Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. Album, Religion, and Finding Himself

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Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. album cover | c/o Interscope Records

 

Kendrick Lamar may be the best rapper out right now at hiding the proverbial medicine in the candy. His latest album, DAMN. has songs that are focused on totally unattractive topics when it comes to their assumed commercial potential: Humility. Loyalty. Integrity. And they’re all touched on as part of his exploration of religion, another touchy subject. Making club-ready, popular Hip-Hop that bangs as hard as DAMN. does while quoting Bible verses in the lyrics is no easy feat. Still, as Kendrick says on “ELEMENT.,” he makes it all sound sexy.

As I marveled at DAMN. over several listens, I wrote about how Kendrick is learning more about himself and the world he lives in with the guidance of Bible scripture for Billboard.

Kendrick Lamar: Making Sense of His World, One Bible Verse at a Time 

Here’s a taste: “The Bible’s influence is immense. For many it functions as their life’s compass, by which going in the right direction means to walk in God’s footsteps and all other paths — at best — lead nowhere. That perspective is what Kendrick Lamar cautiously navigates on his third proper studio LP, DAMN.

Check it out, y’all.

also: Kendrick Lamar, Exposing The Fakes

Kendrick Lamar, Exposing The Fakes

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Kendrick Lamar dropped his new track, “Humble” yesterday. Fans and pundits alike went gaga over it. The verdicts vary but are overall joyous. They’re cheerful hearing Kung Fu Kenny kick bars over simpler Hip-Hop production (it’s an ominous Mike WiLL Made It doing, less intricate than To Pimp a Butterfly’s jazzy musicianship) and, frankly, delighted that the rapper is still talking his shit—clowning junky stars and also those who aren’t honest in their representations of themselves. The messaging in its Dave Meyers-directed video is noteworthy, too. So much so that I wrote about it for Billboard.

Kendrick Lamar Exposes the Fake to Encourage the Real in ‘Humble’ Video

I’m not going to ruin it for you, but I will tease it with the opening paragraph:

As the opportunity to exaggerate our best features and highlight only portions of our lives grows thanks to the magic of Instagram filters and Twitter posts, Kendrick Lamar has noticed what apparently many have yet to: The world — his generation, at least — is shifting away from practicing humility and authenticity. Blowhard fakes are flourishing faster than a showoff can say “Clarendon” or “Send tweet.”

Give it a read. April 7, the release date for Kendrick’s third LP, can’t come soon enough.

A$AP Ferg: A Cozy Boy Hits Paris

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A$AP Ferg | photo by Rayniel Polanco | c/o RCA Records

 

The guys in the A$AP Mob have a unique kind of charm. It’s a mix of uptown NYC street smarts and downtown cool. From their raps to their clothes, it’s easy to tell that they’re not one-dimensional artists. Regarding style, I spoke to A$AP Ferg about attending his first international fashion week. He went to Paris to support his buddy and label mate A$AP Rocky, who recently became the first African American face of Dior. They both attended Dior’s masquerade party, which he greatly enjoyed.

A$AP Ferg Explains ‘Cozy’ Culture & Kicking It with Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid

Ferg, too, has had his hands in many fashion endeavors, designing pieces for several reputable brands, cosigning labels on the come-up and, of course, wearing some other the flyest stuff out that many simply just can’t afford.

@Dior @kris_van_assche #Diorboyz

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“Oh, I was very cozy at the masquerade party! I felt like Master Bruce. I transformed with that coziness.” – A$AP Ferg

For Billboard, Ferg broke down the term “Cozy,” which I was already familiar with, but had to explain for those that slept on the Mob’s Cozy Tapes Vol. 1: Friends  2016 album and haven’t heard Rocky or Ferg’s slick talk in interviews over the last year or so.

It was really a fun conversation. I got a great understanding of who he is as a creative and a businessman who’s enjoying the ride while getting shit done. Check it out.