“DAMN.” another dense masterpiece from Kendrick Lamar

There’s no way to unpack a Kendrick Lamar LP in one listen. From his major breakthrough “good kid, m.A.A.d city,” presented as a time-jumping short film, to his ambitious, eclectic follow-up “To Pimp a Butterfly” which garnered 11 Grammy nominations — one short of Michael Jackson’s record for “Thriller” — a Lamar record is guaranteed to come loaded with multi-narrative character arcs, history-spanning musical cues and some of the most stunning vocal acrobatics in hip-hop. Even last year’s comparably small TPAB companion piece “untitled unmastered.” was among the best rap releases of the year. It’s no surprise that Kendrick is...

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