What Went Wrong With… DAMN. & The Continued Overrating Of Kendrick Lamar?

A review of Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. by What Went Wrong Or Right With...? for

Everybody’s favourite overrated rapper is back with his fourth studio album and at this point Kendrick Lamar can do no wrong, at least in his fans’ eyes. Even at the mere glimpse of some artwork or a “leaked” track, Lamar’s minions flood Twitter with a barrage of praise …“Kendrick is the G.O.A.T”“Kendrick dropped some bars”… (insert goat or fire or 100 points emoji here… 🐐🔥💯). To anyone who doesn’t play into this hype, this kind of adulation can look ridiculous, almost like mass hysteria – it’s like these people have never heard Hip-Hop with a message before (albeit a hollow message). This is what happens when contemporary Hip-Hop becomes littered with twerps like Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert, of course you’re gonna love Kendrick Lamar if Mumble Rap is your only other source of rap music, but that kind of comparison only serves to bolster this mythic sense of godliness that surrounds Kendrick Lamar, an accolade and attribute that is largely undeserved.

If you don’t know, Kendrick’s second album ‘good kid, m.A.A.d city’ was taught as part of an English class in Georgia Regents University and his third album ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ was canonised at Harvard University Library (I hope Producer and Harvard Fellow 9th Wonder added ‘Soul On Ice’, ‘Let’s Get Free’, and ‘Revolutionary Vol. 2’ to the library too, otherwise he’s a mainstream fake like everybody else). My point is that the mainstream media and the public at large have acted for years like the sun shines out of Kendrick Lamar’s arse, like everything he makes is flawless, I mean c’mon, his first two albums were decent enough (although his second contained some Poppy crap like ‘Swimming Pools’ and ‘Poetic Justice’), his third album was a complete mess, but they were all overrated nevertheless, and his latest, well I’ll get to that in a moment.

If you turn on the radio or TV and hear Drake or Taylor Swift umpteen times a day, of course Lamar is going to blow your tiny mind but the incessant overrating and flattery aimed at Kendrick only comes from people who either listen to Pop, missed Hip-Hop’s golden era entirely, or whose idea of Hip-Hop is the likes of Migos and Lil Yachty (or all of the above). So while people who listen to Zara Larsson or Anne-Marie keep describing everything Kendrick releases as “fiyah” or “fuego” on social media, the rest of us know it really isn’t. Lamar’s label Aftermath/Interscope is playing the public like they always do, they push overrated MCs onto people who have no real knowledge of Hip-Hop so everything looks and sounds unique to them. To underground heads this shit doesn’t wash, it only takes a quick listen to something like ‘Makin’ Enemies’ by K-Rino to realise Kendrick Lemar’s flow, delivery, and content is radio-friendly, watered-down, overground, overrated Hip-Pop…

Mainstream, studio-backed albums 90% of the time follow a carefully crafted plan to attain recognition, fame, and longevity; the first LP showcases a new artist’s credibility (Section.80), the second crosses over with hints of credibility and maturity (Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City), the third denounces the previous crossing over and affirms its credibility once again, all-the-while “experimenting” with “new” sounds (To Pimp A Butterfly). From that point onward if you have the media on your side and a major studio behind you, you can do what the fuck you want, you can apparently even piss about in the studio letting kids play on instruments and the doormats in the upper-middle-class mainstream critic brigade will tout your bronze shit as gold (Untitled Unmastered). So at this point Lamar could release an album of armpit farts and the public will buy it, thankfully his latest album ‘DAMN.’ isn’t that bad. The problem for me (someone who doesn’t crawl up Kendrick Lamar’s arse every two seconds) is that this is an average, somewhat lacklustre release, but I guess I’m going to be one of the few saying this.

‘DAMN.’ is no classic, far from it, it’s more like a mixtape masquerading as an album, as though a couple of new songs have been combined with a few left-over tracks lying around in the studio. The tracklist seems like a jumble with songs placed in random order resulting in a jumping between moods. The slower songs for example, such as ‘YAH.’ and ‘FEEL.’ should not have a song between them and instead should be closer to the song ‘PRIDE.’. The confused grouping gives this LP a sense of disorientation and disarray, the album jumps all over the place, changing its tempo from slow to fast and switching genres from Trap to Soul.

There are two or three decent songs which prop up the weaker ones. ‘DNA.’ and ‘HUMBLE.’ are examples of this, the production is still hackneyed but these tracks are somewhat enjoyable and re-playable (but they both end too fast for my liking). ‘FEAR.’ and ‘DUCKWORTH.’ are two more half-decent songs, they’re not brilliant, they won’t be held in the pantheon of classic Hip-Hop songs but in ‘DAMN.’ they do stand out (‘FEAR.’ is only memorable if you ignore the many other examples of mesodiplosis in Hip-Hop).

On the topic of Damn’s better songs, when ‘HUMBLE.’ dropped, Lamar’s lyrics were rightly criticised for being patronising and misogynistic and I’ll add to that. The line “I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop, show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor. Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks…” ends with the little addition of “…still will take you down right on your mama’s couch”, however the word “still” denotes a negative opinion of so-called “natural ass” therefore nullifying the entire sentiment. So despite a woman having stretch marks, Kendrick Lamar will “still” fuck them, was he expecting congratulations for that bullshit?

There’s lots of mediocrity and radio-friendly dross on this LP. Songs like the easy-listening, radio-fodder ‘LOVE.’ sounds like some Pop producer is channelling Cam’Ron’s ‘Oh Boy’ (it’s produced by Greg Kurstin who worked with the shite Ellie Goulding so that’s not a bad description). The Rihanna track ‘LOYALTY.’ is out-and-out Pop garbage (typical of Robyn Fenty I guess) and Lamar’s opening verse on this song sounds like he’s rapping with a clothes peg on his nose. There’s also the the crappy ‘GOD.’ with its contrived Trap flow and lame chorus and there’s a trash chorus in ‘ELEMENT.’ too (and Lamar bites a bit of Juvenile in one of the verses). For ‘XXX.’ (which sounds like two songs welded together) Kendrick Lamar seems to have dragged in U2 for singing duties like A$AP Rocky did with Rod Stewart for his second album – bringing in old, past-it, white singers will always appeal to mainstream critics I guess. All this forgettable and throwaway “filler” unfortunately takes over this album, and that’s not the only thing wrong with ‘DAMN.’.

Production-wise, this release doesn’t contain anything memorable, the overall sound is nothing to write home about. For me the production is the worst element of the album, in fact some tracks are so amateur, they sound like someone pressed the “demo” button on a drum machine and just let Kendrick rap over it. There’s also the strange concept of making this release sound like a mixtape with DJ shoutouts and abandoned and then repeated verses… “new shit!”“new Kung Fu Kenny!”… please no.

