Mr Morale & The Big Steppers review and reflection


   The King of rap has returned, Artist and rapper Kendrick Lamar released his 7th studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers on May 13. His first stand-alone project in a little over five years, the album marks the time from DAMN to this new project as the biggest gap in his discography to date. The album itself is split in two halves, comprising nine songs each, representing the duality of the project title, “Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers.” 

   Lamar has clearly grown quite a bit from DAMN, Lamar’s response to the aftermath of his critically acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly, which saw Lamar become an icon and leading figure in the modern-day push for African American civil rights. DAMN lyrically saw a serious departure and turning point in Lamar’s discography. The idolization of Kendrick Lamar that resulted from To Pimp a Butterfly was deeply disturbing to him, as he saw himself as deeply flawed and unable to fill the role that his music had placed him in. Lamar notably believed that he was somewhat of a bad role model, and that his past actions were going to come back and haunt him forever. 

   DAMN saw Lamar express his anger with what was happening in his life, and his anger towards his own flaws and deep-rooted issues that he could not easily solve. All of this leads into his new project. Mr Morale & The Big Steppers sees an evolution from what DAMN started in 2017. Lamar not only acknowledges his shortcomings, but begins to accept them, identify the root causes of them, and move past them and take charge of his life. For example, in the third track “Worldwide Steppers,” He begins to reflect on things he regrets, while simultaneously criticizing those who may be willing to make the same mistakes he did and not grow from them. 

   When it comes to the music itself however, if you take a step back from the powerful poetry and incredible lyricism Kendrick Lamar brings to this project, how replayable is this new album? As with any music it comes down to personal preference, but for the most part Mr Morale & The Big Steppers does not really compare to a project like DAMN when it comes down to the musicality and vibe that are being expressed. 

   While DAMN had bangers that would be well-suited for a party setting and fitting for replayability, Mr Morale & The Big Steppers provides a more deep and thoughtful confrontation that would be more suited for an artistic experience rather than a playlist booster. 

   Although songs like “Die Hard” and “Purple Hearts” among a couple others on the new album may have that same vibe that past Kendrick songs like “Humble” and “All Right” accomplished, the project as a whole feels more like an artistic exploration into the mind of Kendrick Lamar rather than an album meant to be played at festivals.