DAMN. is both a snippy, semi-sweet statement and the title of Kendrick Lamar’s latest album. But as he revealed to Big Boy on Real 92.3 today, the album’s name was almost a lot longer. Not a string of expletives — though that would be fun — but instead, the original working title was What Happens on Earth Stays on Earth. Even Kendrick agrees, that’s too damn long and too damn deep. “It didn’t read right,” he says. (Also true.) So for brevity’s sake, he came up with a different meaning easier to encapsulate in a single word: “There was so many different ways you could put it in my head. 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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kendrick adopted the mind of a fan and subjectively ranked his own four albums from worst (which is still better than most) to best. For him it goes: Section.80, To Pimp a Butterfly, good kid, m.A.A.d. city, and DAMN. So the next time you’re in the crowd at a Kendrick Lamar concert screaming for his older work — especially “Bitch I’m in the Club,” which he’s now declared his “wackest” song — consider how much it pains him to have to hear it.