S. Carter & C. Harlan

Connor Harlan, Editor-in-Chief

The man with the highest batting average in hip-hop is coming back again with another full length record, we’ll call it “DANG.,” following his peerless 2015 release, “To Pimp a Butterfly.” TPAB is, in my opinion, the greatest record of the past two decades. I didn’t say the best hip-hop record, I said the best record in general. Start to finish, the record was an artful and breathtaking celebration of black pride, exorcising of self-doubt, and look into the dark reaches of commercial hip-hop and the “pimping” of the virtues of black artists. The record was unconventional for hip-hop, with frequent detours into the realm of soul, jazz, and spoken word. This was off-putting to those drawn to the commercial rap sound of “Good Kid, MAAD City” and even had me wondering what direction Kendrick would be heading in. Well, I’m pleased to report that the new direction of the record pretty much goes off without a hitch. Start to finish, “DANG.” is interesting and engaging, while reinforcing themes black power with a personal twist of insecurity straight from the mouth of Kendrick. From the album’s opening interlude, the vibe we receive seems intoxicating and low-key. There aren’t really any tracks on the record aside from the opener “DNA” where Kendrick is going hard, but almost every song has a strong flow from Lamar and the accessibility of his earlier records is reinstated, but with much stronger hooks. Tracks like “GOD.” and “HUMBLE.” are incredibly catchy and hard hitting, but the album also features wildly off kilter tracks like “LUST.” and “XXX.” featuring U2. Each track has different personal look at things like social issues and occurrences in Kendrick’s life since TPAB. It’s always interesting, and the narrative, while loose, ties up exquisitely at the end of the record with “Duckworth.” Track for track, “DANG.” is almost always fantastic, with the tracks “PRIDE.” and “LOVE.” being the only real duds. Kendrick took a few creative liberties here that simply didn’t play out. But throughout almost the whole album, this mood and experimentation is very engaging and impressive. “DANG.” is once again another high mark chalked up to Kendrick Lamar who continues to prove himself as the most creative and ingenious rapper doing it right now. I couldn’t ask for more from K-Dot, and I’m eagerly anticipating his next move as he dominates the world of hip-hop.