not going to go too much in depth, but for the time that i have been practically living with this album i like it a lot. however, i do believe that TPAB is a album better simply due to my musical preferences ( i think the argument between this album and TPAB is the same as “apples and oranges”). tracks that stand out to me are: “DNA.” (obviously), “YAH.” (i couldn’t keep this one off repeat all last week), “FEEL.”, “XXX.” (handclap to bono), and “FEAR.” (which i think is actually my favorite song). “DUCKWORTH.” also gets a notable mention because of 9th wonder and that story… damn.
while living with this album, i wondered why he decided to include backwards lyrics on the songs “FEAR.” and “DUCKWORTH.” i thought, “there has to be a reason… it’s kendrick.” diving even further, i was curious as to why “DUCKWORTH.” seems to rewind at the end and plays the beginning of “BLOOD.” (“so i was takin’ a walk the other day”). to cut the story short, i went thru videos on youtube of different channels’ interpretation of this album and stumbled upon this comment made by a viewer. kinda blew my mind. read for yourself.
“This album has 2 stories, wickedness story and weakness story, listening to it in order 1-14 tells one story, while listening to it 14-1 tells a different story. In one he lives through FEAR, in another one he lives through RAP and dies on the street, becoming just another news story, hence why the order 14-1 ends with the BLOOD’s Fox News sample. The cover shows 2 kendricks, a wicked red one, and a weak green one on the back. The reversed parts in the album are the hints of him telling us to “PUT IT IN REVERSE” Either way, the title works, in his life, growing up with a father and living “right” he still FEARS, because when we die, we leave everything behind, even if you are living right, an act of kindness can kill you as simply as that, as we are constantly reminded “WHAT HAPPENS ON EARTH STAYS ON EARTH!” even if he lives through RAP, the backwards order, he ends up dead in the street by an act of kindness, dying and leaving everything on earth all the same. That’s the meaning of DAMN, from the word DAMNATION, that once we die we are cursed to leave everything behind.”
what do you think? try it out. play the album starting from “DUCKWORTH.” and ending with “BLOOD.”. do you hear a different narrative? the album def tackles the themes of wickedness and weakness played from the front, but does it change perspective played backwards?
“is it wickedness? is it weakness? you decide. are we gonna live or die?”
or is it just me overthinking…?