This is Good Friday and it’s Easter on Sunday so to Kendrick, someone who many people seem to think is Hip-Hop’s second coming, it’s probably apt to release something that will be celebrated by many even though they’re Hip-Hop non-believers. For someone who likes to preach to the masses like a doorstep Jehovah, unfortunately ‘DAMN.’ is the equivalent of some free magazine that Jehovah’s Witnesses push through your letterbox. This is a mixtape at best, something if you listen to on Spotify will net the artist and studio around $0.006 rather than $9.99 on iTunes. For this piece of work the previous figure rather than the latter sums up the worth of ‘DAMN.’ – well under a cent.

Now of course, there are theories online that a second album will be released on Easter Sunday/Monday and this is just a taster for something better. Well if that’s true, it would explain the overall mediocrity of this release, in addition rappers usually release a mixtape to wet the appetite for a full-blown album. But if this theory is just some fans’ wet dream and a second, better album doesn’t surface on Monday, ‘DAMN.’ remains another disappointing album for Kendrick – that’s now three in a row.

With the DJBooth review for this album reading “DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! DAMN! I’m at a complete and utter lost [sic] for words” (I assume he/she means “loss for words”) you know the overrating is set to continue. Misspelling aside, a review that ends with this paragraph…

“Kendrick delivered. He gave us a rap album unlike anything he’s ever created and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. By now this is what we should expect from the King. He is a king and the crown on his head is immovable.”

…it goes to show that the first page of a Google search will only offer you a mainstream view of things. That first page, the holy grail of search results will try to convince you up is down, left is right, and that ‘DAMN.’ is a classic, but sane, free-thinkers know this is bullshit especially when praise is coming from all sides. Only some tween raised on Disney will be saying “Damn!” when they hear this album (in a valley girl accent no doubt) everybody else will hear what I hear; a mishmash of Hip-Hop, Soul, and Pop cobbled together hastily with a sense of mixtape amateurishness. But I guess the truth will have a hard time getting through all the bullshit praise.

All that being said, this isn’t the worst album out right now, it isn’t even the worst Kendrick Lamar album, but it has to be pointed out (again and again if necessary) that Lamar isn’t the only one releasing credible Hip-Hop – both Joey Bada$$ and Your Old Droog dropped better albums in the last few months and both LPs despite their many flaws are more well rounded and contain more satisfying songs. But it seems that Ken Duckworth, whose name sounds like some reject Coronation Street character, will rise to the top because of all the corrupt mainstream praise he garners. He’ll continue to be called “the king” and “the greatest” even though he hasn’t come close to matching those that have come before. These days everyone bandies the term “G.O.A.T.” about but these fools seem to be people who don’t listen to Hip-Hop, if they did, they’d acknowledge that “the greatest of all time” really does mean “all time”. Kendrick Lamar hasn’t come close to overthrowing the best of the best from ’87-’97 and if he can’t dethrone the golden era greats then it’s impossible for him to be the frigging G.O.A.T.


56 replies »

  1. Great review – 100% agree. Humble is a great track but most of the rest of the album is hugely disappointing – particularly the production which I’m not digging at all.
    It’s a shame, I had high hopes for this one.

  2. I can’t understand it . I’ve never been impressed by Kendrick Lamar . Lyrically he is slightly below average for rappers his age (pushing 30) . Andy Mineo is a popular Christian rapper who has a slick style (both in production and in lyrics) like Lamar but is much better lyrically and has much better content (on both his faith-based and secular material) . Mineo doesn’t have the money or hype behind him . Or the pop-star appeal .

    To compare Kendrick to the greatest rappers from 1979 to 1999 is not feasible . To compare Kendrick to today’s best underground rappers isn’t feasible , either . You can’t compare K-Rino , Ras Kass , Vinnie Paz or Apathy to Kendrick .

    It’s troubling to see younger guys with talent like Westside Gunn and Conway The Machine sign with Eminem . Now they will be featured on tracks by all the overrated Shady/Aftermath/T.D.E. artists .

    • Yeah, I enjoyed listening to Westside Gunn/Conway during FLYGOD’s release but signing with Eminem was the wrong move. Shady Records has never done much for their artists in terms of exposure and profitability other than to boost Eminem’s own credibility and I doubt the label will help promote Hall N’ Nash to the masses. Just like M.O.P. and Mobb Deep signing with G-Unit Records, established or semi-established acts never really benefit from coming under the control of a crossover rapper. Either sign directly with a major or stay independent possibly with a major distribution deal.

    • Andy Mineo isn’t even remotely as good a lyricist as Kendrick Lamar. Andy has basic, pitty-patty bars.

  3. I really enjoyed this album. Damn is a huge improvement over To Pimp A Butterfly. Sonically, it is much more consistent and well-structured. Most of the beats were good and while they have a mix of Jazz, Soul, and Trap, Damn is less over the place like the last album. Kendrick Lamar is putting on some nice flows on DNA, Feel, Humble. Lust, Pride, and Fear are personal songs that you could relate to. Duckworth features good storytelling. Don’t get me wrong, the album does have flaws. The beat-switches can be overbearing and annoying like in XXX. Element and Loyality are okay but forgettable. YAH is the musical equivalent of a sleeping pill. God and Love are straight garbage. There was unnecessary intro track Blood. But other than that, Damn is an enjoyable album.

    Let’s get to the real business! Kendrick Lamar is NOT the greatest rapper of all time. No chance in hell! When it comes to pure lyricism, K Rino and Ras Kass will mop the floor with Lamar. When it comes to flow and delivery, Kendrick does not come close to a rapper like Tonedeff or Notorious BIG. When making great albums, Kendrick Lamar is no Tupac or KRS-One. Kendrick Lamar is a good rapper that can spit, but I have yet to see Kendrick really prove himself to be one of the greats.

    Speaking of Humble, why is there outrage over throwaway lines?

    • DAMN. is definitely better than To Pimp A Butterfly, like I said there’s around four songs I would play again but for me the album has no real consistency or a sense of flow from beginning to end. There’s also no concept, maybe deadly sins (LUST. PRIDE. etc but that gets abandoned) and why the mixtape vibe?

      On the topic of “HUMBLE.” this was one of the few times that I actually heard people say anything against Kendrick, it might have been an overreaction but I’m glad that (some) people are de-constructing his rhymes rather than blindly following him (and in turn labelling him “the king” like many publications have and still do). The problem with the public is they’ve never heard of Tonedeff or K-Rino so they stay in this weird “he’s the greatest” mode oblivious to the better rappers out there.

    • Sonically, it is much more consistent and well-structured. Most of the beats were good and while they have a mix of Jazz, Soul, and Trap

      This is a very strange statement to me — I didn’t really hear much jazz and soul (or trap) in that album, it was 90% pop garbage, and in many of the songs it is difficult to even talk about a beat, let alone it being good…

      Kendrick Lamar is putting on some nice flows

      This is an even stranger statement — my biggest problem with Kendrick has always been that he doesn’t really have a good flow. Yes, there are examples of rappers being off-beat on purpose and doing it well, Kool Keith for example, but Kendrick is not one of them. And this is a very underappreciated difference between the golden years of the 90s and now — the nice varied flows of the 90s have disappeared, even among the artists who still have some meaning in their lyrics, and have been replaced with something more akin to spoken word.

