What does the color red sound like?
Is it the slow screech of crimson lava slipping its way through the streets, or is it the subtle crack of a scarlet campfire on a November night? Is it ironic or serendipitous that the Mid-Manhattan Library decided to highjack my thought process while I was listening to Kendrick Lamar’s latest studio album for the first time, leaving me to contemplate what the cadence of a color sounds like for the past 36 hours? Damn.
Lamar’s DAMN. continues to paint the complex picture of what it means to be young, black, and gang affiliated in L.A. Supplied with the intricate production, Kendrick relentlessly beats against the consciousness of Conservative America. The willingness to place the emotional burdens of Black America’s youth in the national spotlight was strongly heard on To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), and continues with DAMN.
From the first gunshot that completes “BLOOD.” to the last blast that closes the curtain on albums final track, “DUCKWORTH.”, Lamar navigates the twists and turns of thirteen neck-snappin’ tracks with such ease that it’s hard to argue against his boastful declaration, as he discusses everything from child abuse to the appreciation of one’s own complexion.
DAMN. depicts the many tones of red, the many shades of Blood lifestyle, whether we wear the colors or not. The only question left for Lamar to answer is:
What are the different hues of blue?