I feel weird writing about the same artist on consecutive days, but I woke up with the closing bars of this song in my head, and that’s what this is all about, after all.
I think my favorite rap songs are ones without a consistent hook. I like the just straight rapping, bars on bars style. DNA is the perfect example of that. He sticks with the theme, but never repeats himself.
This album has a lot to unpack thematically, but more than anything it’s an exploration of who Kendrick is and why, and where he comes from. DNA. as the first real song on the album (after the poetic skit of BLOOD.) hits hard, and acts almost as thesis for the rest of the album. Is Kendrick who he is because of this innate skill that’s in his blood, or is it his community that led him to be the greatest rapper of the modern era? It stands in stark contrast to the albums closer DUCKWORTH. (another fantastic straight rap song with no hook) which tells an amazing story about his father and his record producer, and how their lives were intertwined long before Kendrick was in the picture, closing the album with the thought “Whoever thought the greatest rapper/Would be from coincidence.”
There’s a lot to explore here, and the album as a whole can be picked apart in a million ways.
One thing that’s very interesting in this song is the tonal shift with the beat change about halfway through the song. In an interview with the producer Mike Will it was revealed that Kendrick recorded the first half with the beat, then once it had played out just kept rapping completely a capella. He then told Mike Will to make the beat around the second half of the song, which is why it doesn’t sound as consistent and rhythmic as the first part.
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Last time I heard it: Yesterday. After writing about ELEMENT. I listened to most of the album 🙂