      And the glorification of Kendrick is a perfect illustration of how deep the rot has set with respect to that aspect of hip-hop — nobody who has such a boring flow has any right to be in the GOAT discussion…

  4. I agree. I really don ‘t get all the perfect reviews — The Guardian 5/5 — The Telegraph 5/5 — are they listening to the same thing as me because I sure as shit don ‘t hear perfection??? Whether or not ‘ Nation ‘ comes out this album is not what the media makes it out to be. This isn ‘t Miles Davis ‘ Kind of Blue ‘ level music man , there ‘s at least 6 or 7 average songs on ‘ Damn ‘ nowhere near a flawless release.

  5. There go the MSM making something out to be better than it actually is.No surprise there……..
    Profits over prophets

    • Speaking about the mainstream media its f’d up that they never say anything against him even when he says or does dumb things.

      I stopped respecting K Dot when he defended Iggy Azalea

      – –

      “She’s doing her thing,” “Let her. People have to go through trials and tribulations to get where they at. Do your thing, continue to rock it, because obviously God wants you here.”

      – –

      The Iggy situation wasn’t just about cultural appropriation she was a racist but he stuck up for her but what was weird is that the media never gave him shit about it. Its like he never gets any heat from anybody for anything he does.

      Its funny to me that K Jenner and Pepsi get so much criticism for their ad but Kendrick gets none for his Reebok commercial. What’s the difference???

      Here’s one article that broke it down

      – –

      – –

      He definitely has the media on his side.

    • I’m interested to hear your opinion on some other rappers, I agree with everything you said about Kendrick, but what is your opinion on Logic? I can’t listen to the new Logic, but the old Young Broke and Infamous, Undeniable, Welcome to Forever and even his first album Under Pressure seemed legit to me, but I want to hear your opinion.

    • I’m gonna be honest with you, I’ve never listened to a lot of Logic’s music, I don’t own any of his albums, I know him more for harping on about being mixed race (Everybody/AfricAryan) than anything else.

      Just took a quick listen to his music ’cause you asked; Under Pressure was decent, don’t like his Hip-Pop stuff like Buried Alive, even though his flow was above average. Bobby Tarantino album is much more commercial, didn’t appeal at all. Bobby Tarantino II was just as bad; Trap beats, autotune, if I was his fan I think these albums would piss me off. Maybe the Rick And Morty thing got him gassed to make radio-friendly/mainstream shit.

  6. This is simply a case of not recognizing greatness before us. 1 stop using soundcloud and underground rappers as a comparison. There is a reason they arent in the mainstream, and kendrick is. 2 name another artist that has a better track album than kendrick 4 albums deep. Yet he gets the same positive critiques on his albums kinda like he actually tries to get better.

    Finally as a lover of rap and hip hop, Damn is the embodiment of hip hop. If you truly know hip hop then you know its made up of the emcee, the Dj, the style, the message. Kendricks style is normally boring, but never has kendrick been pushed by producers or featured artists like this album. Weed heads can blaze from blood to duckworth, the club can bump element loyalty humble and dna, the old school gave props for him going juvenile on element telling a deep story on fear and duck worth. You catch my drift his music is for those in between fans. Not perennial haters like yourself or normal fans, hes getting the southern listeners the west coast mainstream only people, the casual drake fans, the east coast listeners, the J. Cole fans, the nice beat fans, the did you hear that fans.

    Other than drake no other rapper in the past 4 years has put together samples, an instrumental lyrics, a theme, and kept a constant message throught out the album. You can hate on dude and no hes not the greatest rapper alive. Just stop hating on dude for attention. Hes our only bright spot in an era of edm/trap rap, mumble rap, egotistical DJ/Producers.

    Think lebron everybody hates lebron now but pretty soon you will respect his legacy, or you will lie and tell your kids i remember how good lebron was back in the day. Stop acting like old ass haters

    • Let me break this shit down for you, son:

      1. Don’t you know that the most contrived response to an opinion you don’t like is to label it “hate” or to call someone a “hater”? To dismiss a point of view that doesn’t gel with yours as mere “hate” is the most clichéd comeback of all time. Maybe read this article for more information on your condition.

      2. I mentioned K-Rino, Joey Bada$$, and Your Old Droog in the article. One of the commenters then mentioned Tonedeff. These aren’t “soundcloud rappers” – K-Rino is a veteran and one of the all time greats, Joey Bada$$ is crossing over into the mainstream pretty well, Your Old Droog is an up-and-coming rapper with skill, and Tonedeff has one of the best flows/deliveries in the business. So that being the case…

      3. What pray tell is the “reason” that these rappers aren’t in the mainstream? Is it their superior skill or their tremendous talent? There a many rappers in the underground that don’t deserve to be there but for reasons too long to get into here, they’re unsigned or under-promoted. But someone like you doesn’t get to shit on them just because magazines, radio, and television refuse to plug them like your favourite overground artists. On addition, if you’re so against “hate” and “haters” why hate on underground rappers?

      4. You don’t get to pick and choose certain artists for a comparison, selecting garbage MCs to compare with Kendrick is only done to inflate Lamar’s worth. Yes Mumble Rap is trash, I wrote a whole article about it, but like I said in this review, comparing Kendrick to someone like Kodak Black isn’t a fair comparison – anybody standing next to that dude looks and sounds like the greatest rapper of all time. It was for this reason that I mentioned two albums released this year that were underrated and arguably better, but according to you they’re too “underground” to be compared with Kendrick’s album, how does that make any fucking sense?

      5. If you truly know your shit, the elements of Hip-Hop are B-Boying, MC-ing, Graffiti, DJ-ing, (Beatboxing), Knowledge, Culture, and Overstanding. Some of these might be outdated in contemporary rap music but Kendrick possesses what, like two of these? How is that the “embodiment of Hip-Hop”?

      6. That “other than Drake” line made me laugh, you really need to listen to more Hip-Hop, I thought you were a “lover” of the genre?

      7. You need to read your stuff before you post that shit, things like “an instrumental lyrics” makes no sense (unless you think it does, which explains why you like Lamar’s lyrics so much). Seriously though, re-read your reply… “Yet he gets the same positive critiques on his albums kinda like he actually tries to get better” …what the flying fuck stick?

      8. Keep trying that “hating for attention” and “perennial hater” bullshit when I have an entire site dedicated to praising and celebrating art and artists…

      9. If this review was only here “to get attention” why the fuck did you give me so much of yours? Just dismiss it as “hate” and move on like you contrived door-mats usually do. Or did it hit a nerve?

      10. You don’t start your second paragraph with “Finally” when you’re leaving a comment containing four paragraphs, that’s obviously not “final” is it?

