Element (song)

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Song by Kendrick Lamar
from the album Damn
Recorded 2017
Studio Jungle City Studios
Genre Hip hop
Length 3:28
  • Sounwave
  • Blake
  • Riera
Music video
"Element" on YouTube

"Element" (stylized as "ELEMENT.") is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar, from his fourth studio album Damn, released on April 14, 2017. The fourth track on the album (eleventh on the Collector's Edition of Damn[2]), the song was written by Lamar, Mark Spears, a.k.a. Sounwave, James Blake, and Ricci Riera and produced by Sounwave, Blake, and Riera, with additional production by Tae Beast and Bēkon.[3] Although not released as a single, the song charted in multiple countries in 2017.


The song was first introduced by basketball player LeBron James on his Instagram story when he filmed himself dancing to the song prior to Damn's release.[4][5]


The track opens with a skit from DJ Kid Capri, who refers to Lamar as "Kung Fu Kenny" and repeats the phrase "I don't give a fuck" in a cadence.[6]

Some sources have interpreted the song as a diss track on American rappers Big Sean[7] and Drake.[6] However, Andres Tardio of Rap-Up has stated the song's hook as a possible diss on Drake, Big Sean, or American recording artist Jay Electronica.[8][7][6]

The second verse of the song has been described to have a resemblance to Lamar's "The Heart Part 4", a song also theorized to have contained lyrics that diss Drake and Big Sean.[6] The second verse as follows:

None of y’all fuckin’ with the flow, yeah, the flow, yeah
Years in the making, don’t ya’ll mistake it
I got ’em by a landslide, we talkin’ ’bout races
You know this’ll never be a tie, just look at they laces[5][6]


The song features production from musician and producer James Blake, who before "Element" appeared as a featured vocalist on American singer Beyoncé's song "Forward" from her sixth studio album Lemonade and as a producer on singer Frank Ocean's second studio album Blonde.[9] Ricci Riera, who previously worked as a producer on the Lamar-Schoolboy Q collaboration "Collard Greens", also worked as producer for the song.[9]

Music video[edit]

The song's accompanying music video premiered on June 27, 2017 on Lamar's Vevo channel on YouTube.[10] The video was directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies[11][12] (pseudonyms for Lamar himself and Dave Free).[13][14][15]

Described as violent[16] and powerful,[17] the music video contains powerful imagery, some of which contains direct references to photographs of civil rights photographer, musician, writer, and director Gordon Parks.[18][19] The video also mimics the imagery from the music video for "Humble", the first single from Damn.[20]

The music video has received positive reviews.[21] Lawrence Burney of noisey called the video "the masterpiece you anticipated."[21]

Critical reception[edit]

Joe Price of Pigeons and Planes named "Element" as one of the best songs of the week, the week of April 14, 2017, saying the song has "memorable verses and a sticky hook over some sparse but gorgeous production."[22] Continuing, Price says "Element" is "a prime example of what makes Damn an immediately appealing body of work that is just as rewarding as his more challenging output."[22] Meave McDermott of USA Today, in a positive review, said the song "still sounds sharp and unforgiving even when he's coining catchphrases."[4]

Live performances[edit]

Lamar performed "Element" for the first time live at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 23, 2017.[23][24][25][26] His performance at Coachella was highly acclaimed, with the L.A. Times describing his performance as "simple, yet powerful."[24]

Lamar has performed "Element" on the Damn tour.[27]


The song contains a sample of "Ha" by rapper Juvenile, from his third studio album 400 Degreez.[28][29]

Credits and personnel[edit]

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

  • Kendrick Lamar – songwriter
  • Mark Spears – songwriter, producer
  • James Blake – songwriter, producer
  • Ricci Riera – songwriter, producer
  • Tae Beast – additional production
  • Bēkon – additional production
  • Kid Capri – additional vocals
  • Matt Schaeffer – mixing
  • James Hunt – mixing
  • Derek Ali – mixing
  • Tyler Page – mix assistant
  • Cyrus Taghipour – mix assistant
  • Zeke Mishanec – additional recording
  • Brendan Silas Perry – additional recording



Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[45] Platinum 1,000,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b "Digital Booklet - DAMN. copy.pdf". DocDroid. Retrieved April 23, 2017. 
  2. ^ India, Lindsey (December 8, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar Surprises Fans With 'Damn.' Collector's Edition". XXL. Retrieved December 9, 2017. 
  3. ^ "Here's the full credit list for Kendrick Lamar's DAMN". FACT Magazine: Music News, New Music. April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  4. ^ a b McDermott, Maeve (April 14, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.': A track-by-track instant review". USA Today. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b Kendrick Lamar – ELEMENT., retrieved April 24, 2017 
  6. ^ a b c d e Castro, Danilo (April 14, 2017). "Did Kendrick Lamar Take Shots At Big Sean & Drake On His New Album 'DAMN'?". Heavy.com. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  7. ^ a b Gallagher, Caitlin. "Did Kendrick Lamar Diss Big Sean On "Element"? Fans Have Major Suspicions". Bustle. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  8. ^ Tardio, Andres (April 20, 2017). "14 Times Kendrick Lamar Made Us Say 'DAMN.' on His Album". Rap-Up. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  9. ^ a b "Kendrick Lamar's 'Damn.': A Track-by-Track Guide". Rolling Stone. April 14, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  10. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Drops 'Element' Video". XXL. Retrieved June 27, 2017. 
  11. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Brawls in the Street in Powerful New Video for "Element"". Complex. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  12. ^ "Watch Kendrick Lamar Weigh Peace, Violence in Striking 'Element' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  13. ^ Craighead, Olivia (June 27, 2017). "Drake Announces 2017 OVO Fest Lineup". The FADER. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  14. ^ Yoo, Noah (June 27, 2017). "Watch Kendrick Lamar Brawl in Intense New "ELEMENT." Video | Pitchfork". pitchfork.com. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  15. ^ Gotrich, Lars (June 27, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar Deals Heavy Blows In Video For 'ELEMENT.'". NPR.org. Retrieved June 29, 2017. 
  16. ^ Moore, Sam (June 27, 2017). "Watch Kendrick Lamar's violent new video for 'ELEMENT.' - NME". NME. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  17. ^ Cowen, Trace William (June 27, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar Brawls in the Street in Powerful New Video for "Element"". Complex. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  18. ^ Dandridge-Lemco, Ben (June 27, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar's "ELEMENT." Video Referenced Iconic Gordon Parks Photos". The FADER. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  19. ^ Rife, Katie (June 28, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar pays tribute to a pioneer in sublime "Element" video". Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  20. ^ Blistein, Jon (June 27, 2017). "Watch Kendrick Lamar Weigh Peace, Violence in Striking 'Element' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  21. ^ a b Burney, Lawrence (June 27, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar's "Element" Video Is the Masterpiece You Anticipated". Noisey. Retrieved July 18, 2017. 
  22. ^ a b Price, Joe. "Best Songs of the Week - Kendrick Lamar - "Element"". PigeonsandPlanes. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  23. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Performs 'Element,' 'i' and More at 2017 Coachella - XXL". XXL Mag. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  24. ^ a b "Kendrick Lamar sends off Coachella weekend 2 on a high note". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  25. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Setlist at Coachella Festival 2017". setlist.fm. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  26. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Commands Coachella Stage on Day 3 of Final Weekend, Hans Zimmer Rocks, Justice Light it Up". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  27. ^ 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. 
  28. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's 'ELEMENT.' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  29. ^ "Every Sample On Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.'". YouTube. Genius. April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017. 
  30. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Kendrick Lamar – Element." (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  31. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  32. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Digital Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201716 into search. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  33. ^ "Le Top de la semaine : Top Singles Téléchargés – SNEP (Week 16, 2017)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved April 22, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Kendrick Lamar – Element.". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  35. ^ "IRMA – Irish Charts". Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved April 21, 2017. 
  36. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Kendrick Lamar – Element." (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
  37. ^ "NZ Top 40 Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. May 1, 2017. Retrieved April 28, 2017. 
  38. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Kendrick Lamar – Element.". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  39. ^ "SNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 201716 into search. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  40. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Kendrick Lamar – Element.". Singles Top 100. Retrieved October 24, 2017.
  41. ^ "Kendrick Lamar: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  42. ^ Mendizabal, Amaya (April 24, 2017). "Kendrick Lamar's 'DAMN.': All 14 Tracks Hit Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017. 
  43. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved April 25, 2017.
  44. ^ "Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs: Year-End 2017". Billboard. Billboard.com. Retrieved 2017-12-11. 
  45. ^ "American single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – Element". 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]