Kendrick Lamar has proven many times over that he is a different caliber of emcee. His album run over the last decade gives credence to that. As an artist he allows himself to evolve and he unselfishly shares with his supporters. His latest offering MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS is a well balanced meal in a music industry that has been serving up fast food since the advent of streaming.
Before sharing this project with the masses Kendrick released a picture showing himself holding two CD’s as if to signal that this is how the album would be presented. That clue was right on target. MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS is a double release chock full of stories of personal growth and short comings.
You’d be hard pressed to find another artist in recent times who’s transparency and development is translated so well in the work they produce. MR. MORALE & THE BIG STEPPERS is where we find Kendrick the parent who has gained perspective while understanding the impact of his past. It is because of this impact that he sets out for a healing.
This album is therapeutic and spiritual. The appearance of the spiritual teacher Ekhart Tolle speaks clearly to the direction Kendrick means to take. These are not your favorite auto tune rappers bars. With that said Kodak Black makes his appearance as a narrator, rapper and poet and it is seamless.
The album is so lyrically dense that hearing something new after each listen is expected. The amount of meticulous effort that went into crafting this project is surprising. Considering that this is his final release with his former label Top Dawg Entertainment it’s interesting to see that he didn’t just phone something in to meet contractual obligations. If this is how he ended his relationship with TDE it is exciting to think about what Kendrick’s new creative agency pgLang will be sharing with the world.
The recommendation is that the listener experiences this album exactly how it is sequenced. Every bar is intentional and strikes a cord from the most basic human emotion. Kendrick takes his brush a paints a picture with 2022 sensibilities. Topics such as therapy, cancel culture, sexual abuse, relationships and fatherhood weave in and out. No topic is off limits. Kendrick is his most fearless on this album and that is what makes it such a solid release.
I’m not throwing the classic term out there just yet. However; if we are being honest this is the exact project we need at this moment in time.
Kendrick may have given us his magnum opus.
Stand out tracks are
“We Cry Together”
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