      11. DAMN. is not a flawless album but like one of the commenters said above, many publications gave this album a perfect score. Perfection is rare and this isn’t it – there’s 4 songs that stand out (some could say 6 or more) but the entire album is far from being worthy of a perfect 5 or a perfect 10. That being the case, DAMN. is the definition of overrated, hence the frigging article.

      12. So far, this article has had one and a half thousand hits (not many but enough in a week to gage people’s opinion). Out of all the search terms only one was pro-Kendrick (kendrick lamar can do no wrong) every other was anti-Kendrick (kendrick lamar damn is overrated, damn album by kendrick lamar is overhyped, kendrick lamar is overrated etc.). That for me is enough evidence that people feel the same way I do about this album. Music is subjective and you have to accept that a section of society feels differently to you about an album or song. There is clear evidence here and on social media that there’s a segment of Hip-Hop fans who don’t feel the praise is warranted for this and Kendrick’s previous album.

      13. You do realise that this site is here for alternative opinions on popular topics/celebrities. If you think Kendrick Lamar is a musical genius then there’s plenty of crap out there for you to read. Probably 90% of the internet is dedicated to sucking up to him, why come here and belittle people who have a differing opinion? I for instance don’t hijack a pro-Kendrick forum and start to outline how I think they’re wrong, that’s their shit and this is ours. Don’t agree? Great, just piss off and keep telling yourself DAMN. is perfect, stop trying to school other people with your non-points.

      14. I’m not an NBA fan so fuck knows what that LeBron shite is about, but I’m sure it makes as much sense as your brilliantly thought out and wonderfully composed reply.

      Stop acting like a contrived, boot-licking, arse-kissing wazzock.

  7. Out of Kendrick’s last three releases, this is definitely his weakest. I was feelin Dna and Humble and Duckworth but the rest is forgettable, and the middle is lacking something.
    The hype machine has gone into overdrive for this one no doubt. Pure bandwagonism. Nobody wants to say anything different and if you do your a “hater”.
    Sorry but this is NOT a classic album.
    Please stop overrating Kendrick just because your a fan!!!!!!!

    • I’m a bit late to this, but the grammy nominations had me doing a bit of googling. HUGE Kendrick fan here, but I think it’s time everyone accepted that DAMN. is not a classic album. In my opinion, it’s fine overall and has a few great songs, but the album was basically kendrick’s experimental style without a consistent narrative to tie it together. He is always mixing it up (for better or worse), but this time it just didn’t work as well, and was, as others mentioned, messy and incoherent. I look forward to seeing what he does every time, but I don’t think DAMN. was looked at objectively. As for Kendrick himself, I myself don’t feel he is overrated, but as a rap fan, it can be frustrating that so many other artists are being overlooked in favour of Kendrick.
      Btw, to the OP, spread the K-Rino love!

  8. This is probably Kendrick Lamar’s weakest album. But saying he isn’t among the greats when the greats recognize him as being one is ridiculous. Saying that if you’re impressed with Kendrick Lamar you don’t listen to real rap is also ridiculous. TPAB was an album completely influenced by G-Funk. As for having songs that sounding “poppy”, so did Outkast. The production on Swimming Pools, for example, gave off a feeling of lethargy and intoxication. Kendrick’s entire discography is a continuous story. From Section.80 to DAMN he’s been telling a consistent story. That storytelling saw its prime in TPAB (the highest rated hip-hop album of all-time, btw). And Jesus Christ. Are you not allowed to like or listen to pop music if you like rap? Are only supposed to like one genre? I enjoy Rakim, Kool G Rap, Nas, Del The Funky Homosapien, Lupe Fiasco, etc. But I also enjoy Lorde, Taylor Swift, Adele, etc. Using pop music as a way to discredit your taste in rap is a cop-out non-argument. To Pimp A Butterfly was an extremely cohesive album. Sonically, it was different and I completely understand if you found it hard to digest in that aspect. But These Walls, Mortal Man, “u”, etc. were beautifully written songs. K-Rino has over 40 albums. No one wants to listen to all of that.

    It seems you really just want to hate on newer mainstream music. Because while Joey’s newest album is good, it doesn’t hold a candle to the majority of Kendrick’s body of work. There are even qualities within Migos that are commendable. Substance wise, their not impressive. But their flows and rhyme schemes are VERY impressive. Takeoff’s verse in Commando, for instance. Am I going to call him an all time great any time soon? No. Is it still an impressively written song when you break down his rhyme scheme? Yes. Not everyone has to spit like DOOM or Earl Sweatshirt to be all-time greats. Biggie wasn’t all that lyrical either. He had flow and could rhyme well. Tupac wasn’t much a of a lyricist, either. He wouldn’t hold a candle to Earl Sweatshirt, Lupe Fiasco, or Lloyd Banks. Kendrick has changed his sound and his style. But the most important element of his work has always been his message/substance.

    You talk about the “golden era” then rag on TPAB which is a perfect example of G-Funk.

    • You and many other people seem to be misinterpreting or misunderstanding the concept of “Pop music” and indeed what happens when you pander to the mainstream i.e. a Pop crowd. People can listen to whatever they want to but there’s always the mediocre counterpart and the credible versions of every genre. I personally listen to Punk, Reggae Dancehall, Grime, Old-School Rave, and Hip-Hop but every time one of these genres makes it into the charts it’s a namby pamby, appeal-to-all, unfocussed song/album. “Pop” music therefore is usually the watered-down version of any genre, especially today with radio plays and streams being added to how something charts (a very corruptible system that rewards non-controversial, middle-of-the-road stuff that appeals to everybody). Saying TPAB is the highest rated Hip-Hop album of all time just goes to prove how suspect the industry has become, there’s no way in hell that album is the greatest Hip-Hop album – hence my point about overrating Kendrick and his fans’ ignoring every time he goes “Pop” (essentially a by-word for mediocre).

      In addition, you’re jumping to conclusions about Biggie and Tupac, I don’t rate them as highly as others do, and let’s not forget they only charted when they watered-down their sound and appealed to the mainstream just like Kendrick has and does. Bottom line, Hip-Hop only gets masses of undeserved praise and acceptance from the critics and the public when something either completely sells out or makes it/themselves “radio friendly” which in turn ironically keeps Hip-Pop in a confined box of what is seen as acceptable by the public.

    • @Sean u just proved OP point.
      “Migos rhyme schemes are VERY impressive” “I enjoy Taylor Swift” 🤦🤦🤦

    • @ Sean

      You see that K-Rino has over 40 albums . Have you listened to 30 or more of his tracks . He is the definition of real hip hop . He’s from the South Park neighborhood of Houston , Texas and has immense street credibility and a positive message in his music . He has made a modest living off of his music and is admired by real hip hop heads in the underground the world over .

