Kendrick Lamar – DAMN. (Drum Beats Transcription)

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most important hip-hop artists of this decade. His album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) was fully acclaimed by the critics and the next DAMN. (2017) won the Pulitzer Prize for Music. This album presents an introspective Lamar and important collaborations with artists as U2, Rihanna, James Blake, and Zacari. Combining drum machines with groovy bass lines (the bass on “FEEL.” was recorded by Thundercat), the beats of the tracks create a connection between the past and the future: old-school rap meets trap music. The extraordinary and deep lyrics tell the full story of this masterpiece, with some of Lamar’s best writing and performances.

Here are the transcriptions of some of the most remarkable drum beats of the album.


The great flow of Lamar is accompanied by a 16th note groove, the open and closed hi-hat and the bass drum pattern provide a hip-hop/trap beat.

Kendrick Lamar DNA


This is one of my favorite tracks. The main groove for “FEEL.” is a Bossa nova, a loop of two bars repeated until the end (with some variations). The cymbal pattern is also played on the ride, overdubbed on the recording.

Kendrick Lamar Feel
kendrick lamar feel drum transcription


“HUMBLE.” is an old-school rap song with a trap beat. Putting together the hi-hat and the bass drum part can be tricky, keep on drumming!

Kendrick Lamar Humble


Featuring Bono Vox on vocals, and written with the collaboration of the Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen Jr., the interlude of this song (02:34) has a brilliant slow groove, something you can play for an hour without stopping. Listen carefully to the original song to understand the beautiful feel of this groove.

Kendrick Lamar XXX

Here you can download the pdf file including all the transcriptions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.