In the past five years, Kendrick has become increasingly conservative in the public eye. praise Curse. It earned him a Pulitzer Prize, making him the first rapper to receive this prestigious award. Then he sponsored Black Panther: The Album Another gold star in its growing catalog. It felt as if Kendrick couldn’t miss it, even if he wanted to. Despite all the praise he’s received over the years, Mr. Morale and Big Steppers It is a testament that there is little satisfaction in external verification if it comes at the cost of peace of mind.
“I went through something. 1,855 days. I went through something,” Kendrick said deadlocked in the album opening, “United in Sorrow.” At every moment his silence is criticized as controversy erupts in the culture, Kendrick Lamar takes these issues head-on. Kendrick stands firm on songs like “N95” and “The Savior,” addressing the hypocrisy of capitalism and performative activism throughout the past two years of the pandemic. Kendrick mocks political decency but not as a means of rebellion or emotion. Whether it’s a dichotomy of mask mandates, a vaccine, or systemic inequality, there is a safety net of opinions that many are too afraid to oppose. Across the project, Kendrick argues that the status quo impedes important conversations that can ultimately lead to personal and societal recovery. At the same time, it parallels how censorship and abolition of culture have revoked the poetic licensing of many artists. Kendrick is ready to fight for it.
Self-care and healing are the central forces via the double disc effort. His notes on race, sexuality, spirituality, and gender roles are carefully woven together as a one hour and 18 minute therapy session. Mr. Morale and Big Steppers Offers unsettling insight into Kendrick’s otherwise protected personal life, as he captures the highest levels of success and celebrity through the split between Kendrick Lamar rap singerKendrick Lamar the person. Mr. Morale and Big Steppers Combines intensity to pimp a butterflyBiographical novel, Good kid, mAAd city, liquidity Curse. , and the social commentary of Section 80 To form Kendrick’s most personal album to date, as well as his most difficult albums. The cover art for the project says the same with Kendrick’s fiancée, Whitney Alford, carrying their newborn son and Kendrick carrying his eldest daughter with a diamond-encrusted crown of thorns on his head and a gun tucked behind his pants. It is the voices of Whitney and their daughter across the project that convey home the urgency of Kendrick taking care of his family life above all else.
As a father, there is an inherent need to protect his family that goes beyond the immediate threats that come with raising black children in America. In “Father Time” with Sampha, Kendrick dives into the roots of his fears, and how this stems from an emotionally vacant relationship with his father. “You really need therapy,” Whitney says, before Kendrick quickly rejects the proposal. “Real n**** a don’t need no therapy,” he joked before Whitney urged him to call Eckhart Tolle, the self-help author whose voice is heard throughout the album. The production, directed by Grandmaster Vic, Duval Timothy, BÄ” kon, DJ Dahi and Beach Noise & Sounwave, is warm and nostalgic, allowing Kendrick to fully uncover the childhood experiences that inevitably led to his view of the world and the relationships that bind him by women. He extends this sentiment to those who have not grown up with a father in their lives in the hope that they can have their own moments of realization for the betterment of their children.
“Father Time” is among the many moments on the project in which Kendrick confronts toxic manhood as a double-edged sword. Taylor Page’s stunning performance on “We Cry Together” digs deeper into the roots of toxic masculinity. While “Father Time” explores the societal norm that prevents men from showing any vulnerability, “We Cry Together” produces a realistic depiction of domestic conflict from both a man’s and a woman’s point of view. “This is what the world looks like,” Whitney said before the Alchemist’s horrific piano production strikes. Taylor Paige’s pain meets Kendrick’s pervert as he insults each cavernous dish. The end result, however, is a return to a cycle of abuse where physical gratification is a temporary solution to deep-seated problems.
“Stop dancing around the conversation,” Whitney says at the end of “We Cry Together.” This is the album’s thematic statement, accompanied by actual tap dance from teen tap dance sensations, Freddy and Teddy Tisdale. The voices of Whitney Alford and Eckhart Tolle allow for a smooth transition between songs, but Kendrick also uses the voices as a tool to drive production. Produced “Rich Spirit” and “Mr. Morale” Tani Lyon made a heavy reliance on acoustic samples for infectious emissions. Kodak Black’s sound also remains a focal aspect of the album. He weaves through the project in the preface to “Worldwide Steppers,” “Rich Spirit – Interlude,” and “Silent Hill,” providing his own verses. Kodak Black is a generational talent whose influence is undeniable, despite the controversy surrounding his name. Is there compensation for someone like Kodak, whose career has been marked by prison terms, allegations of sexual assault, and a political alliance with Donald Trump? “I like it when I’m pro-black but more of a Kodak Black,” Kendrick said of “The Savior,” drawing parallels between the environments he and Kodak Black grew up in. line, in particular,This is a strong indication of Kendrick’s stance on the topic of “abolition of culture” but it’s fair to feel as if Kodak’s presence conflicts with an album dedicated to self-care and healing.
In “The Aunt’s Diary,” Kendrick reflects on his journey toward undoing his homophobic and transgender state of mind, especially since it severely affects his bloodline. After feuds with artists like Boosie and DaBaby, Kendrick’s accountability is a stark reminder of how transphobia and homophobia affect more deeply beyond those identified as LGBTQ+. Being able to remove the stigma of the social ills of discrimination is challenging the norms that allowed it to exist in the first place. However, Kendrick’s overt and frequent use of the F-word seems unnecessary after the first time.
Conversations that are difficult to have are also the most necessary. In the five years since Kendrick Lamar was released, Curse. , political correctness, abolition of culture, and crushing sensitivity—on both ends of the political spectrum—have led to boycotts and corporate interest for “solidarity” and “activism” that is not ashamed of deception. Amid it all, many rap fans have wondered: Where does Kendrick stand? On his latest album KendrickHe responds directly to societal issues that have opened a dialogue about gender roles, gender, race and how each of these topics intertwine with one another. Mr. Morale and Big Steppers A two-disc summary of the online conversations that turned Twitter into a hub of ideas. But at the heart of these conversations are the experiences of real people, one of which is Kendrick Lamar.