      What have Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole contributed to hip hop lyricism ?? What have they done that older (some formerly) mainstream rappers like Pusha T , No Malice , Tech N9ne , Twista , Kid Cudi , David Banner , Smoke D.Z.A. , Jaz-O , Sean Price , Z-Ro , Trae Tha Truth, Lil’ Flip , Paul Wall , Bun B. , Scarface , Mad Child , Chamillionaire , Slim Thug , Haystak , Jelly Roll , Lil’ Wyte , O.C. , Beanie Sigel , Freeway , Memphis Bleek , Big K.R.I.T. , Nas , Andre 3000 , Common , Busta Rhymes , Consequence , GLC , Tupac Shakur (Rest In Paradise) , Cassidy , Fabolous , Sheek Louch , Styles P , Jadakiss , Q-Tip , Papoose , AZ , Cormega , Fat Joe , Lupe Fiasco , Proof (Rest In Paradise) , Jay Electronica ,Treach , Kurupt , Hopsin , Crooked I , Joell Ortiz , Royce Da 5’9” , Jarren Benton , Hussein Fatal (Rest In Paradise) , Ludacris , Xzibit , DMX , Lauryn Hill or Demrick haven’t done before ?

      I understand that Kendrick and J. Cole are deemed “cool” and “hip” by the mainstream media . I – personally – don’t find them groundbreaking in any way . All of those rappers I’ve listed spit nicer than Kendrick and Cole . The pop musicians you listed (Lorde , Adele , Taylor Swift ) are all grossly overrated and financially overcompensated . Even Tupac and B.I.G. were overrated when they were alive .

      Also how can you compare an O.G. like M.F. Doom to Earl Sweatshirt ?? Or call Lloyd Banks a great lyricist ??

      That’s like calling Yanni a great composer or Kenny G a great jazz musician .

      Chino XL is a lyricist . Apathy is a lyricist . K-Rino is a lyricist . Kool G Rap is a lyricist . Vinnie Paz is a lyricist . Immortal Technique is a lyricist . Ras Kass is a lyricist .

      Canibus and Eminem before 2005 were both great lyricists .

      Start with 1982’s “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five and go forward every year in hip hop .

      Listen to artists from all parts of the United States and from around the world and listen to all genres of hip hop .

      Do that and then tell us how Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are great rappers .

      Someone else posted , ” ‘DAMN’ is the embodiment of hip hop” . If you think like that then you are very different person than me .

      The person who does this blog says 90% of internet music critics are dedicated to praising Kendrick . It’s at 95% plus .

      That just shows how much trouble mainstream hip hop is in .

      Lastly , aging mainstream greats like Ice-T , LL Cool J , Lord Jamar , Method Man and Red Man praise Kendrick and J. Cole because it makes them seem youthful and hip . Less credible mainstream “greats” like Snoop Dogg , Ice Cube , Jay-Z , Eminem and Dr. Dre make money off of their association with them .

    • @ Sean

      Andy Mineo is a better lyricist than Kendrick Lamar . Listen to all of their material and compare it . Listen to their YouTube “freestyles” and free verses . Of course you are a Kendrick and J. Cole fan (and probably listen to far ,far less underground , independent and international hip hop than me) so you are inherently going to overrate Kendrick Lamar and say he is great .

      Also Kendrick has many , many , many co-writers . Technically I see them as ghost writers . And he has the money to afford them . Andy Mineo has co-written music in a collaborative fashion as part of The 116 Clique .

  9. Thank you very much for this post. I have been seeing the highly positive reviews all over the internet while in the same time trying to explain to all sorts of stupid people why this album is mostly trash, with very little success, and while I had not yet begun to question my own sanity, it is certainly nice to know that not everyone out there has lost theirs.

  10. I forgot to say Rest In Paradise to Sean Price (when I listed those notable lyrical rappers of the 1990’s and first decade of the 2000’s) . Rest In Paradise to P.H. , as well . The untimely deaths of Sean Price and Pumpkin Head (A.K.A. P.H.) were big losses to the culture .

    The final track on the Snow Goon’s latest compilation album – “Goon Bap” – is “My Advice” by Pumpkin Head . That track embodies hip hop . Not Kendrick Lamar . It’s better put that “My Advice” embodies REAL hip hop . “DAMN” embodies extreme egotism and the selling out of artistic integrity .

  11. You really try so hard in this article to get people to dislike Kendrick Lamar. Your knowledge of hiphop and the music industry is shitty as fuck. Coming from someone who listens to Mobb Deep, Pac, Gangstarr, Big L, Method Man, Redman, Joey Bada$$, Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Pete Rock, CL Smooth, Sean Price, Nas, A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang, and many more-Kendrick Lamar is the best rapper alive. Trust me, people who listen to Lil Uzi Vert and 21 Savage don’t even like Kendrick. The reason everyone’s on him rn is because there are no rappers on his level except J Cole and Joey Bada$$. This whole article sounds like some butthurt ass Drake fan who’s mad that his shitty pop idol is outta the spotlight. GKMC was actually a great album, however TPAB and DAMN took a little to grow on me, but after analyzing them they are actually pretty good albums. So the only thing this article is doing is making you look like an idiot.

    • Fucking hell, you don’t half talk some shite. I like your contrived little list of rappers to make it look like you know your shit but the fact that you think Kendrick is “the best rapper alive” you’ve already lost your argument. Let me point out that Ras Kass, Kool G Rap, Chino XL, and K-Rino are still alive.

      On your other “point” about people who listen to Mumble Rap don’t like Kendrick, keep jumping to those lame conclusions. A commenter who defended this album (Mrbirdie) also defended Lil Yachty’s “Teenage Emotions”. Lil Uzi Vert’s fans generally might not listen to Lamar but there’s always a crossover audience. And I’ll point out that the only reason Lil Uzi and Yachty are plugged to the masses is to inflate Kendrick Lamar’s worth as an artist. That’s what I stated in the article not that his fans are the same, maybe read that shit again.

      I know you skimmed past this article because in reality you’re the “butthurt” fan. In the article and under the first reply I categorically stated that Drake is lame. Again, stop jumping to conclusions about sides, just because I think DAMN. is overrated it doesn’t mean I’m on the side of Drake. Get a fucking clue.

      Also, if you took a look at (and navigated around this site and actually read some of it) you’d have to admit that my “knowledge of Hip-Hop” is far from being “shitty as fuck”.

      The problem with you is that Kendrick’s dick is so far down your throat that you can’t see past his mons pubis to acknowledge all the varied opinions that other people have. Wipe those tears out your eyes, Lamar’s dick is making you gag.

      P.S. is that your real surname?

