Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album, Damn., dropped on Good Friday this year. Immediately following its anticipated release, many theories formed as to possible hidden messages of the album. Based on Kendrick’s fictional death in the first track, his devote Christianity, the “M” of Damn. stylistically appearing to be devil horns, hints in “The Heart Part IV” single preemptively released, and hints by various Top Dog Entertainment officials via twitter and elsewhere, the theory was this: a second album called Nation. (together Damnation.) would be released on Easter, and would be Kendrick’s “rise from the dead” so to speak, like the messiah himself.
Needless to say, Easter rolled around and there wasn’t a second album.
The conspiracies, however, all but stopped. Fans quickly noticed that on various tracks throughout the album, namely “Fear.” and “Duckworth.” have certain lines in reverse. When put in their correct order and secret messages were revealed, the hip-hop community once again lost their minds.
Here are the lyrics of the hidden messages of the two tracks:
“Every stone thrown at you resting at my feet / Why God why God do I gotta suffer / Pain in my heart carry burden for the struggle / Why God why God do I gotta bleed / Every stone thrown at you restin’ at my feet / Why God why God do I gotta suffer / Earth is no more, won’t you burn this mufucka?”
“Whoever thought the greatest rapper would be from coincidence / Because if Anthony killed Ducky, Top Dawg could be servin’ life / While I grew up without a father and die in a gun fight.”
While some are impressed by Kendrick’s “ingenuity” the more analytical fans criticize these claims, as all of the reversed verses are played forward at other times in the album.
I guess we are left disappointed once again. Kendrick’s Damn. is full of topics such as being a king among kings, duality in right and wrong, and duality in what’s “cool.” Kendrick undoubtedly upkeeps his trademark unparalleled storytelling capability. I suppose it is time fans appreciate the album for what it is, not desperately looking for meaning that isn’t there.