» News and Features » Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers- Track by Track review
Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers- Track by Track review
We check out the new album from Kendrick Lamar as the greatest rapper in the world returns.
Date published: 13th May 2022
'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is the latest album from Kendrick Lamar who has been accepted as the greatest rapper of his generation. After releasing so many..acclaimed albums already, the anticipation and hype for a new release is always at a fever pitch. We thought we'd give our first impressions on his latest album.
United in Grief
A stunted beginning gives way to scattered piano keys that hide beneath Kendrick's flow. Quickly easing into a lightning speed, it is an all-out attack from him on this first track. "I grieve different" is a line that stands out, stopping the music around it as if time itself had ceased. Going through the different times he has felt grief throughout his life, it turns into a poignant track.
The production of this song sounds effortlessly cool. It feels like you're a step behind Kendrick the entire time, he's fully controlling the listening experience. The chorus is incredibly satisfying. With verses coming and at you in a range of tempos, you can never quite tell what's coming next. "What the fuck is cancel culture" he declares.
There are lyrics here that suggest god-like proportions. The shuffling beat echoes on in the background and before you know it you're ina torrent of words that won't let up. This is the kind of album that will take multiple listens for you to learn the words. You'll likely find something new every single time.
Die Hard(feat Blxst and Amanda Reifer)
The beat on this track with the cowbell settles you instantly into the groove. It's that relaxed type of R&B that is made for long drives.
Father Time (Feat Sampha)
He brings Sampha on board for this one. This one sees Kendrick describing the environment he grew up in. It's a beautiful song that you simply don't want to end.
A couple of quick verses about going from nothing to being something.
A dark and foreboding beat undercuts Kendrick on this track, and the percussion feels absolutely perfect.
We Cry Together (feat Taylour Paige)
The gospel cries and brass instrumentals make for a gorgeous introduction to this song before it's quickly interrupted for the sounds of the real world. This is of course, the realm where Kendrick Lamar thrives the most. The way he has a back and forth with Taylour Paige is incredibly entertaining as they lay the blame at each other's doorsteps.
Purple Hearts (feat Summer Walker and Ghostface Killah)
The clash of instruments here makes it feel almost as if we're about to enter psychedelic territory. "Whole life been social distant" he says in a cheeky nod to recent times. He's singing the blessing of this person that he's met. Summer Walker and Ghostface Killah provide extra vocals on this one.
Count Me Out
Here Kendrick wants to right some of the wrongs he's done in his life. Describing himself as a complex soul, Kendrick doesn't see people as defined by their actions, they're defined by everything that they've been through.
The light touch of piano keys kicks this one off. So far the album has been diverse in its sounds, showing multiple facets of both hip-hop and R&B whilst also dipping into soul at times too. "Heavy is the head that chose to wear the crown" is one of this track's most important statements.
Silent Hill (Feat Kodack Black)
The groove on this track immediately hitting hard, it continues throughout. Kendrick recently had writer's block for a couple of years but when you hear songs like this then it was obviously a block that was burst dramatically.
This song discusses the way in which you see the world is informed by the things that happened to you, especially earlier in life. The strings play dramatically throughout. For an interlude, it's a song that actually makes a mark.
Savior (feat Baby Keem, Sam Dew)
The last track was merely a prelude to this one. It's made clear to us that we shouldn't see Kendrick as a saviour. The song goes all-out politically, calling out those who protest performatively, who pretend to fight against struggle but only do so once a year whereas those who are oppressed do it every day.
This song serves as a track that allies itself to trans struggles whilst Kendrick admits his own harmful use of prejudice and slurs in the past. It's a testament to the character of the rapper that he would own up to the mistake of the past and put them in such a heartfelt ode towards a community that is marginalised every day.
Mr. Morale (feat Tanna Leone)
Another thrilling track with a backing track that oscillates in a brilliant groove. The addition of Tanna Leone works perfectly, as have all of the guests who appear across the album.
Mother I Sober (Feat Beth Gibbons)
This is the most heartbreaking moment on the album as it explores the sexual assault that Kendrick's mother was subjected to. It also references slavery and can be an overwhelming listen at times. The chorus provided by Portishead's Beth Gibbons is suitably devastating in equal measure.
The album closer, it bides its time. "It's not about whose right or wrong" he declares. Mirror is a song that perfectly closes an album that has been an absolute journey.
Kendrick Lamar maintains his status as the greatest rapper around at the moment on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Enlisting an ensemble cast that helps him to define his vision perfectly, it has a wide range of sounds and emotions that make it a truly worthwhile journey. It's the kind of album you need to have repeat listens to in order to truly understand.
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