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Listen to U2 on Kendrick Lamar’s New ‘XXX.’

Kevin Winter / Bryan Bedder, Getty Images
Kevin Winter / Bryan Bedder, Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar‘s highly anticipated new DAMN. album is now in stores — including “XXX.,” a track featuring surprising contributions from the members of U2.

As previously reported, U2’s credit on the DAMN. LP raised eyebrows when it was announced earlier this week; the band is one of only two guests to earn a “featuring” designation on the track listing, with the other being Rihanna, who appears on the song “LOYALTY.” Happily for Lamar’s fans, “XXX.” sounds very much like a collaborative effort, with the group working within the rapper’s distinctively eclectic sonic palette.

Rather than a hip-hop track with Joshua Tree overtones, “XXX.” is utterly of the moment, and whatever U2’s contributions may have been, they sound thoroughly organic; listeners may not even notice the band until Bono comes in partway through the politically charged track, singing a refrain that pointedly observes “You close your eyes to look around.”

Lamar, a critical and commercial sensation since making his breakthrough with Good Kid, M.A.A.D City in 2012, scored a Grammy-winning smash with his previous official full-length album, 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. DAMN.‘s first single, “HUMBLE,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

U2, meanwhile, continue to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their watershed Joshua Tree LP with a deluxe reissue and a retrospective world tour. The group’s next album, Songs of Experience, remains on the back burner while the group’s on the road, with current plans calling for a late 2017 release and a tour in support of the new set next year.

Listen to U2 on Kendrick Lamar’s “DAMN.”

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Next: The Story Behind Every 'Joshua Tree' Song

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