Kendrick Lamar’s new album DAMN. is all fire, no brimstone.
Then again, perhaps Lamar was right that they would subtract from the whole. No matter, ultimately, because listening to Damn already leaves this listener, at least, wrung out, down to the soul. Once he pimped a butterfly, and now he’s pinned a nation of bees. Here, the realness is the artistry, and vice-versa, and it makes all his rivals seem like slouches by comparison. On every front, then, divine mission accomplished.