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The King Kendrick Version: 10 Biblical Elements From ‘DAMN.'

Kendrick’s ongoing relationship with religion goes to new feats on the glowing album.

Kendrick Lamar’s religious references in his discography have always shined. On his latest album, DAMN., the rapper takes his ongoing relationship with big homie to the new heights with religious references spread out over 14 tracks.

As Genius points out, the Old Testament God is the topic lingering through Kendrick’s mind, as he pinpoints some of life’s biggest gripes like revenge, betrayal, temptation and wealth. Kendrick is aware of his value, but it hasn’t stopped him from speaking to those close to him like his cousin Carl Duckworth, who plays a vital role in feeding the rapper a new religious perspective.

READ: Kendrick Lamar's Album Had VIBE's Staff Yelling 'DAMN.'

His thoughts on Black Israelites and Book of Deuteronomy ring through the project, a far cry from his previous Christianity proclamations on good kid, m.A.A.d city and To Pimp A Butterfly.

DAMN. is a lot to process, but while you do, check out some of the religious references heard on the project.

-with additional reporting by Camille Augustin

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“DNA.”

“I was born like this, since one like this/Immaculate conception/I transform like this, perform like this/Was Yeshua's new weapon”

Corresponding Element:
Kendrick addresses Mary Mother of God, also known as the Virgin Mary. Given that Mary is considered be without sin, this righteous track puts forward Kendrick’s humble brag that he could be seen in the same light as her. He also mentioned Yeshua (Jesus), hinting his alliance to the figure.

"YAH."

"My cousin called, my cousin Carl Duckworth/ Said know my worth/ And Deuteronomy say that we all been cursed."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Deuteronomy 28:45 - "All these curses will come on you. They will pursue you and overtake you until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the Lord and your God and observe the commands and decrees he gave you."

"FEEL."

"The world is endin', I'm done pretendin.'"

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Revelations 1:3 - "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near."

"LOYALTY."

"Anybody you would die for? That's what God for."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

"PRIDE."

"I don't love people enough to put my faith in men."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Jeremiah 17:5-6 - "Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the Lord. He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land."

"LUST."

"Lately, in James 4:4 says/ Friend of the world is enemy of the Lord/ Brace yourself, lust is all yours."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
James 4:4 - "You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God."

"XXX."

"To the spiritual, my spirit do no better, but I told him/ 'I can't sugarcoat the answer for you, this is how I feel/ If somebody kill my son, that mean somebody gettin' killed.'"

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Leviticus 24:19-22: "And whoever causes an injury to a neighbor must receive the same kind of injury in return: Broken bone for broken bone, eye for eye, tooth for tooth."

"FEAR."

"All this money, is God playin' a joke on me?/ Is it for the moment, and will he see me as Job?/ Take it from me and leave me worse than I was before?"

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Job 6:9 - "That God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut off my life!"

"Fear, what happens on Earth stays on Earth/ And I can't take these feelings with me/ So hopefully they disperse."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Colossians 3:2 - "Keep your mind on things above, not on worldly things."

"GOD."

"Everything I touch is a damn gold mine."

Corresponding Bible Verse:
Ezekiel 28:4 - "With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures."

Stream DAMN. here.

READ: Reactions To Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN.’ Are Positively Comical

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J.Cole, Teyana Taylor And Other Snubs Of The 2019 Grammy Nominations

It's that time of year again when inner circles and strangers on the Internet debate who's up for a gramophone.

On Friday (Dec. 7), the nominees for 2019's Grammy Awards (Feb. 10) were announced to a span of hot takes, early but informed predictions, and a wall of confusion as to why certain artists were overlooked. While some entertainers excitedly received the good news (Cardi B discovered her nods while leaving a courthouse), others were left scratching their heads.

Here's a look at why those who were snubbed by the Recording Academy deserved to be nominated.

READ MORE: Drake, Kendrick Lamar, And Cardi B Lead 2019 Grammys Nominations

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5 Stories From Meek Mill's #CRWN Conversation That Flew Under The Radar

Meek Mill made his return to Elliot Wilson's #CRWN conversation on Sunday (Dec. 2) for an in-depth discussion of Championships, his behind-bars experience and prison reform.

Live from New York City’s Playstation Theatre, the stage was set with two throne-like chairs as Mill and Wilson's fans began to swarm through the packed house. Loaded with fans from Philly, Jersey and NYC alike, the crowd was buzzing in anticipation for Meek’s grand arrival. Introduced by Wilson, the veteran journalist briefed in-house and live-streamed listeners with his relationship with the Philly rapper, discussing the many times the two have linked “from the MMG days to now.”

