It feels like it’s been an eternity since we’ve heard Kendrick Lamar‘s voice on wax.
It is somewhat true. Before dropping ‘The Heart Part 5‘ last week, the last time we’d heard him was on Baby Keem‘s ‘The Melodic Blue‘ album on the tracks ‘Family Ties‘ and ‘Range Brothers.’ Before that, he dropped ‘Black Panther: The Album’ in 2018. Lamar’s last solo album came in 2017 with his historic Pulitzer Prize winning ‘DAMN.’ So yes, the anticipation for K. Dot to drop was at an all time high heading into the release of this album.
After a five year break, Kung Fu Kenny delivered his fifth studio album entitled ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.’ The 18-track double album serves as Kendrick’s last with longtime record label Top Dawg Entertainment.
Although Lamar took an extended break from music (2 years of which he revealed that he had writer’s block), he does not miss a step on the album. Over the almost 75 minute album, Kendrick reminds fans of why they fell in love with him in the first place. The rap genius bares his mind, heart and soul in a way that only he could. Kendrick touches on numerous topics that have been on his mind and also the minds of the masses such as cancel culture, fatherhood, addiction, infidelity, religion, racism and sexuality amongst others.
The album feels like a rollercoaster of emotions as Kendrick spills himself for the public to hear. On ‘Father Time,’ Kendrick unpacks the issues that he’s dealt with but never verbalized regarding his father. He breaks down generational trauma on the song ‘Mother I Sober.’ The Compton MC expresses the difficulties of not being able to please everybody on the track ‘Crown.’ Assisted by actress Taylour Paige, Lamar gives Future a run for his money on the toxic track ‘We Cry Together’ that reminds us of cult-classic Baby Boy. He takes maybe his biggest risk of the album on the song ‘Auntie Diaries’ where he tackles his own past homophobia and lobbies for the love and respect of the trans community. He mentions on the album how his wife (Whitney Alford) suggested that he go to therapy. This album feels like a session where Kendrick unapologetically puts everything that’s been on his mind in the past 5 years on the table. In simplest terms, he wants us to know that he is human and goes through things too. We all can relate to his sentiments.
‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’ features Sampha, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, Kendrick’s cousin Baby Keem, Blxst, Amanda Reifer, Summer Walker, Sam Dew, Tanna Leone and Ghostface Killah. One of the most surprising aspects of the album was the fact that both discs were narrated by two surprise guests. The second part was narrated by 74 year-old German self help author, Eckhart Tolle. The first part, more shockingly, was narrated by Kodak Black. Kodak also graces a few tracks on the album.
Fans and other artists quickly took to Twitter to vocalize their thoughts on the album. Some of their reactions are below.
Kendrick hopped on Twitter to announce the worldwide Big Steppers Tour in conjunction with the album. Lamar will be joined by Baby Keem and Tanna Leone. Tickets for the tour will go on sale next Friday, May 20, at 12 p.m. local time via Lamar’s site, oklama.com.
Did you enjoy Kendrick’s album? What were your takeaways? Favorite tracks? Will you be grabbing a ticket for the tour? Be sure to let us know in the comments.