Kendrick Lamar Confirms That You Can Play ‘DAMN.’ Backwards

Source: MTV

Hip-hop fans turn into sleuths whenever a new Kendrick Lamar project drops. 

Lamar has a tendency to craft albums that have multiple layers to them. And DAMN. wasn’t different. When the LP dropped in April, fans quickly examined the project, trying to deconstruct the themes, motifs, and hidden messages in the album.

READ: Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Element’ Owes Itself To Famed Black Photographer Gordon Parks

One of the more popular theories is the idea that DAMN. as an album works just as well chronologically as it does backward, sonic and in story wise. In a new interview with MTV — celebrating his appearance at the VMAs this Sunday — Lamar confirms the backwards theory.   

“I think like a week after the album came out, [fans] realized you can play the album backwards…It plays as a full story and even a better rhythm… It’s something that we definitely premeditate while we’re in the studio.”

Kendrick says that while yes the album can be played backwards it doesn’t mean the story on the album changes:

“I don’t think the story necessarily changes, I think the feel changes…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.”

WATCH: Kendrick Lamar And Rihanna Play With Death In “LOYALTY.” Music Video

In the clip, which is about 13 minutes, Kendrick also talked about the visuals around the singles from his album, from “HUMBLE.” to “LOYALTY.” More importantly, he talked about the Gordon Parks influence on the video for “ELEMENT” (something we wrote about).

Watch the interview below.

Dimas Sanfiorenzo

Dimas Sanfiorenzo is the Managing Editor for Okayplayer. He specializes in coverage centered around music, pop culture, and politics. Email:

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