“It’s just amazing to see how he’s continued to fight this adversity and continued to deliver great music,” says Wilson, engaging in a back and forth conversation with the crowd. “When you put out a title and say you’re going to name your album Championships, you better deliver,” Wilson continues. “And he delivered.”

Appearing on stage sporting a mid-length fur coat and glistening jewels, Meek and Wilson exchange a quick embrace as the live audience jumps to its feet to welcome their champion. Taking his experience to lean into activism, Meek engaged in a 90-minute conversation with the journalist, answers fan-questions and candidly tell his story as he sees fit.

But as tabloid fate would have it, one of the sole stories to come out of the meaningful conversation was his awkward date with then-girlfriend Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z and Beyonce. The memories Meek decided to share like adorable moments with his son, his newfound position in the battle for criminal justice reform and recording Championships fell to the wayside.

But don't fret. Here are some other memorable moments from the interview.

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1. Meek's Best Day in Jail Included a Visit From Kevin Hart

Meek's final day in jail was similar to the others. He woke up, successfully avoided jail food by making his morning oatmeal and knew his day was heading in a good direction when he won five consecutive ping pong games against his daily opponent– who want the smoke?

After heading back to his cell, Meek's day got a whole lot better when Kevin Hart and 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin had pulled up on him by surprise. "They come on the block and I was like, 'Man come in my cell and see how this sh*t look,'" Meek starts. "So Kevin Hart and Mike, they come in the cell and they like 'It's not that bad,' they tryna make me feel good, I'm like 'The hell you mean it's not that bad? I got my boxers hanging up on the f**king string'" the rapper jokingly recalls. After the much-needed hour-long visit, Meek returned to his daily jailhouse activities when he learned that he would be released from jail within hours. What a day.

2. Friends and Family Would Send Him IG Post Printouts Through Mail

When Meek packed his cell to go home, he had over 10,000 photos to sift through since his tribe brought the world of Instagram to him through the mail. "I used to tell everybody like, 'Yo, just send me everything that's going on on Instagram, I wanna see everything that's  going on in life.'"

The rapper separated his photos by importance, keeping the photos of his family in a separate pile with his other pile (filled with pictures of all the IG models and famous ladies) holding a different level of importance to those who stood behind bars with him. "It was valuable cause some guys in there they got 25 years in this s**t, they ain't never see the fake a**es yet and the girls with the new bodies, so you know, they all in my cell like, 'What's up with these pictures?'"

3. He Purposely Steered Away From Lending Tekashi 6ix9ine Advice

While breaking down Championships cut "Respect the Game," Meek spoke on hip-hop's freshman class including Tekashi 6ix9ine, Lil Durk and YoungBoy NBA. "[Tekashi] used to be poppin' so much sh*t on Instagram, I be like 'I don't even wanna say nothing to this young boy, this young boy start sayin' all this crazy sh*t to me on the internet," he joked.

On a more serious note, Meek speaks on the real issue he had with 6ix9ine, sharing his concern for the 22-year-old's habits in starting drama with some of hip-hop's most dangerous faces. "With my music, I wanted to reach all of 'em," he said, explaining how when the music speaks for itself, you don't need to ensue controversy to sell records.

4. His 7-Year-Old Son Already Has a Rapper Name

Give it 10 years and we might see Meek Mill's son on the Billboard charts. Answering a fan question about "Lil Drip," Meek clarifies that Lil Drip is actually his son Papi's, rapper name. "Sometimes I be in the studio I be like 'Yo, I give you $500 if you go in the booth and rap right now and he just go in the booth and lay it.'" Sampling a few adorable bars, Meek reveals that his son consistently shocks him with his material, bringing up some of the most trivial experiences he's shared with Meek.

"He be like, 'Private jet/ Who I met/ Ben Simmons/ That's a bet,'" spits Meek, referring to a previous birthday trip he's taken with Papi.

5. Jay-Z's Verse on "What's Free" Was a Pivotal Moment in Meek's Career

A Jay and Meek collaboration has been a long time coming. In Meek's promotional single "Stay Woke" featuring Miguel, the rapper spits, "When I talked to Em and Hov, they said, "I'm proud of you/ You stood tall back when everyone doubted you"/ My reply is, "I did what I gotta do/ And I need that verse 'fore you retire too."

