kung fu kenny

Kendrick Lamar's Secret Album Exists and You Already Own It

Press play on "D.A.M.N." — backwards.
August 29, 2017, 5:00am

This article originally appeared on i-D.

There's a secret Kendrick Lamar album floating around, and you probably already own it. Since the Compton rapper dropped his recent opus D.A.M.N. in April, fans have been floating a theory about a secret twin album — the rumors aided in no small part by mysterious Matrix—referencing tweets from Top Dawg Entertainment producer Sounwave. When another K-Dot drop didn't arrive that weekend, some fans got the idea of playing D.A.M.N. backwards, which turned out to sound pretty good. Because that's exactly what Kendrick intended.

"I think like a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards," Kendrick finally confirmed to MTV News ahead of his VMA performance this weekend. "It plays as a full story and even a better rhythm. It's one of my favorite rhythms and tempos within the album. It's something that we definitely premeditate while we're in the studio."

"I don't think the story necessarily changes, I think the feel changes," he continued. "The initial vibe listening from the top all the way to the bottom is… this aggression and this attitude. You know, 'DNA,' and exposing who I really am. You listen from the back end, and it's almost the duality and the contrast of the intricate Kendrick Lamar. Both of these pieces are who I am."

To be clear, he's only talking about playing the tracks in reverse order. But Kendrick loves a good hidden message. The physical booklet for the CD version of To Pimp a Butterfly even included a sketch of braille, revealing the full title of the album. D.A.M.N. has been called a spiritual awakening for the Christian rapper, who grapples with the tension between believing in God and believing in himself. (Remember those theories about D.A.M.N. 2 dropping on Easter Sunday?) Fans have been getting into the game by playing individual tracks backwards too.