After over a month of teasing and a slight fake-out, Kendrick Lamar released DAMN. on Friday. Yes, that's about a week after he piqued our interest by closing off "The Heart Part Four" with "y'all got til April the seventh to get y'all sh*t together." The heart and Lamar's lyrics lied, but no worries. DAMN. is now here and available to stream over and over again. And while you're treating yourself to another full-length album, you'll start to hear a few shining Lamar lyrics that stand out from the pack.
Thematically DAMN. seems to deal with Lamar reconciling with two things: his identity as a black man, particularly in Donald Trump's America, and a conflict of spirituality. Lamar doesn't have anyone to pray for him anymore now that his grandmothers have passed on, and being caught up in the flashiness of the rap world, there's this real question of whether he's damned. Suffice to say, those are very, very specific, identity-centric problems. And there are some stand-out lines that smartly target Lamar's personal themes, and others that could be more broadly applied to anybody else.
Not sure what I mean? Well, keep reading for a sampling of some of the best lyrics off DAMN.
1"I Feel Like I'm Losin' My Focus, I Feel Like I'm Losin' My Patience, I Feel Like My Thoughts In The Basement" ("FEEL.")
Lamar feels this with probably a bit more intensity than the rest of us do, and yet "thoughts in the basement" is still an apt description of how I feel first thing in the morning, pre-coffee.
2"My Résumé Is Real Enough For Two Millenniums" ("LOYALTY.")
Open up with this at your next job interview, seriously.
3"I Feel Like Debated On Who The Greatest Can Stop It, I Am Legend, I Feel Like All Of Y'all Is Peasants, I Feel Like All Of Y'all Is Desperate, I Feel Like All It Take Is A Second To Feel Like Mike Jordan Whenever Holdin' A Real Mic" ("FEEL.")
Declaring yourself as the Michael Jordan of anything is a pretty ballsy move, but one that'll 110 percent shut your competitors down. Unless you're declaring yourself the Michael Jordan of basketball, in which case... I'm likely to not believe you on that.
4"Hell-Raising, Wheel-Chasing, New Worldly Possessions Flesh-Making, Spirit-Breaking, Which One Would You Lessen?" ("PRIDE.")
Do you want to live a glamorous earthly life, or focus on prepping for the afterlife? I think that's the issue at hand here.
5"So Give Me A Run For My Money, Sipping Bubbly, Feeling Lovely, Living Lovely" ("LOVE.")
"Sipping bubbly, feeling lovely, living lovely" is 400 percent going to end up on something millennial pink and I don't... know how I feel about that.
6"Hail Mary, Jesus, & Joseph, The Great American Flag Is Wrapped & Dragged With Explosives" ("XXX.")
Pretty solid commentary on the horrifying state of our country right now.
7"It Was Always Me Versus The World Until I Found It's Me Versus Me" ("DUCKWORTH.")
Doesn't it always turn out that way?
9"I Got Power, Poison, Pain, & Joy Inside My DNA, I Got Hustle Though, Ambition, Flow, Inside My DNA" ("DNA.")
Lamar has plenty of other things inside his DNA, these combos definitely sound the most pleasing.
10"This How It Is When You're In The Matrix Dodgin' Bullets, Reapin' What You Sow, & Stackin' Up The Footage, Livin' On The Go" ("DNA.")
Glad that Kendrick is keeping up with his whole Matrix motif.
11"I'm Always On Your Mind, I Put My Lyric & My Lifeline On The Line, & Ain't No Limit When I Might Shine, Might Grind" ("LOYALTY.")
Honestly this is a really great Tinder bio to set up your sense of self-worth from the get-go.
12"A Perfect World Is Never Perfect, Only Filled With Lies, Promises Are Broken, & More Resentment Come Alive" ("PRIDE.")
Try to remember this when you forget about your self-worth and consider going back to your ex.
Whatever the situation may be, DAMN. is a damn good album, so get to streaming.