With his excellent fourth album, DAMN., the rapper has given us an album that is as concerned with America as it is with God. - From The Nation
And, indeed, the public’s reception of the single “Alright,” which became a protest anthem against police violence, funneled the lyrics into a chant and emphasized the pithy optimism of “We gon’ be alright.” The complete lyric, however, expresses a more honest reckoning with human failures in a precarious conditional statement: “I’m fucked up / Homie, you fucked up / But if God got us / Then we gon’ be alright.”3 Released on Good Friday, Lamar’s excellent fourth album, DAMN., finds the rapper looking to God again, and it becomes clear that Lamar’s “if” statement isn’t a question of existence, but rather of God’s willingness to intervene.
Lamar’s focus on God doesn’t have the gospel flair of Chance the Rapper, whose use of full choirs and Kirk Franklin features give his music a jubilant feeling.
/ Is it for the moment and will he see me as Job?
Lamar often sounds isolated on DAMN., the darkest release in the rapper’s discography.5 But he’s not offering a solipsistic worldview.
Much of Lamar’s message strikes the same chord as Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, the Motown singer’s landmark 1971 album.