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Kendrick Lamar brings Damn across the nation

Kendrick Lamar’s Damn Tour

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most exciting and influential rappers of 2017, if I do say so myself. Having made a name for himself with his 2012 album good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar was a critically acclaimed rapper before he was 25 years old. The single “i” off of his 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly earned him two Grammy’s for Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Now, Lamar is set to embark on a nationwide tour to promote his newest album, Damn.

Lamar’s albums often feel like concept albums, drawing from specific artists and periods throughout music history. good kid, m.A.A.d city draws from Lamar’s Compton roots and sounds like 90s West Coast hip-hop. Lamar has said that Tupac is his greatest influence in the genre, and this old-school gangsta vibe can be heard on Lamar’s 2012 album. His lyrics and music videos often focus on black communities and the daily plights that young black men can face in America. While many rappers talk about these same issues, Lamar witnessed them firsthand. He cites seeing Tupac and Dr. Dre filming the video for “California Love” as a pivotal moment in his childhood.

In To Pimp a Butterfly, Lamar looked to George Clinton, Miles Davis, and spoken word artists to create his most acclaimed album to date. Growing up in Compton on welfare, Lamar had a lot of anger about the racial inequalities around him. When interviewed about his lyrical style, Lamar cited Eminem as one of his biggest influences. Listeners can hear Lamar’s aggression when he raps, and this emotional energy radiates through all of his albums. The melodies on To Pimp a Butterfly range from soulful and positive to jazzy and dark; each track feels like a diary entry that Lamar is sharing with the world.

“Humble” is the most popular single from Damn, and it’s Lamar’s first single to reach #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. Featuring collaborations with Rihanna and U2, Damn is the most complete album Lamar has released; less of a concept album, Lamar seems to have found his signature sound. The Damn tour starts on July 12th in Glendale Arizona and continues to September 2, where Lamar will play in Miami. Tickets are available for every date on Ticketmaster.

Chicago writer and photographer Kate Scott Daly specializes in music journalism. Her body of work includes live documenting over 200 bands, reviewing several albums and concerts, and multiple artist interviews.Kate continues to brave the photo pits of major music venues and outdoor festivals throughout the Chicagoland scene.

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