In the hours after Kendrick Lamar released his fourth studio album, DAMN., fans started throwing around ideas about the album's architecture. The album opened and closed with Kendrick saying, flatly, "So, I was taking a walk the other day." On opener "BLOOD.," that line opened up into a short allegory and ended with gunshots; on the final track, "DUCKWORTH.," the gunshots came at the end of the track, before the line. It was a coda, and Kendrick fans—who flood Reddit and Genius with intricate conspiracy theories whenever their hero lays down a verse—tried to pick it apart.
There was no second album in the end, despite some people's fantasies. In an interview with MTV News yesterday, the rapper explained the idea behind the symmetry. DAMN., he said, was always supposed to work backwards. "I think like a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards," he said. "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," he continued. "I think the feel changes. 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."
So we've re-tracked DAMN., with "DUCKWORTH" at the top and "BLOOD." at the end. Listen to .NMAD in full below.
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