Kendrick Lamar's fourth studio album DAMN., the follow-up to To Pimp a Butterfly (if you don't count mini-album untitled. unmastered.) is set to be released on 13/14 April (depending on your time zone).
Here's everything you need to know.
Update: It's dropped - First impressions review here
"The album is going live at 9pm Thurs PST everywhere," Apple told us, which means A will get the new record at 10pm on 13 April, New York at 1am on 14 April and London at 6am on 14 April.
DAMN. has been available for pre-order on iTunes for a while now, which means it'll also be on Apple Music right away. We understand it will also be on Spotify, but no word yet on Tidal.
Rihanna, U2 (a controversial choice) and LA rapper Zacari get 'feat.' credits on the respective songs 'LOYALTY.', 'XXX.' and 'LOVE.', but production notes also credit 9th Wonder, The Alchemist, Mike Will Made It, Sounwave, BADBADNOTGOOD and more. In a since-deleted tweet, Kaytranada suggested he provided vocals to the album.
“Already seeing a lot of discussion about the cover”, tweeted one of its designers Vlad Sepetov yesterday. “I’m really excited about it. It’s interesting to see people talk about ‘bad’ design. I’m incredibly proud of this cover. I sort of bucked a lot of what my teachers taught me. I wanted to make something loud and abrasive”.
“Maybe some won’t see that”, he continued. “But I’m glad that [Lamar’s manager] Dave [Free] and [Kendrick] saw the value in making something that didn’t fit the mould. Just given the bare bones we fleshed something out that has a lot of people talking. It’s not uber political like [the ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ artwork] but it has energy [in my opinion]."
6. LOYALTY. FT. RIHANNA.
11. XXX. FT. U2.
Kendrick Lamar's albums, ranked
Kendrick Lamar's albums, ranked
4th: Overly Dedicated (technically a mixtape, but the breakthrough one) - Tracks like 'Michael Jordan' and 'Alien Girl' felt a bit stock and Kendrick had yet to really find his voice and musical style, but you could see the potential there on this debut. P&P is still a banger, the use of samples is so effective in 'Opposites Attract' and on songs like 'Average Joe' he cut his teeth on recounting stories from his gangbanging days with a critical eye. "I don't do black music, I don't do white music, I do everyday life music." - prophetic.
3rd: Section.80 - Kendrick's storytelling really came into its own with this record, telling the stories of beaten girlfriends and prostitutes solicited by corrupt police. Bangers were plentiful ('A.D.H.D', 'Ronald Reagan Era', 'The Spiteful Chant'...) and K-Dot's interest in jazz started to blossom in songs like 'Rigamortus' and the incredible 'Ab-Souls Outro'. "I'm not on the outside looking in / I'm not on the inside looking out / I'm in the dead fuckin' centre, looking around"
2nd: To Pimp a Butterfly - The fact that this is one of the best albums of our generation and yet only Kendrick's second best album (imo) speaks volumes. An unbelievably well-orchestrated odyssey of a record that came as such a fresh and different proposition when we were all busy bumping dancefloor-orientated Drake tracks. 'Alright' became anthemic for the movement against police brutality, and 'u' gave us one of the most tearjerkingly personal insights into the human psyche ever committed to record. Masterful instrumentation pinned down by an intricate flow. I immediately wanted to hear it on vinyl and I don't even buy vinyl.
1st: good kid, m.A.A.d city - You could very legitimately argue that TPAB is Kendrick's finest album to date, but to me, GKMC is just absolute magic. It is such a cohesive record from start to finish, transporting you from wherever you are listening to the streets of Compton, a real 'day in the life'. I'm as rapt listening to 'The Art of Peer Pressure' as a child is to a ghost story, and 'Sing About Me, I'm Dying of Thirst' manages to completely enthrall for all of its 12 minutes. 'Backseat Freestyle', 'Money Trees', 'Swimming Pools' and 'm.A.A.d City' were all people were waiting for to come on at house parties that year, the pitch-shifting verse in the latter being a huge highlight for me. TPAB's politics was overt, but I like how subtly it was embedded in this record.