Kendrick Lamar released his highly anticipated fourth LP, Damn., on Friday – only three days after revealing its title, track list and artwork. The 14-track LP features collaborations with Rihanna (“LOYALTY.”), U2 (“XXX.”) and L.A.-based singer/instrumentalist Zacari (“LOVE.”).
iTunes purchases of the album detail the full production credits, which include collaborations with “J. Blake” (which Pitchfork confirmed as electronic artist James Blake), Greg Kurstin, Mike WiLL Made-It, Toronto jazz-fusion outfit BADBADNOTGOOD, Sounwave, the Alchemist and DJ Dahi, among others. An artist named Bēkon, whose name turns up few hits online, contributed vocals and/or production to eight total songs.
Lamar teased the album in late March, warning, “Y’all got ’til April the 7th to get your shit together” on surprise new track “The Heart Part 4.” Though that song doesn’t appear on Damn., the LP does feature Lamar’s recently issued single “HUMBLE.,” produced by Mike Will Make-It. That song, which arrived at Number Two on Billboard’s Hot 100, became the highest-charting hip-hop single debut since Eminem and Rihanna’s 2010 track “Love the Way You Lie.”
In a recent interview with the New York Times’ T Magazine, Lamar said his new album, which follows 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly and last year’s compilation LP untitled unmastered, addresses “very urgent” themes.
“I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork,” he said. “To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore.”
“We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God,” he added. “Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system.”