During the conversation, Meek speaks on "What's Free" with Rick Ross and Jay-Z, remembering the first time he heard Jay's 44 bar verse. "When I got it back I was in the bathroom, I was just standing in the mirror listening to it," he says while bopping his head, fully immersing himself in the moment.

"I represent the path that HOV created," Meek tells Wilson. "I always wanted that Jay-Z feature and he came through this time, shout out to HOV."

Stream the entire conversation here.

READ MORE: Meek Mill Recalls Awkward Double Date With Jay-Z, Beyonce, And Nicki Minaj

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Meek Mill, Ari Lennox, More Included On VIBE Picks 12/6

With a busy year of music coming to an end, there are still some artists who want to make their mark: Meek Mill dropped his hotly-anticipated fourth LP Championships, Ski Mask the Slump God released his long-awaited debut STOKELY, and Dreamville brought heat to the star-studded Creed II soundtrack – and that's just scratching the surface. Check below to see the songs that the VIBE staff is bumping this week.

“The Man Who Has Everything,” Chance The Rapper Christmas music is usually unimpressive to me – the topics come across as contrived and corny, and I’m not inclined to listen to a song for only one month of the year. But Chance The Rapper may change my tune with “The Man Who Has Everything,” one of his two November drops. Over a leisurely soundbed, Chano has things that he’s grateful for, like his family, a home, and material perks like cars, but he isn’t fronting like it’s a worry-free holiday. The song also portrays hopes to eradicate racism with imagery of shredded confederate flags, and gets personal with revelations about missing Noname (who he addresses by her birth name, Fatima) and feeling awkward about arranging a prenuptial agreement with his future wife. “The Man Who Has Everything” captures gratitude and seasonal depression in one swoop, making a song that captures the Christmas spirit honestly. In his recent interview with the Joe Budden Podcast, Chance said that his Christmas album with Jeremih was slept on; I may have to give it a shot. – William E. Ketchum III

“Trauma,” Meek Mill | Championships Meek Mill’s new album Championships has two of the biggest songs of the year, with “What’s Free” going viral because of Jay-Z’s verse and “Going Bad” getting attention because of Meek’s reunion with Drake. But don’t let the star power distract from “Trauma,” one of the most memorable songs from the record. Just like on the similarly-titled “Traumatized” from his 2012 debut Dreams and Nightmares, Meek poignantly recounts the violence and drug addiction that he witnessed in his childhood. But this time, with his new position as the face of prison reform, he illustrates how his Philly streets and his recent legal troubles are tied into a scheme of systemic racism. “In the 13th amendment, it don't say that we kings. They say that we legally slaves if we go to the bing,” he proclaims. Adding a social justice edge to the harrowing street narratives that he has already built a reputation gives Meek Mill a chance to make music that will stand the test of time.  – William E. Ketchum III

“Shea Butter Baby,” Ari Lennox and J. Cole |  Creed II: The Movie Dreamville brought quiet storm vibes to the Creed II soundtrack. The label’s sole songbird Ari Lennox commands the mind with soothing vocals over the Elite and Mike Will Made It-produced track. Her confident narration of black love does wonders for the film’s b-side love story (Adonis and Bianca) while Cole blissfully submits to his own Shea Butter Baby. – Desire Thompson

“Nuketown” Ski Mask the Slump God feat. Juice WRLD | STOKLEY If you ever wondered what screamo rap sounds like in 2018, peep what Ski Mask the Slump God and Juice WRLD pulled off on “Nuketown.” The song is just as explosive as its title thanks to the guys parting the waves of shiny rap to make room for ripping mostpits. But the Florida MC also showcases a quick and edible flow on his debut album while Juice WRLD adds more fuel to the fire. – Desire Thompson

"Good Girl" - Tiffany Gouche feat. Masego Tiffany Gouche's voice is the best kind of blanket. Well-worn with holes and loose threads here and there, it's the fuzzy sort that, without fail, will warm you to the core each time you swaddle in it. Time and time again, Gouche steps to the microphone with proof of all that is right with R&B in 2018. Her seductive new lust song "Good Girl," released to the world just as East Coast temperatures started to dip, does not stray from the sonic track record she has established for herself. After enlisting her for "Queen Tings" on his Lady, Lady debut album, trap-jazz savant Masego has returned the favor by complementing Gouche's cocoa rich vocals with satin soft coos of his own. Trust us, you'll want to slow down for a minute to savor these sounds. – Stacy-Ann Ellis

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