In a rap game that is currently built in large part on the concept of the "event," the latest has arrived in the form of Kendrick Lamar's latest LP. The kid from Compton that was crowned as a rap savior upon the release of his debut album, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, has reared his head again by unleashing his new album, DAMN.
Before the project dropped, K. Dot crushed the buildings with the timely loose cut, "The Heart Part 4," which got the rap rumor mill going due to what many perceived as veiled threats levied against the competition. Kendrick then doubled down with the single, "Humble.," and an equally impressive video. Debuting at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, the first song to achieve that feat since 2010, "Humble" was well-received, but also sparked controversy due to the video, which some critics deemed problematic and contradictory to the song's title.
However, "Humble" would only make fans salivate even more, especially when DAMN., which was originally billed to drop on April 7, was pushed back a week, giving fans and critics further time to contextualize what implications the album would have on the rapper's place in the pantheon on legendary MCs that have wowed the culture over the past few decades.
Well, now that DAMN. has been liberated, the buzz surrounding the album has only gotten stronger, with the hip-hop populus singing its praises and hailing it as another long player with classic written all over it. After digesting the album's 14 songs and dissecting the wizardry laid down by its cornrowed master of ceremonies, we've chosen 20 of the album's most noteworthy lyrics that are sure to resonate far beyond the album's release. Check out the best of DAMN. below.
"I was born like this, since one like this/Immaculate conception/I transform like this, perform like this, was Yeshua's new weapon/I don’t contemplate, I meditate, then off your fucking head/This that put-the-kids-to-bed/This that I got, I got, I got, I got"
"See, my pedigree most definitely don't tolerate the front/Shit I've been through prolly offend you/This is Paula’s oldest son/I know murder, conviction/Burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption/Scholars, fathers dead with kids/And I wish I was fed forgiveness"
"Sippin' from a Grammy and walkin' in the buildin'/Diamond in the ceilin', marble on the floors/Beach inside the window, peekin' out the window/Baby in the pool, godfather goals/Only Lord knows, I've been goin' hammer/Dodgin' paparazzi, freakin' through the cameras/Eat at Four Daughters, Brock wearin' sandals/Yoga on a Monday, stretchin' to Nirvana"
"Interviews wanna know my thoughts and opinions/Fox News wanna use my name for percentage/My latest muse is my niece, she worth livin'/See me on the TV and scream, 'That's Uncle Kendrick!'/Yeah, that's the business/Somebody tell Geraldo this nigga got some ambition/I'm not a politician, I'm not 'bout a religion/I'm a Israelite, don't call me Black no mo'/That word is only a color, it ain't facts no mo'"
"I'm willin' to die for this shit, I done cried for this shit/Might take a life for this shit, put the Bible down and go eye for an eye for this shit/D.O.T. my enemy, won't catch a vibe for this shit, ayy/I been stomped out in front of my mama/My daddy commissary made it to commas/Bitch, all my grandmas dead/So ain't nobody prayin' for me, I'm on your head, ay"
"Years in the makin', and don't y'all mistake it/I got 'em by a landslide, we talkin' about races/You know this'll never be a tie, just look at they laces/You know careers take off, just gotta be patient/Mr. One Through Five, that's the only logic/Fake my death, go to Cuba, that's the only option"
"I feel like friends been overrated/I feel like the family been fakin'/I feel like the feelings are changin'/Feel like my daughter compromised and jaded/Feel like you wanna scrutinize how I made it/Feel like I ain't feelin' you all/Feel like removin' myself, no feelings involved"
"I feel like debating 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/I ain't feelin' your presence/Feel like I'ma learn you a lesson"
"Look, I feel heartless, often off this/Feelin' of fallin', of fallin' apart with/Darkest hours, lost in/Fillin' the void of bein' employed with ballin'/Streets is talkin', fill in the blanks with coffins/Fill up the banks with dollars/Fill up the graves with fathers/Fill up the babies with bullshit/Internet blogs and pulpit, fill 'em with gossip/I feel like this gotta be the feelin' what 'Pac was"
"LOYALTY"Kendrick Lamar Featuring Rihanna
"Bad gyal RiRi now/Swerve, swerve, swerve, swerve, deeper now/On your pulse like a CD in/Gas in the bitch like it's premium/Haul ass on a bitch all in the fast lane/Been a bad bitch way before any cash came/I’m established, hundred carats on my name" - Rihanna
"Promises are broken and more resentment come alive/Race barriers make inferior of you and I/See, in a perfect world, I'll choose faith over riches/I'll choose work over bitches, I'll make schools out of prison/I'll take all the religions and put 'em all in one service/Just to tell 'em we ain't shit, but He's been perfect, world"
"Ayy, I remember syrup sandwiches and crime allowances/Finesse a nigga with some counterfeits/But now I’m countin' this parmesan where my accountant lives/In fact, I'm downin’ this/D'USSÉ with my boo bae tastes like Kool-Aid for the analysts"
"Wake up in the mornin' thinkin' 'bout money, kick your feet up/Watch you a comedy, take a shit, then roll some weed up/Go hit you a lick, go fuck on a bitch, don't go to work today/Cop you a fit or maybe some kicks and make it work today"
"Manager called, the lobby called, it's 11:30/Did this before, promised myself I'd be a hour early/Room full of clothes, bag full of money, call it loose change/Fumbled my jewelry, 100K, I lost a new chain/Hop on the bird, hit the next city for another M/Take me a nap and do it again"
"XXX."Kendrick Lamar Featuring U2
"Tell me what you do for love, loyalty and passion of/All the memories collected, moments you could never touch/I wait in front a niggas spot and watch him hit his block/I'll catch a nigga leavin' service if that's all I got/I'll chip a nigga then throw the blower in his lap/Walk myself to the court like, 'Bitch I did that'/Ain't no Black power when your baby killed by a coward/I can't even keep the peace, don't you fuck with one of ours" - Kendrick Lamar
"XXX."Kendrick Lamar Featuring U2
"Hail Mary, Jesus and Joseph/The great American flag is wrapped and dragged with explosives/Compulsive disorder, sons and daughters/Barricaded blocks and borders/Look what you taught us" - Kendrick Lamar
"XXX."Kendrick Lamar Featuring U2
"Donald Trump's in office, we lost Barack/And promised to never doubt him again/But is America honest or do we bask in sin?/Pass the gin, I mix it with American blood/Then bash him in/You crippin' or you married to blood?, I'll ask again/Oops—accident" - Kendrick Lamar
"I'll prolly die from one of these bats and blue badges/Body slammed on black and white paint, my bones snappin'/Or maybe die from panic or die from bein' too lax/Or die from waitin' on it, die 'cause I'm movin' too fast/I'll prolly die tryna buy weed at the apartments/I'll prolly die tryna diffuse two homies arguin'/I'll prolly die 'cause that's what you do when you're 17/All worries in a hurry, I wish I controlled things"
"At 27, my biggest fear was losin' it all/Scared to spend money, had me sleepin' from hall to hall/Scared to go back to Section 8 with my mama stressin'/30 shows a month and I still won't buy me no Lexus/What is an advisor somebody that's holdin' my checks?/Just to fuck me over and put my finances in debt?/I read a case about Rihanna's accountant and wondered/How did the bad girl feel when she looked at them numbers?"
"Twenty years later, them same strangers
You make 'em meet again/Inside recording studios where they reaping their benefits/Then you start reminding them 'bout that chicken incident/Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence/Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin' life/While I grew up without a father and die in a gunfight"