to DAMN. is the accumulation of the problems I found during the entire listening, not really the problems alone.

I prefered to be really honest in this review. I'm aware that my opinion doesn't have the weight of a specialistic opinion in hip hop but as a different point of view, it could be more interesting to temperate some reviews
Apr 23, 2017
I thought your review was fairly credible. Just out of interest, what hip-hop albums do you enjoy a lot?
Apr 23, 2017
There aren't a lot, but I really appreciate albums with different influences or alternative albums with a few hip-hop influence. My favourite is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (I was pretty suprised that some sites classified it "major Hip-hop with RnB influences" because it's mostly RnB, I think. But it's not important). I also like Telefone by Noname, The Roots - Things fall apart, Kala - M.I.A (I also like Arular), (a little) DJ Shadow - Endtroducing ... I think Erykah Badu, more recently
Apr 23, 2017
Xénia Rubinos, ... have good vibes with Hip-Hop influences which I really like (even if they are more alternative than Hip-Hop). As I wrote, TPAB interested mostly because of lyrics/concept/issues. But in general, "pure" hip-hop albums don't sonically interest me.
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