  12. I think one of the biggest problems with hip-hop fans of all stripes is this insistence on one particular style. Fans of old school rap will shit on literally anything that doesn’t conform to that particular sound. If you like underground, trap music, g-funk you think that’s what hip-hop is supposed to sound like. I think we have to admit that hip-hop is a large and diverse genre that had no set sound and is big enough to accomate the likes of 2pac and Lil Uzi Vert. I see people rant about how hip-hop has gone downhill and given in to trying to sound like mainstream pop garbage just to sell records. Many want to go back to the hey-day of NWA, 2pac, Krs one, Snoop, Biggie and Nas, but music has evolved since then. There’s a number of exciting hip-hop artists like a$ap Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Travis Scott, Migos, Young Thug, Future, and Run the Jewels who are all pushing the boundaries of hip-hop in unique and exciting ways. Music much like any culture that doesn’t change dies. As for this obsession with lyrics, well news-flash not everyone has to be Bob Dylan. There are a number of amazing songs in all sorts of genres including pop, R&B, hip-hop, country and Rock that don’t have good lyrics and yet they still work. I’m reminded of Witchita Lineman by Glenn Campbell. The lyrics are super simple and repetitive, yet the song remains a pereenail favorite, be cause Glen’d delivery and the instrumental more than compensated and added a lot to the song. Lyrics are not everything, there an important part, but you can get away with having mediocre lyrics if the performance and instrumentals are there. Damn is a perfect combo of lyrics, instrumentals and performance, that’s why it’s critically acclaimed.

    • I hear what you’re saying but there’s a few things that I think are wrong with your comment…

      1. You make the assumption that “fans of old school rap” dislike anything that is “modern” but you forget that most sounds today were around in the 80s, 90s, and 00s. People assume that someone like Joey Bada$$ is harking back to the 90s but they ignore that A$AP Rocky/Mob sound very much like Triple Six Mafia – a 90s group. If people weren’t so blinkered in their perceptions of “old school” music, they wouldn’t be so quick to label three decades of Hip-Hop as merely Boom Bap.

      2. If you listen to rappers like Chip-Fu he didn’t sound like Tupac, Biggie didn’t sound like Busta Rhymes, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony didn’t sound like Heltah Skeltah, Jaz-O didn’t sound like Spice-1. Every single sub-genre that claims to be contemporary was already around in the 90s so in that respect everything released today sounds like “old school” Hip-Hop. Where are all the new sounds exactly?

      3. People have always “ranted” about Hip-Hop going downhill, people said the same thing about No Limit in the 90s, I remember people saying Tone Loc was lame or PM Dawn was too Pop or MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice was trash, blah blah blah, standing on the corner and arguing about who is wack has always been part and parcel of Hip-Hop culture but if you do the same today and you’re called a “hater” or an “elitist”. If you respect the diversity and culture of Hip-Hop then let people have their opinion.

      4. You can’t ignore all the pandering to Pop audiences and say that it isn’t a valid criticism. Rappers like The Flatbush Zombies have remained consistent, they managed to get on Jimmy Fallon which is about as mainstream as it gets but they did it by sticking to their sound. Wanting overground success and therefore doing featured spots with lames like Taylor Swift is worthy of complaint, why not try to get mainstream respect and recognition without selling out? And yes, before you say anything people said all this back when Redman did a song with Christina Aguilera or Run DMC did a song with Aerosmith. Going Pop is not a new phenomena and criticising selling out is as old as Hip-Hop itself.

      5. I don’t want to “go back” as you say, I love it when something sounds new. I was a fan of M.I.A. until recently, she enlisted Diplo and Switch and made some very contemporary sounds. She wasn’t very skilled at rapping but she made credible songs and albums. That is the very definition of “accepting new music”; she sounded unique, she wasn’t overly lyrical, but she was catchy and was even Pop. Don’t talk to me about being “obsessed with lyrics”, I’m the person who listened and listens to Electronic Dance music which has no lyrics. Being catchy and credible is something hard to do, with or without lyrics, don’t use that excuse to defend Lil Uzi Vert and Lil Yachty, they are not the same, they’re garbage.

      6. There are enough people who dislike DAMN., just take a look online, on forums, on social media, therefore this opinion is a valid one. It is an overrated album because it doesn’t compare to Sgt. Pepper, Purple Rain, 36 Chambers, blah blah blah, it doesn’t matter what genre something is, you have to be able to listen to an album from beginning to end and be impressed throughout for it to be a flawless release. DAMN. and TPAB have too many tracks where you skip past them, that instantly stops it from being a 10/10 classic. Therefore this album is overrated and it is acclaimed by people coming to the same misinformed and closed-minded conclusions as you.

      7. I want this culture to change, I don’t want it to die, so please stop allowing the past to be labelled a certain way and stop making excuses for particular rappers and groups today who are far from being innovative. The past wasn’t just the contrived “Biggie and Tupac” there was a plethora of differing sounds and styles. If what you’re defending today is a throwback to yesteryear masquerading as new, you’re part of the problem with regards to revisionism and overrating contemporary Hip-Pop. Go back and listen to more old school Hip-Hop before jumping to any more of your conclusions.

  13. Lol, an underground fanboy pissed that his favourites aren’t blowing up.
    The song you suggested, Makin Enemies, is a perfect example of an ‘artist’ who has no fucking idea what rap, or vocal music is about. But that’s underground hip hop for u. A bunch of sour pussies that stress technique or lyricism past the point of redundancy.
    Employing literary devices for kicks is ignorant. Flowing to show off your flow is ignorant.

    Technique and lyricism are part of rap or a piece of vocal music or poetry, no argument there, but they are not to be the focal point of a piece of work. And they are not to be louder than the most important part of music, and that’s the content, but wait , it doesn’t stop there, the content itself is not to exist for the heck of it, the content must serve the ultimate purpose of a piece of music, which I’ll get to.
    Think of music, specifically rap, as a present, which is composed of parts that form a whole, namely, Packaging, Presentation and Content.
    -Packaging and Presentation (lyricism and Technique) a part of music that
    1.serves to encase and preserve the integrity of the content, it doesn’t exist to be the main point of the present, that would be like me giving you a box that’s worth more than the actual gift, which is just ignorant. It should either hide,highlight contradict or complement the content depending on how the writer wants his work to be received.
    -It serves as a ‘visual’ aid, used to paint a picture much like Kendrick did on GKMC and TPAB, but its not the focal point of the work, you’d be pissed if I gave you a present that looks flashy but contained trash, same with rap. Presentation and Packaging(flow, multis, lyricism etc), serve as part of the way we perceive the present and allows the listener to be carried to the content in whatever way the writer pleases.

    -Content. I made the spaces bigger to emphasise this motherfucker. This is the main point of rap. The content. But not just the content. But how much the content adheres to the law of art. which is that a piece of art is that which seeks to extract empathy from the viewer/listener/reader. To put the listener in the artist’s mind or shoes in the most vivid, or intentionally distorted way possible depending on the original perspective of the writer. Kendrick does this in ways your little underground cunts couldn’t even fathom.


    • I deleted the rest of your shite comment because it went on and on to the point of redundancy.

      Firstly, the fact that you said K-Rino is an “artist” (within apostrophes or inverted commas) I guess you were trying to belittle this underground rapper.

      I chose that particular track BECAUSE it was lyrical, it serves to prove that artists out there who have no exposure are better than Kendrick in terms of DELIVERY and FLOW.

      All it would have taken is for your dumb arse to listen to the rest of the album and realise that your idiotic comment is made null and void as soon as you even glimpse at the cover artwork. Makin’ Enemies has all the CONTENT you oh so desire; meaning, opinion, message. The fact that you listened to one little clip and began dissing every single underground artist makes you the dumbest, most ignorant mainstream twat around.

