By Joshua St. Hill
When speaking on the rap game, nobody can finish the conversation without mentioning the name Kendrick Lamar. Section 80, Good Kid M.A.A.D City, and To Pimp a Butterfly — are all considered giants amongst the hip-hop world; the only question is can he top them again? To answer the question for all anticipating fans, yes he can. Changing the style up from his former jazzy counterparts on To Pimp a Butterfly and good kid m.A.A.d city, he’s giving us a grittier selection of beats followed with unsurprisingly legendary lyrics.
Kendrick has already showed us that this album is a strong contender for a Grammy for two reasons. He’s already topped the charts with his single Humble, making it the first rap single to do so since Eminem’s “Not Afraid”. The other reason is his newest edition in The Heart series. Starting several months before his release of the classic mixtape, Overly Dedicated, Kendrick gave us a 5 minute masterpiece of him speaking directly from his heart and conscience, showing the world that he was a young rapper with loads of potential. Soon after, part two was the opening of Overly Dedicated, preparing listeners for a look inside the young Compton rapper’s life. This can be easily recognized as a pattern. If Kendrick is speaking from the heart, the project is set to be phenomenal. Part 3 only backs this up, as he released it only days before good kid m.A.A.d city, a classic album within the ranks of Nas,Tupac, and The Notorious B.I.G. Now Kendrick has given us part 4, holding no punches on other rappers and giving fans the biggest tease of 2017.
The closing line of The Heart part 4, “Y’all got ‘till April the 7th to get y’all $h!t together” sent fans in a frenzy claiming the album would be given two weeks later. Instead Kendrick puts out the pre-release with no name and no cover-art, making us fans feel as if we were a child who just dropped his favorite ice cream cone on the street. Although, there was a silver lining within this cloud; April 14th was the official release date, and it was just one week away. A couple of days later the name and cover art were released to the world, but instead of something intellectual and brain picking, it was the most simple title Kendrick has given: Damn. The cover being a dazed looking Kendrick in front of a brick wall, fans scratched their head as they argued over what Kendrick was trying to say, but until the actual album is listened to, the answer is withheld.
Fans can pick up the latest release April 14th, followed with an album from TDE’s SZA, Schoolboy Q and Jay Rock; not only will this mark the year of Kendrick, but his fellow TDE members as well.