Kendrick is very clever in creating a visual and bringing it to life via the music. I mean all his albums to bring the visuals sonically to life. It’s like his own way to get you into the music and he has done this for most of his albums.
Damn. Kendrick Lamar has dropped his fourth studio album on urban culture. The album is titled DAMN.
When I first heard of the name for the album I was like KDot is having fun with the music and urban culture. I mean he has done enough conscious music. He won urban culture hearts with Section 80, gave us whip music in Good Kid M.a.a.d City, went political and jazzy on HTPAB. And now DAMN is out.
You see the one way to decipher how an album will sound like is to pay attention to the album artwork. And Kendrick is very clever in creating a visual and bringing it to life via the music. I mean all his albums to bring the visuals sonically to life. It’s like his own way to get you into the music and he has done this for most of his albums.
Here is a brief timeline on how Kendrick Lamar uses artwork to allow you to listen to the music.
Section 80 Released In July 2, 2011
“The Juxtaposition Sounding Album”
Section 80 was a very very dope project. I mean looking at the cover you can see bullets, a weed pipe, “The Art of Seduction” by Robert Greene, magnum condoms and the Holy Bible. This artwork is a contrast and juxtaposition of note. Thats why the theme of Section 80 is a clash of all these worlds.
Good Kid M.a.a.d City Released October 22 , 2012
“The Innocent Album”
Good Kid M.a.a.d City, has to go down as the most dynamic and personal albums from Kendrick Lamar. In this album he did not hold anything back from his pen game. His artwork also helped educate people on how to listen to the album. The album artwork is a family affair. The creative device of covering everyones eyes except his is a dead give away on the narrative Kendrick was trying to paint here. So smart.
“Two [of the men] are my uncles, to the far right, it’s my grandpa, and a baby bottle, next to a 40 oz, next to a gang sign, holdin’ a kid. “If you look in the background, you see a picture on the wall, and the picture is me and my pops,” Kendrick added. “And the eyes blacked out, that’s for my own personal reasons, you’ll probably hear about that on the album. That photo says so much about my life, and about how I was raised in Compton, and the things I’ve seen, just through them innocent eyes. You don’t see nobody else’s eyes, but you see my eyes are innocent, and tryna figure out what is goin’ on.” – Kendrick Lamar
To Pimp A Butterfly Released March 16, 2015
“Only God can judge these individuals right here. Not no one with a gavel handing out football numbers of years and not giving these kids a chance at life. Every n—- is a star.” – Kendrick Lamar
Prolly one of the more politically motivated narratives from K.Dot. When this album dropped we all became woke but quickly searched for banging club anthems that we could turn up to.
We all loved the thuggery in this artwork. That bold x no care x 40 drinking x topless attitude turnt in front of the white house.
The one interesting scooby snack which brings to life the fact that Kendrick Lamar uses his albums to shape the music is a story about the men in the artwork. The homies in the picture who are chilling and pushing that good good are Kendrick’s friends from Compton which he rapped about in Good Kid M.a.a.d City.
“This album is more about deciding what you’re gonna do with your fame and your fortune. [Is it] for negative or for positive reasons? When you look at the first half of the album, it’s really me trying to figure it out, y’know? [I’m being] flamboyant, boastin’, being vengeful in certain places.Then going down that line of saying, ‘OK, I can do something better with it.’ So I don’t think it only resonates with blacks, but with people all around the world, man, that can respect the idea of going through a journey or a rebellion, and figuring it out.” – Kendrick Lamar
Damn, 14 April 2017
And then there is DAMN.
This is the first album where Kendrick stands alone. It is the first album where there are no props. He is not pushing a family, Compton, Gang Banging message. He is simply saying nothing.
The beauty of this artwork is that it says nothing. It is open to your interpretation but the minimal approach is what will make people love the artwork even more.
It’s as if Kendrick is finally having fun with the music and not being so serious. Maybe he wants to target a new audience? Maybe he is playing the social and digital game because many people will be creating memes from his album title.