Review: Kendrick Lamar is darn good on new album

Two years since the release of his Grammy Award-winning "To Pimp a Butterfly," Kendrick Lamar is back with an album as bold and declarative as its title: "DAMN." And while Lamar grapples with familiar subject matter — God, violence, survival and self-worth among them — the energy has shifted away from the jazz, funk-filled sound of his previous studio set.

Sonically, that much is clear with lead single "HUMBLE.," which begs repeat play, thanks in part to an irresistibly dark piano and bass-heavy beat from producer Mike WiLL Made It, who also has a hand in the new album's "DNA." and U2-assisted "XXX."

The latter is one of...