Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers Album Review

Kendrick’s penmanship has obviously always been some of the best in the world. The way he can tell stories with intricate detail yet with hidden meanings as well is incredible. Here, even after a long break, he proves he is still at the top of his game.

The fifth studio album from the legendary rapper Kendrick Lamar is here. After four years of barely any music from Kendrick, he’s come back with a self-reflective masterpiece. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is an album you’re going to want to pay full attention to in order to experience it in its full glory. Even then, you’ll need to listen to it repeatedly to grasp some of the deep themes hidden within the lyrics that the genius himself has bestowed upon us.

 

Notable Tracks and Their Stories

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a double album in fact. Split into two halves of nine songs each making it altogether a 73 minutes experience. Some of the many themes involve religion, infidelity in relation to him and his relationships, gender identity-related issues, fatherhood, and more.

The first song of the first part is titled United in Grief and you’re immediately transported into Kendrick’s world. It’s somewhat of a self-reflective track in which he looks back on his almost two-decade career now. The beginnings and the hardships combined with the mental health problems are all explored here. On the fourth track, Father Time Kendrick talks thoroughly about ‘daddy issues’ and how the way his father treated him impacted his view of the world. Themes of masculinity and the anger that comes with such a toxic childhood home are also rapped about. Rich Spirit talks about mortality, human flaws, and loyalty. The chorus of the song talks about how difficult it is to keep a balance in your life once you have a lot of money.

On the eighth and perhaps the most important track of the entire album, We Cry Together, Kendrick and actress Taylour Paige have somewhat of a conversation that is full of rage and emotion the likes of which you never hear anywhere. The way Kendrick wrote this dispute and put all his listeners in the middle of it is beyond mesmerizing.

The second half tracklist starts from the tenth song Count Me Out in which Kendrick reflects on a past relationship and how that affected his growth. Later, Silent Hill is worth mentioning as an old-school flat-out banger. Undeniably though, the most talked-about song from the album so far has been the fifteenth track, Auntie Diaries, in which Kendrick reflects on transphobia in relation to his trans family members.

 

Album’s Reception

Kendrick’s albums are always very well received for good reason. Pretty much every review site has given it an overwhelmingly positive score, including Metacritic where it has an 89 out of 100 score.

By all accounts, Kendrick still holds firmly his throne of king of rap as of right now. His lyricism is simply unmatched. Though certainly far from an easy listen, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers has once again proved Kendrick Lamar’s genius. It may be a long and harrowing listen, but it’s a worthwhile one. Seldom do you feel like a changed person when you listen to an album, but such is the case for so many people here. This really is a milestone in every cultural sense. Huge themes require a specific kind of thoughtful artist to be able to get through, and that’s exactly who Kendrick Lamar is. When he tackles something you best believe he knows what he’s talking about. Considering his discography is masterful from beginning to end, for some this may not be his best album ever, but it’s definitely up there.

 

You can listen to Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers on any music streaming service (Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) anywhere you are, right now.

 

Photo: Tinseltown/Shutterstock

 


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