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Kendrick Lamar reveals DAMN.’s original title, ranks his own albums — watch

on June 29, 2017, 2:54pm

Photo by Catlin Miller

Earlier this morning, Kendrick Lamar stopped by Big Boy’s Real 92.3 morning radio show this morning to talk about his latest opus, DAMN. The Compton rapper dropped a number of interesting tidbits about his creative process, the work that went into the album, and fan theories.

Early on in the interview, K.Dot revealed that DAMN. wasn’t the record’s original title. At first, he wanted to call it What Happens On Earth Stays On Earth, a phrase Kid Capri repeats on “ELEMENT.” and “DUCKWORTH.” “There was so many different ways you could put it in my head,” Lamar explained of why he finally went with DAMN. “Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. The loudness of the record. When I think about ‘DNA.,’ when I think of ‘HUMBLE.,’ when I think these records, it just felt like that.”

(Incidentally, he also revealed the “ELEMENT.” video was shot on his recent 30th birthday, and “DUCKWORTH.” is the DAMN. track he revisits most of all.)

When asked about certain fan theories — like that DAMN. should actually be listened to in reverse order — Lamar was cagey. The one thing he did say was that the stories on the album “didn’t actually happen,” whatever that means. As for the persistent rumor that he had a secret companion album primed for release, the MC was a bit more forthcoming. “I had a… a selection of songs,” he revealed. “I don’t wanna call it an album, but it definitely made sense for DAMN..”

(Read: Whoa, Kendrick Lamar Miiiiiight Be Hip-Hop’s Radiohead)

That effort never materialized, but Lamar said he still has thousands of unreleased tracks, and hundreds more that were lost to the universe. In fact, he carries around a dead hard drive with over 500 songs on it just hoping it will come back to life someday. Big Boy offered to help find someone to recover the archive, but only in exchange for a free show.

Elsewhere, the hosts had the guts to ask Lamar to rank his own albums. The rapper was game, and put them in this order from worst to best: Section.80To Pimp a ButterflyGood Kid, M.A.A.D CityDAMN. “Because I think DAMN. is a hybrid of all these projects,” he explained. “It was me finally being able to take elements from… the message behind To Pimp a Butterfly, the sonics and beat slapping on Good Kid, and the rawness of just being able to do what I want like I did on Section.80… I take all three of these, it makes the hybrid of DAMN. for me.”

The nearly hour-long interview also touched on touring, hanging at the White House with former President Obama, and his “wackest” song ever (“Bitch I’m in the Club” — which, if that’s Kendrick Lamar at his worst, no one else has a chance). Watch the entire thing below.