      Nobody’s pissed here. No, rappers like K-Rino aren’t blowing up, and that’s generally because pricks like you are dismissive of underground music as somehow unworthy of your attention. You ride Lamar’s dick regardless of the fact that his so-called “packaging and presentation” (marketing and promotion in this case) is better than his content, especially in this and his previous album.

      Before you talk any more bullshit, take a fucking gander at the entire work:

      Here’s a song from the same album that features CONTENT, the element of Hip-Hop you hold above all else:

  14. @ J. Eiland

    You’ve said some of the most ignorant things I’ve ever heard . And I’ve seen a lot of fuckery over the last 20 years in hip hop . Me and this blogger (What Went Wrong With) have listened to a much , much ,much , much .much wider array of hip hop artists than you . So how can you possibly pass judgement when you think that Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole are the best emcees around today ??

    If this blog never mentioned K-Rino , Vinnie Paz , Ras Kass or Sean Price (Rest In Paradise) you wouldn’t have even heard of them and searched for a snippet of their work on YouTube .

  15. I totally agree. We live in an era that, in spite of the technological advances which allows us access to a variety of music, art, etc., listeners still stay in their comfort zone of the mainstream media’s counsel of what’s “popular” and “trendy”.

    Additionally, there is no longer any illusion of a variety in genre. Those who “claim” to like rap, only identify with the trap music sound. Unique jazz, funk, and rock drum loops and break beats aka boom bap beats are very rarely promoted on mainstream radio because variety is no longer an option.

    During the 80’s, 90’s, and early 2000’s, variety within the hip-hop genre was an option, along with exploration. Perhaps, it was due to the startup of the internet and our fascination behind its benefits versus actually having to physically visit your local record store, and sift through albums, cassettes, and CDs, and network with the store owner or dj mixing in the back. I recall visiting sites like Sandbox Automatic,, The Giant Peach, and UGHH to explore through a catalog of hip-hop, esp. if I wanted to find artists associated or similar to those of interest. However, I wonder if that was just my initiative.

    Honestly, given that I am aware of so many other dope artists out there, Kendrick Lamar is the furthest from gaugin my interest. You offered K-Rhino as an alternative to Lamar. I’ve never heard of him. And although, he is indeed a better option than Lamar, it wasn’t for me. However, I understood your point. With that said, there are so many artists out there: 80′ Babies, Ozay Moore, Ohmega Watts, People Under the Stairs, Clear Soul Forces, Tanya Morgan, Fresh Daily, Homeboy Sandman, Aesop Rock, Kev Brown, The Procussions, Cavalier, J-Live, Asheru, Grap Luva, The Primeridian, Thaione Davis, Mr. Mattic, Rashid Hadee, the list goes on and on. And when you ask a youth nowadays to identify hip-hop artist of the past they reflect on the same artists: Biggie, Tupac, Too Short, Snoop Dogg, Bone Thugs N Harmony, Three-Six Mafia, Master P, and Jay-Z.

    And although Tupac Shakur was, understandably, an integral figure in promoting social awareness, many youth don’t identify within that context of his work, they typically recount the aforementioned artists’ flamboyance and, even, the cutting edge (rebellious and illicit) aspects of their lyrics. You will seldom, if not ever hear an adolescent recount KRS-One and BDP, The Juice Crew, Eric B and Rakim, EPMD, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul (despite their latest 2016 album), Poor Righteous Teachers, Souls of Mischief, Pharcyde, O.C., Rass Kass, Organized Konfusion, The Beatnuts, Black Moon (in spite of their “gun clapping”). Kids might even know Fat Joe, but ask them if they remember Big Pun, know who DITC and is. More importantly, ask an adult hip-hop listener, but don’t hold your breath on an answer.

    The point of my ridiculously long rant, and the artist examples are that there are choices, and perhaps people don’t want to explore due to the lazy culture that technology has hindered us with. Perhaps people want to accept what the media commands of them. Perhaps, we are just unique entities who prefer to think and listen outside of the box.

  16. @ The Anonymous

    You mentioned “trap music” being popular . I think that is a big factor . There is little to no lyricism in mainstream hip hop nowadays . People consider Justin Bieber or The Weeknd to be rappers now . There is also no variety in mainstream hip hop – as you pointed out .

    The only major independent hip hop labels that have relevance in 2017 are Psychopathic Records (Insane Clown Posse’s label) , Majik Ninja Entertainment (Twiztid’s label) , Strange Music (Tech N9ne’s label) , Mello Music Group (Apollo Brown’s label) , Rhyme Sayers Entertainment (Aesop Rock and Brother Ali’s label) , Uncle Howie Records (Ill Bill’s label) , Battle Axe (Swollen Member’s label) , Goon Musick (The Snow Goon’s label) , Ephin / Stealth Bomb Records (Snak The Ripper and Merkules’s label) , Nature Sounds (R.A. The Rugged Man’s label) , Viper Records (Immortal Technique’s label) and Psycho+Logical Records (Necro’s label) .

    All of those guys – besides Merkules – are over 35 years old .

    About half of those artists you listed (who are solid rappers / producers / DJ’s) don’t even make music anymore .

    This troubles me . I can’t see Joey Bada$$ and Cinematic Music Group righting the ship for hip hop . We need younger lyricists under the age of 30 to start making waves .

  17. There are other major independents in the U.S. and Europe (Ninja Tune , Alpha Pup , Fool’s Gold , Lex Records , Big Dada , Om Records , Mush Records , Brainfeeder , etc. ) , but a lot of them push crappy EDM / electronic music instead of their hip hop acts nowadays .

  18. @ David

    For underground / alternative / independent artists who are younger than 30 years old I would recommend A-F-R-O , Chris Rivers (Big Pun’s son) , Astro , Merkules , Passionate MC , Lex The Hex Master , The Celestics (Kaytranada and Lou Phelps) , Token , Futuristic , Ironic , Alpha Omega , Big Kurt , Brad Shank , Dom Sicily , Stik Figa , Lando Chill , Jonwayne , Lyte and Dibiase .

  19. There are more attacks against Kendrick lamar the person than any reasonably critic of 1. The content of his music 2. An understanding of why he arranged his album differently 3. The message he had championed.

    While I have profound respect for underground rappers I think they will forever be a grade lower than mainstream rappers. Why? Because what does it matter to be the greatest if your message will never get to an audience that matters? Would it have mattered if Martin Luther was the greatest speaker and yet he only spoke to his mirror? Kendrick beeing able to reach a greater audience whole saying some real ish is in itself a great sign of his all time greatness

    If you can’t appreciate the brilliance of TPAB then you really can’t call yourself a hip hop head. The timing, the sound, and message of the album were so heavy, dense and pro black. Tell me Kendrick lamar is overated after you have watched activists marching to ‘alright’.

