LOVE. is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar, from his fourth studio album Damn, released on April 14, 2017. The tenth track on the album, the song was written by Lamar, Zacari Pacaldo, Teddy Walton, Mark Spears a.k.a. Sounwave, Greg Kurstin, and Anthony Tiffith, and produced by DJ Dahi, Sounwave, Kurstin, and Tiffith.
The song features soul singer Zacari Pacaldo, who is one of three credited musicians on DAMN., the others being Barbadian singer Rihanna on “LOYALTY.” and Irish rock band U2 on “XXX.” The song was later sent to rhythmic radio as the album’s third single October 2, 2017.
“LOVE.” finds Kendrick Lamar musing on the woman in his life; presumably his fiancé Whitney Alford, whom he has been in a relationship with since his high school days. Kendrick uses this ballad to ask the essential questions to his partner to solidify the most important aspect of their relationship: love.
Kendrick has kept his relationship with Alford under wraps for a majority of his career. It wasn’t until very recently that word got out that he was engaged.
The title, theme, and smooth mood of “LOVE” completely juxtaposes the preceding song, “LUST” which is more abrasive. The titles themselves are complete contrasts, as the concept of “love” is the deep intimate emotion one feels for another, while “lust” encompasses all the physical and sexual desires. “Lust” is also one of the seven deadly sins.
[ZACARI] I think it was late last year, like toward the end of the year. When I played [the song] for Kendrick, he asked me to send it to him, and then we sent it to him. The very next day he was asking for stems to record. After he took the stems, he kind of just took off with it and killed it.
The song debuted at #18 on the Billboard Hot 100 dated 05.06.17 along with the rest of the songs from the album.