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Kendrick Lamar's DAMN album: a collaborator playlist
By
Del Cowie

Published

April 14, 2017

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Kendrick Lamar’s new album, DAMN, was released earlier today, and while many music fans will be listening to, deciphering and digesting the Grammy-winning hip-hop artist’s latest project, it’s worth taking a look at the crop of talented people who helped him make it.

Over the course of Lamar’s recording career, he has worked with an impressive array of musicians from jazz stalwarts like Robert Glasper to pop divas like Taylor Swift, and DAMN is no less eclectic in this regard. While the new album shows Lamar collaborating with some new faces, it also features the Compton MC reconnecting with artists he has worked with before.

We’ve rounded up some of these artists, featuring a generous amount of Canadian content, to create your DAMN Kendrick Lamar playlist.

BadBadNotGood

The Toronto jazz trio is featured on the song “Lust.” The group tweeted about its involvement via Twitter.

 

BadBadNotGood have not worked with Lamar previously, but the group has a slew of hip-hop collaborations to its name. “Lavender,” another song the Toronto trio worked on with Montreal’s Kaytranada, was recently remixed by Snoop Dogg, but the original version from BadBadNotGood's 2016 album, IV, is a worthy playlist track in its own right.

Kaytranada

The Montreal-based Polaris Music Prize winner is also featured on "Lust," and he most recently collaborated with BadBadNotGood on the group's album IV. BBNG also worked on Kaytranada's numerically inclined album 99.9%.

According to Kaytranada, his involvement on the Lamar album includes his vocals, and he thanked BBNG for the opportunity to be on the record.

 

Steve Lacy

Lacy may not be a household name yet, but he is rapidly gaining acclaim from music lovers everywhere. The teenaged guitarist is a member of Grammy-nominated progressive R&B group the Internet, which features Syd as its lead singer. (Side note: the same Syd was featured in the Kaytranada collaboration above.)

Much like Syd, who released her solo debut, Fin, earlier this year, Lacy also recently released his own short solo project entitled Steve Lacy's Demo. Lacy appears on the Lamar track entitled "Pride."

Anna Wise

Anna Wise has been one of Lamar's key collaborators in recent years, appearing on the song "Money Trees" from his critically acclaimed good kid, maad city album as well as on "These Walls" from his Grammy-winning To Pimp a Butterfly.

Wise is also featured on the DAMN track "Pride," along with Lacy. Wise has been concentrating on her solo career, recently releasing the atmospheric projects The Feminine: Act I and The Feminine: Act II.

Terrace Martin

Jazz saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Terrace Martin has been another key Lamar collaborator in recent years, and was heavily involved with the jazz sound of To Pimp a Butterfly. Martin worked with Kamasi Washington, Lalah Hathaway, Robert Glasper and Thundercat on that album and the cast also reconvened on Martin's 2016 album Velvet Portraits.

Martin is credited on DAMN as appearing on the track "Loyalty," which also features Rihanna.

Rihanna

The aforementioned Rihanna has not previously worked with Lamar before this album, but she has worked with SZA, an R&B vocalist on her latest album Anti. SZA, along with Lamar, is signed to the Top Dawg Entertainment label.

U2

The only name bigger than Rihanna on DAMN's featured artist list is U2, who is credited on the song "XXX." The legendary Irish rockers are not particularly known for their hip-hop collaborations, but they have publicly supported the music in the past.

One of those occasions was when they performed "Sunday Bloody Sunday" in Berlin in 2009 outside the Brandenburg Gate, and invited Jay Z onstage to rap over the song.

9th Wonder

9th Wonder is a producer known for his work with artists including Little Brother, Destiny's Child, Erykah Badu and Jay Z, to name a few. However, in recent years he has focused on academia, teaching at Duke University and other U.S. institutions.

9th is still involved with music, and Rapsody — an artist whose songs 9th Wonder has produced — appeared on Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly. 9th Wonder announced his DAMN involvement on the song "Duckworth" (Lamar's real surname) via Twitter.

DJ Dahi

DJ Dahi is another longtime Lamar collaborator who came to prominence by producing "Money Trees" on good kid, maad city (and also notably helmed Drake's "Worst Behavior"). Dahi was one of four producers on Lamar's fiery "The Heart Part 4," the song/warning shot that served notice that DAMN was arriving in early April.

While "The Heart Part 4" does not appear on the album, as a close Lamar collaborator, DJ Dahi appears on several tracks on DAMN.

Mike Will I Made It

Mike Will I Made It is currently one of hip-hop's most successful producers coming off a banner year in 2016. Lamar enlisted him to produce DAMN's first single, "Humble," which is already Lamar's most successful single to date, mere weeks after its release.

Follow Del Cowie: @vibesandstuff

More to explore:

How Kendrick Lamar is influencing the shape of jazz to come

The Get Down playlist: listen to show composer Elliott Wheeler's picks

Thundercat: 5 songs that changed my life