    • 1. When did being a “Hip-Hop Head” become someone conforming to mainstream consensus? If I’m not feeling an album that’s subjective, it isn’t mutually exclusive to think Kendrick Lamar is overrated, to like Political Hip-Hop, and being a “Hip-Hop Head”.

      2. Your analogy is completely wrong, surely political rappers who came before Lamar are the Martin Luther Kings and Malcom Xs? If Public Enemy is Malcom X, then the influence of that group led on to the likes of dead prez, Ras Kass etc., you could call them the Black Panthers in this analogy. Nobody in this analogy however, is “speaking in their mirror” they put their music out there for the masses but their content was too strong for the majority of mainstream white middle class people to buy into. They get respect in retrospect but nobody championed them at the time, EXACTLY like the Black Panthers. In this analogy, Kendrick Lamar is not a revolutionary at all, he’s more like Chris Rock – someone who touches on black struggle when it’s safe to do so and is therefore accepted by white people to bring them a watered-down contemporary, mainstream, even fun version of black struggle.

      3. It’s not the fault of other political rappers such as Immortal Technique, Paris, Mr. Lif etc. to be relegated to the underground, they brought their message at an inconvenient time and so got no respect, similar to Muhammad Ali with his anti-Vietnam stance, he was shunned by the mainstream/white population for having the right opinion at the wrong time. Be anti-Vietnam a decade or two later and the same white people couldn’t give a fuck. Kendrick Lamar is the dude who comes late with a message and gains white fans for saying nothing new.

      4. This is why he’s overrated, critics will give GKMC 10/10 TBAB 10/10 and DAMN. 10/10 when really it’s more like 7/10, 5/10, 6/10. But these dick-riders didn’t recognise real political Hip-Hop in 1999-2009 when it wasn’t mainstream friendly. The same critics wouldn’t even notice Soul On Ice for instance despite it being released on CD, Vinyl, Cassette, and now streaming – that’s hardly Ras Kass rapping in a mirror is it? And, by the way, it’s a much more powerful album than To Pimp A Butterfly – the timing, the sound, and message of the album were so heavy, dense, and pro black, that it went over the heads of the mainstream…

    • So I guess you are saying K-Rino , Immortal Technique , Brother J , Ras Kass , Diabolic , Brother Ali , Wise Intelligent , Sabac Red , Emcee Lynx , Vinnie Paz , Paris , Tragedy Khadafi , Ill Bill , Akala , Adil Omar and Red Cloud are less talented than Kendrick Lamar because they are not mainstream ? Kendrick Lamar is not even that lyrically skilled . Now he’s a pitchman for huge corporations . So tell me how Kendrick Lamar is a revolutionary maverick who represents the poor and disenfranchised …

  20. I should also mention American First Nations rapper Anybody Killa . He’s been in the game for 25 years and makes better albums than Lamar . What about Willie D ? Riviera Regime ? The Psycho Realm ? Verbal Skillz ? Killah Priest ? Afrika Islam ? Akir ? Hasan Salaam ?

  21. Here are some songs that came out in 2017 that are far more politically charged than anything Kendrick Lamar has ever done in his career :

    So why is Kendrick receiving all this attention ? Because he’s signed with Vivendi , Universal Music Group , Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine and has billions of dollars behind his music .

  22. I know I’m only 8 months behind on this post, but I just came across it and wanted to write “Thank You”! Every year-end listing of best albums includes DAMN and every 2017 best track list has at least one or two Kendrick songs on it, so I went searching for someone, anyone who held the contrary view that Kendrick isn’t the most amazing rapper to grace America since the beginning of time.

    I just listened to a podcast from Rolling Stone (I know) talking about what makes DAMN so great is that you could drop it in anytime around 1994 or 1995 and it would still be an iconic album. GTF outta here. It would stand with KRS One, Illmatic, Ready to Die, Cuban Linx, Liquid Swords, Me Against the World, E.1999 Eternal, Danger Zone, Word…Life, Hard to Earn, The Main Ingredient, and on and on and on? Come on now.

    This is why I can’t hop onto the Kendrick Bandwagon. If his shit wasn’t so over-hyped, I’d probably dig his stuff more, and at least DAMN wasn’t as god-awful as Pimp a Butterfly. But when some mediocre shit like Humble, which is a bunch on nonsense that has no cohesive thought running through the entire track – I remember eating syrup sandiwches but now I drive Mercedes; I wish could find a true natural woman with stretch marks and a Richard Pryor Afro, but Obama is calling me now and this track is like Grey Poupon and a TED Talk, What? – is treated like it should be included in the pantheon of rap with tracks like Paid In Full, CREAM, The Symphony, TROY, Shook Ones, NY State of Mins, I am literally gone. As you said, there are guys now with better lyricism, better flow, and better beats than Kendrick, but he’s got the critical and financial support that allows his flaws to be glossed over.

    I’m just grateful that I know I’m not alone.

  23. raised in the age of pac and warren g and snoop, i can fully agree with this article. pac really had something to say to his brothers. in a time raised with no dad or brothers and fake friends he powered me up in this gynocentric feministic society. tried to watch a lamars concert on youtube, i couldnt watch it for more then 20 minutes. it became boring, so many words in one sentence but hes got nothing to say actually… i tried at least.

    sorry bro. keep your music for the wannabees and hipsters in this generation.

  24. I’m late on this , but , I can’t believe they gave Kendrick Lamar a Pulitzer Prize . I recently relistened to Immortal Technique’s first three studio albums . I cannot state how much more lyrically gifted Immortal Tech is than Kendrick . How much more his subject matter is evocative , authentic and spiritually charged . It’s like comparing the prose of Danielle Steele to that of Cormac McCarthy . Middle class and upper middle class kids who are younger than 27 must be complete fools to fall for this . It’s even sadder to think poor people in first world countries – people such as myself – would think that Kendrick Lamar in 2018 represents the struggle . What lyrical , underground or politically inclined emcees has Kendrick ever worked with on any of his major studio albums !?

    Where’s Kendrick featuring Brother Ali , Immortal Technique , Ras Kass , Vinnie Paz , K-Rino , Apathy , Chino XL , Lecrae , Andy Mineo , Z-Ro , One Be Lo , Virtuoso or even Hopsin on his albums !?

    I think Kendrick’s mind is gone . Granted in 2011 or 2012 he sent Ras Kass an underwhelming mixtape verse on a USB stick or through email . That was about a year before he blew up . Lamar has bought his own hype . Lyrically he’s plain average . Nothing special . The only good track on the whole fucking album was “Duckworth” .

    So really this Pulitzer Prize win shouldn’t surprise any real hip hop head . It’s how things go nowadays . The real are never rewarded .

  25. From good production like “Ab-Souls Outro” to shit like “LOVE.”. Just relistened to some of Section.80, and while some songs like Blow My High are trash it’s actually an enjoyable listen. What happened, Kendrick said he wasn’t a pop star in 2011; not even a year later, he sold out to become one.

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