DNA (Kendrick Lamar song)

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"DNA"
Song by Kendrick Lamar
from the album Damn
Released April 14, 2017
Recorded 2016
Genre
Length 3:06
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s) Mike Will Made It
Music video
"DNA" on YouTube

"DNA" (stylized as "DNA.") is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar from his fourth studio album Damn. Despite not being released as a single, the song received support at rhythmic radio after its official music video was released.[2] The second track on the album (thirteenth on the Collector's Edition of Damn[3]), it was written by Lamar, while the production was handled by Mike Will Made It.[1]

The song's music video was released on April 18, 2017, and features American actor Don Cheadle.[4]

Recording and production[edit]

"DNA" was the second song from Damn to be recorded by Lamar and Mike Will, after "Humble". After the first verse was recorded with the beat that Mike Will had already prepared, Lamar started rapping the second verse a capella, requesting that Mike Will build the beat around the rap. Lamar proposed that it sound like "chaos", and Mike Will put together the second half of the song with the intention to make it "sound like he's battling the beat".[5] The song samples a bit of Mary Jane by Rick James.

Critical reception[edit]

The song has been described as "the most virtuosic display" on Damn by Vice.[6] Entertainment Weekly praises the song as "technically peerless" and Lamar's "astonishing flow".[7] Music critic Neil McCormick, for The Telegraph calls "DNA", a "punchy electro mantra about identity".[8]

Billboard named "DNA" as the thirty-first best song of the year in their list of the 100 best songs of the year.[9]

Music video[edit]

The song's music video, directed by Nabil Elderkin and released on April 18, 2017, features American actor Don Cheadle.[4][10] The video, directed by Nabil and The Little Homies,[11] begins with Cheadle entering an interrogation room, where Lamar is being held captive and attached to a lie detector machine.[10] After Cheadle mocks Lamar,[12] he turns the machine on where he's shocked with Lamar's life force and begins rapping the track.[13] From here, Cheadle and Lamar switch back and forth from rapping the song, mirroring each other's movements along the way until Cheadle finally succumbs to Lamar and lets him go.[13] Afterwards, scenes of Lamar rapping alone along with some of his friends, including American rapper Schoolboy Q, follow.[12][14] The video ends with an extended outro for the song, as Schoolboy Q approaches and punches the camera in slow motion.[12][14][15] The video features the use of Chinese in the second half, with Kendrick subtitled "功夫肯尼" ("Kung Fu Kenny", an alternate name used throughout the Damn album) and Kendrick's crew being given "的家庭" (De jiātíng; "the family"). The Top Dawg Entertainment logo is presented alongside "顶级狗娱乐" (Dǐngjí gǒu yúlè, literally "top level dog entertainment").

Upon release, the music video received positive reviews from critics.[16][17]

Live performances[edit]

Lamar performed "DNA" at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 23, 2017.[18][19] Lamar has also performed "DNA" on the Damn tour.[20]. He also performed the song at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards.[21][22]

Usage in media[edit]

An unreleased version of the song, with a new verse, was used during ESPN's coverage of the 2017 NBA Finals, and Lamar also appeared in accompanying promos.[23] It was also used to introduce NBA Live 18 in promotional material. The song was also used as a part of Madden NFL 18’s soundtrack, along with NBA Live 18.

The song was featured in a Beats headphones commercial starring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.[24] The song was also featured in a Beats X commercial featuring DJ Khaled.[25]

The song was also featured on Apple’s HomePod smart speaker advertisement named “Beat”.

