In today’s very mainstream hip-pop culture we witness an onslaught of recording artists being just casually thrown into the category of hip-hop music due to their cultural influences, ethnic backgrounds, or race. Yet, as a musicical connoisseur, one particularly of the genre and culture of hip-hop; I find it extremely alarming that current chart-toppers such as Future, Migos and Drake are all considered to be in the genre of hip-hop; yet compared to sounds and cadences of the founders of hip-hop such as KRS1, Run DMC and even our contemporaries like OutKast and Academy Award winner Common, there is a stark contrast.
In terms of the foundation of hip-hop in reference to lyricism, production, subject matter and delivery it is fare to say that we are not a accustomed to the brilliance and creative expression of true hip-hop artists such as the savior Kendrick Lamar. The release of DAMN vividly showcases that Lamar is beyond his contemporaries simply based on the sheer fact that he doesn’t use high-profile producers or collaborations to bring unnecessary hype to the music; which inevitably falls short of what genuine hip-hop listeners hope to hear. Why is he the savior? Because Kendrick simply does what he wants but always stays true to the craft and art of hip-hop. “DAMN” provides hip-hop with the essential life-blood necessary to sustain the culture and inspire future aspiring lyricists to base themselves on the basics of hip-hop; originality, unique word-play and an actual story to tell that will provide guidance or refuge to those who hear it.
The current state of hip-hop is very clear; we have a majority running on a wave of temporary fads and what could be described as a popularity contest; and then we have the SAVIOR, who courageously shares his sharp lyrical ability in a detailed narrative of compelling vulnerability that illustrates the lives of so many who see them selves in his reflection. Kendrick Lamar has long been compared to the likes of J.Cole, Kanye West and the late Tupac Shakur; however, with his latest release Lamar has proved he’s not a god of the game but the game itself. Hip-hop, music, and all creative expressions should move people to action; Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN” album calls for us to recognize are vices and insecurities with meticulous detail and create something glorious out of our struggles. The LP showcases the true essence of hip-hop and will solidify the light for the future of the genre. Long Live the Savior!
If you haven’t done so yet, stream DAMN below.