By Hayden Wright
Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. is one of the year’s best-reviewed albums, but the rapper says there’s another way to experience the record: in reverse. Listening to DAMN. backwards rearranges the order of the cameos and restructures Kendrick’s journey through soul-bearing meditations on life and society. The next time you listen to DAMN., start with “Duckworth” and end with “Blood” for a mind-blowing new approach to Lamar’s fourth studio album.
Fans discovered that when they flipped the tracklist from bottom to top, both the narrative progress and musical texture of the album changes.
“I think, like, a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards,” Lamar told MTV News. “It plays as a full story and even a better rhythm. It’s one of my favorite rhythms and tempos within the album. It’s something that we definitely premeditate while we’re in the studio.”
While the way listeners experience the album changes in reverse, the content of Lamar’s story remains intact.
“I don’t think the story necessarily changes, I think the feel changes,” he said. “The initial vibe listening from the top all the way to the bottom is… this aggression and this attitude. You know, ‘DNA,’ and exposing who I really am. You listen from the back end, and it’s almost the duality and the contrast of the intricate Kendrick Lamar. Both of these pieces are who I am.”
Kendrick is scheduled to appear at this Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, where he’s up for eight awards including Video of the Year for “Humble” and Artist of the Year.