Free Music Download: Kendrick Lamar – DAMN

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We’re proud to announce that Trebel now has Kendrick Lamar’s highly-anticipated release, DAMN. available now for free download on the Trebel Music app.

On an album with a ton of surprises, the biggest surprise on DAMN. is how Kendrick manages to continually reinvent himself, creating a damn-near-perfect amalgam of R&B, gangsta rap and intellectual hip hop. Kendrick Lamar isn’t exactly a widely acclaimed singer but he demonstrates at several points on this album that his singing voice and melodies actually hold up as strong counterpoints to the rage, ferocity, and vulnerability found in his rap hooks.

Here’s a track-by-track breakdown of the album and how each affected me along with some nominations for arbitrary superlatives (The Categories: Guest, Melody, Beats, Lyrics, Sexiest, and Best Overall):


The album’s opening act is a short but impactful scene between Kendrick, the narrator, and a blind woman looking for something on the street. It begins innocently enough but quickly turns dark, setting in motion one of the album’s major themes: spiritual damnation.


It’s impossible not to love this raging trap jam that lampoons FOX News particularly the samples of Fox & Friends decrying his performance at the BET Awards as well as Geraldo Rivera’s ridiculously out of touch statement that “hip hop has done more damage to African-American youth than racism in recent years.”

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Beats

Nominee: Best Samples


“YAH” is one of the more laconic songs on the album. Still solid, but the beat is pretty basic when compared with some of the more raging songs on the record. What I like about this track is how it plays on the commonplace “yeah, yeah” with a twist of “Yah,” evocative of the honorific “Jah” for God. This inversion fits with the Biblical themes weaved throughout the album. Not one of my favorite tracks on the record, but it’s still strong, a change of pace you don’t want to skip.

Nominee: Best Hook


“If I’ma slap a pussy-ass n****a I’mma make it look sexy.” – This is the chorus hook. ‘Nuff said. This is an awesome track that signals this album’s departure from the jazz and soul instrumentation of To Pimp A Butterfly (also available for free download on Trebel). Kendrick Lamar indulges his old school hip hop roots here

Nominee: Best Melody


FEEL is a laundry list of indictments and observations of self and society. This one deals primarily with Kendrick’s depression in contrast with his desire to rock and rule the world. “Ain’t nobody praying for me” is a powerful chorus and the track employs the rhetorical device of anaphora (repetition of “I Feel Like…”) to ridiculously entrancing effect.

Nominee: Best Lyrics


This is one of my favorite tracks on the album and not just because it features some killer verses and hooks from the one and only Rihanna (whose Anti album is also available for free download on Trebel).

Let me tell you right now, this song is destined to be a massive radio hit and has already had fans rolling in MDMA-infused bliss at Coachella 2017. Dealing with the recurring themes of temptation, indulgence, and consequences LOYALTY wears its subject matter on its sleeve. There are fun turns of phrase and spontaneous hooks that complement its slow trap beat, giving the song an oozing sexuality that is impossible not to enjoy.

Nominee: Sexiest Track

Nominee: Best Beats

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Hook


The first of three ‘duality’ songs, PRIDE. is a syrupy meandering slow jam that features the vocals of frequent Kendrick collaborator Anna Wise. The opening hook “pride’s gonna be the death of you and you and me” sets the tone for the song’s exploration of faith (“I don’t love people enough to put my faith in men / I put my faith in these lyrics, hoping I can make amend.”) which Kendrick says he’d “choose over riches.” This one stands out as an emblem of the album’s larger themes of spirituality and personal reflection in a materialistic world.

Nominee: Best Melody


The other half of a thematic duality and the first radio single from DAMN., HUMBLE. is explosive, dynamic, and lyrically introspective, all things we’ve come to expect from the crown prince of hip-hop. One of the album’s major themes, humility isn’t something audiences necessarily expect from our rap stars, and Kendrick deals with the duality here in epic, floor-shaking fashion.

It’s a Mike Will Made It beat, which means it’s loaded with crucial bass and ridiculous percussion, making it really fun to dance to. Also it bears mentioning that this track features some of the best comments on the entire Trebel app.

Nominee: Best Beats

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Track


This one is a grimy, dark exploration of the mind. The song features creative wordplay that centers around the banality and repetition of the daily routine in the rap game. The central theme of Lust is explored in a couple different ways: lust for power, acceptance, and of course, sex. Kendrick touches on a variety of everyday impulses and passing thoughts: Donald Trump, weed, comedy, clubbing, and popping pills; but he juxtaposes these thoughts with the theme of sacrifice and immortality. This is reflected in the haunting chorus hook, “I need some water,” a reference to Jesus during the Crucifixion, which provides a foreshadowing for the second half of the duality, LOVE.