The song is featured in the first trailer for Creed II.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from the official Damn digital booklet.[1]

  • Kendrick Lamar – vocals, songwriter
  • Mike Will Made It – songwriter, producer
  • Matt Schaeffer – additional guitar
  • Derek Ali – mixing
  • Tyler Page – mix assistant
  • Cyrus Taghipour – mix assistant

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
France (SNEP)[49] Gold 75,000*
Italy (FIMI)[50] Gold 25,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[51] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[52] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Digital Booklet - DAMN. copy.pdf". DocDroid. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Rhythmic Airplay Adds". All Access. 
  3. ^ India, Lindsey (December 8, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar Surprises Fans With 'Damn.' Collector's Edition". XXL. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Watch Kendrick Lamar's New "DNA." Video Starring Don Cheadle | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  5. ^ Carmichael, Rodney (April 25, 2017). "How Mike WiLL Made-It And Kendrick Lamar Created The Year's Most Urgent Music". NPR Music. Retrieved April 26, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Buckle Up, Here's the Video for Kendrick Lamar's "DNA"". Noisey. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  7. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's DAMN. Is Solemn, Arresting, and Timely. We gave it an A". EW.com. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  8. ^ McCormick, Neil. "Kendrick Lamar is the star hip hop has been waiting for - Damn, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  9. ^ "Best Songs of 2017: Billboard's Top 100 Picks". Billboard. December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 17, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Kendrick Lamar Shares "DNA." Video Starring Don Cheadle". The FADER. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kendrick Lamar releases video for 'DNA.' co-starring Don Cheadle". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  12. ^ a b c "Kendrick Lamar Drops "DNA" Video Starring Don Cheadle". Highsnobiety. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  13. ^ a b "Watch Kendrick Lamar's Ruthless 'DNA' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  14. ^ a b "Kendrick Lamar drops new video for "DNA." starring Don Cheadle — watch". Consequence of Sound. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Releases "DNA." Video Starring Don Cheadle". Spin. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  16. ^ "Don Cheadle Interrogates Kendrick Lamar In The 'DNA' Video". UPROXX. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Brings the Aggression of "DNA." to Life". The Ringer. April 18, 2017. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  18. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Setlist at Coachella Festival 2017". setlist.fm. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  19. ^ "Kendrick Lamar sends off Coachella weekend 2 on a high note". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  20. ^ Masley, Ed (July 13, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar launches DAMN. Tour in Glendale with triumphant one-man show of force". AZ Central. Retrieved October 30, 2017. 
  21. ^ "Kendrick Lamar | 2018 GRAMMYs Performance". Grammy Award. January 28, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  22. ^ Fernandez, Matt (January 28, 2018). "Kendrick Lamar, U2, Dave Chappelle Open Grammys With Politically Charged Performance". Variety. Archived from the original on January 29, 2018. Retrieved April 1, 2018. 
  23. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's "DNA" Gets New Version for NBA Finals | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2017-08-04. 
  24. ^ "Tom Brady 2017 Beats by Dre Commercial". The Fashisonisto. September 17, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017. 
  25. ^ Beats by Dre (November 10, 2017), Beats by Dre | DJ Khaled | #BuiltForBosses, retrieved December 19, 2017 
  26. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association. April 24, 2017. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  27. ^ "ARIA Urban Singles Chart". ARIA. Retrieved April 30, 2017. 
  28. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kendrick Lamar – DNA." (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  29. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  30. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201716 into search. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  31. ^ "Track Top-40 Uge 16, 2017". Hitlisten. Retrieved April 26, 2017. 
  32. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 16, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  33. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Kendrick Lamar – DNA.". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  34. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  35. ^ "Classifica settimanale WK 16" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kendrick Lamar – DNA." (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  37. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. May 1, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  38. ^ "VG-lista – Kendrick Lamar / DNA". VG-lista. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  39. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Kendrick Lamar – DNA.". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  40. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  41. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201716 into search. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  42. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kendrick Lamar – DNA.". Singles Top 100. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  43. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Kendrick Lamar – DNA.". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  44. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  45. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  46. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  47. ^ "Canadian Hot 100 – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 17, 2017. 
  48. ^ "Hot 100 Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved December 12, 2017. 
  49. ^ "French single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – DNA" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved January 22, 2018. 
  50. ^ "Italian single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – DNA" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved April 9, 2018. 
  51. ^ "British single certifications". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved May 19, 2017.  Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. 
  52. ^ "American single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – DNA". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved June 7, 2018.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]