#1. DAMN., Kendrick Lamar
With his fourth studio album, Kendrick doesn’t disappoint. Currently one of the best lyricists and storytellers out there, Kendrick delivers not only a wide spectrum of beats, from slow jams to angry drumming, but paints pictures of Compton and today’s America with more than just words. Storytelling has always been K.Dot’s strong side, and DAMN. only proves disbelievers wrong. When the video for “HUMBLE.” dropped – in which Kendrick was anything but humble, portrayed as the pope, inspired by The Last Supper, and biking on top of the globe – it only proved that Kendrick knows how to tease his fans, and that we can expect a great piece of art. The more than two-year break Kendrick took between To Pimp a Butterfly and DAMN. allowed the rapper to step back, take a deep breath, and come back even better than before. While To Pimp A Butterfly channeled chest-clenched frustrations of himself and his fans, DAMN. takes a more philosophical route with flows changing from ballads to the Mike Will Made-It–produced track “DNA.” which delivers an almost war chant-like anthem with Kendrick rapping: “Loyalty, got royalty inside my DNA/Cocaine quarter piece, got war and peace inside my DNA/I got power, poison, pain and joy inside my DNA.” Staying on the subject of loyalty, in steps Rihanna with forever ear-pleasing raps and a slightly lighter tone – “LOYALTY.” is on track to stay on the radio waves for all of summer ‘17. Then comes “LOVE.” with newcomer, dance/electronic music artist, Zacari. A few seconds into the track, we hear his falsetto “Give me a run for my money/ There is nobody, no one to outrun me,” and we’re hooked. The contrasting voices of Lamar and Zacari make it one of the most pleasing songs on the album. DAMN. was easily worth waiting for, and it delivers the kind of rap and unique sound we’ve all been missing for some time now. – Magdalena Bury.