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Sexiest Track


It’s no accident that the follow-up to a song about lust is one about love. This juxtaposition is evident in the smoothness and cool tone of the beat which tops off with guest vocalist Zacari’s infectious falsetto crooning “just love me.” Not one of my favorite songs on the album but like “YAH.” it provides a shift in tone and a terrific segue into one of the more interesting tracks on the record.

Nominee: Best Melody

Nominee: Best Guest


Besides its ridiculously awesome beat, this song builds and crescendoes better than any other on the album. The rapping flow is untouchably great and it feels like a crazy eager until it pivots at the chorus, dropping into a groovy trip hop vibe.

And then all of a sudden, there’s fucking Bono singing to you atop a Larry Mullen four-on-the-floor beat, Adam Clayton’s smooth bass and The Edge’s ethereal keys. It’s a cool cross-genre marriage considering that U2 often addresses societal problems using Christian allusions in their music. The last verse in this track closes strongly and features one of my favorite lines:

“It’s murder on my street, your street, back streets/Wall Street, corporate offices/Banks employees, and bosses with homicidal thoughts; Donald Trump’s in office/We lost Barack and promised to never doubt him again/But is America honest or do we bask in sin?”

Themes of gang warfare, corporate malfeasance, personal depression, and spiritual abandonment permeate the record and they are all jewels on display in this crowning achievement.

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Guest

Nominee: Best Track


True to form, just as soon as Kendrick has us thinking high level, he brings it back down to the streets. Gotta say these are some of my favorite rhymes on the record: “I beat yo’ ass if…” is a hilarious, inventive flow of threats directed at the haters culminating with lines like “N****a you gonna fear me like you ain’t feared no one else.” Then he goes into “I’ll probably die…” litany which is equally satisfying.

This one has a sexy slow groove, a great refrain (I’m high now) and amazingly creative phrases of thought that elucidate his album’s larger themes of competition and self-awareness in the face of fear.

Similar to the Lust/Love pairing, this one contains a transition into the next track, “GOD.” with the nihilistic refrain, “Ain’t nobody praying for me.”

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Beats


An avowed Christian, Kendrick Lamar clearly doesn’t shy away from grappling with questions of what it means to have faith in a modern world that often feels cold and oppressive. On the Alchemist-produced track “GOD.” however, we find Kendrick at his most confident, bestowing “godly” honors upon himself in the game.

Need proof? Just check out these rhymes:

Everything I do is to embrace y’all
Everything I write is a damn eight ball
Everything I touch is a damn gold mine
Everything I say is from an angel

Nominee: Best Beats


An exceptional homage to Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith and his own father, Kenny Duckworth, this collaboration with producer 9th Wonder is one of Kendrick’s most breathtaking moments of the entire record. The song tells a story of how Kenny, working at a KFC, could have easily gotten shot by Tiffith in a casual stick-up in his gang days prior to starting Top Dawg Entertainment, the label to which Top eventually signed Kendrick Lamar. “Ducky” decided to ingratiate himself to the gang banging Top Dawg with “extra biscuits” so “they let him live,” then lo and behold they’re “sin recording studios together.” It’s a piquant tale that begs the question “what might have happened if things had gone differently?” Basically, Kendrick says, he wouldn’t be here, probably dead in a gunfight, and then another gun shot to bookend the subtle concept album. The song sounds great, and the lyrics are mesmerizing, with the ultimate message being how It’s a satisfying full circle of life given to the listener, and implies that the blind lady’s damnation has been spared

Nominee: Best Lyrics

Nominee: Best Track


Best Samples: DNA.

Best Beats: HUMBLE.

Best Lyrics: FEAR.

Best Guest (tie): LOYALTY./XXX.

Best Melody: ELEMENT.

Sexiest Track: LOYALTY.

Best Overall Track: XXX.

Okay I’ve hollered at you enough. Download this record for free and listen offline on Trebel today; and then let me know if you agree with my awards! Which tracks stand out to you??

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About Mark Richardson

Mark writes, sings, and enjoys an exceptionally wide array of music. As good a chance you'll find him dancing to trap as moshing to heavy metal. Favorite Trebel artists are Rae Sremmurd, Volbeat, Rihanna, Kanye West, and Avenged Sevenfold. New music recommendations? HMU!

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