Kendrick Lamar's "XXX": A Sonic Manifesto Of Modern Turmoil

BYAxl Banks2.0K Views
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via Interscope/TDE

Kendrick Lamar and Bono teamed up for an underrated highlight from "DAMN."

Kendrick Lamar's song "XXX" (pronounced X-Rated) from his critically acclaimed album DAMN. is a sonic journey that delves deeper into the themes found across his fourth studio album, specifically those surrounding politics and religion. With a feature from the legendary Irish rock band U2, this track is a standout moment in the album, one that doesn’t necessarily receive the credit it deserves. Although the collaboration may have looked odd on paper, Kendrick Lamar and U2 delivered a poignant message that arrived towards the latter half of DAMN.

Produced by Mike WiLL Made-It and DJ Dahi, "XXX" boasts a unique and unconventional sound that mirrors the chaotic and uncertain times of 2017. The song opens with Bēkon’s hauntingly somber vocals (Bēkon later re-purposed this intro on “America) that reflect on the realities of the American Dream. However, it’s the minimalistic production that leads Kendrick Lamar’s first verse that allows each word to pierce through. He parallels biblical stories to the experiences he faced growing up in Compton as a child, specifically as it pertains to surviving the often volatile environment U2's Bono lends his distinctive voice to the bridge, adding an unexpected but powerful layer to the track, crooning, "It's not a place, this country  is to me a sound / Of drum and bass, you close your eyes to look around."

Read More: A Track-By-Track Analysis Of Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN."

Kendrick Lamar & U2’s Powerful Thesis To DAMN.

The significance of "XXX" lies in its lyrical content, which delves into themes of social injustice, racial tension, and political disillusionment. Kendrick Lamar, known for his thought-provoking and socially conscious lyrics, paints a vivid picture of the divisive state of the United States and the effects it has on its citizens. The song explores the idea of "wickedness or weakness," suggesting that individuals are constantly tested by their environment and must decide whether to fight against corruption and inequality or succumb to it.

One of the most striking elements of "XXX" is its abrupt shift in the middle, where Kendrick's flow changes, and he discusses his own struggle with violence and revenge, reflecting the inner turmoil faced by many people living in dangerous environments. This change of pace adds depth to the song, showcasing Kendrick's storytelling prowess.

Read More: Kendrick Lamar's "DAMN." (Review)

Conclusion 

In conclusion, Kendrick Lamar's "XXX" from DAMN. is a groundbreaking track that poignantly highlights the profound exploration of societal issues. Its unconventional sound, poignant lyrics, and collaboration with U2 create a powerful and thought-provoking experience.

About The Author
Axl Banks is a passionate pop culture and music writer with a deep love for hip-hop and internet culture. With a keen eye for trends and a knack for storytelling, Axl offers fresh insights and engaging narratives surrounding music and online phenomena.