Kendrick Lamar is among the handful of rappers who have a legitimate claim to the GOAT title in hip hop.
He’s a brilliant wordsmith, profound storyteller and a real hitmaker when he’s so inclined. He’s at the point of reverence where his peers, fans and tastemakers speak of him as if he’s from another planet.
Now he’s back, five years after his critically acclaimed “DAMN,” and his fans couldn’t be happier.
Here are five take-aways from the first listens of “Mr. Moral & The Big Steppers.”
Kendrick Lamar’s music is still an event
It’s been half a decade since Kendrick Lamar’s last album and the landscape of hip hop (and generally music) was remarkably different back then. The genre continued to move further and further away from conscious rap and shifted its emphasis to production in important ways. Regardless, Kendrick Lamar’s album had so many people running for it that it crashed his page on Spotify and Apple Music.
For some people, the page didn’t even load Apple Music and they were forced to watch their friends enjoying it on Spotify.
You can count on your fingers how many artists create an event when they release their music and Kendrick Lamar is one of them.
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Kendrick Lamar is a willing contributor.
All great artists are able to realize their shortcomings and bring in others to complement them, which is why Kendrick had Drake in “Poetic Justice” and Zacari in “Love”.
Sampha, Blxst, Amanda Reifer, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah are among the list of appearances in “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”, but there are no TDE artists.
“Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is Lamar’s last album on the TDE label that helped him rise from a promising artist to the GOAT level he is today, so it’s a surprise.
There’s no SZA slowdown, no ScHoolboy Q ad-libs “YAWK YAWK YAWK” and no Black Hippy farewell. As of now there has been no public animosity between Kendrick and the label or any of his label mates, but excluding them from his final project is a curious decision.
Black Trauma is front and center
Kendrick Lamar “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is now available: https://KendrickLamar.lnk.to/MrMorale
Kendrick Lamar’s understanding of black trauma has only grown over the course of his career and has been a constant throughout his music.
“Mister. Morale & The Big Steppers” is no exception, with its most prominent songs being of this nature. Notably “Father Time” featuring Sampha, where Lamar details the issues people of his generation have with their father or lack thereof. due to gang affiliation.
Another track is “We Cry Together,” in which Lamar and Taylour Paige rap back and forth to beautifully illustrate a toxic relationship that has a couple hurling cruel insults at each other.
“Auntie Diaries” Is Kendrick Lamar’s Most Controversial Song
While Kendrick Lamar isn’t afraid to tackle difficult topics in his projects, “Auntie Diaries” has established itself as one of the most controversial. “Auntie Diaries” is a track about a character who has two trans family members.
The song addresses character formation along with their emotions and deals with an environment that is not necessarily welcoming to trans people. The song is insightful in many ways, but Kendrick Lamar’s choice of language has drawn the ire of many.
While this sheds light on how Kendrick acted at the time he is portraying the song, his use of a homophobic slur and his trans uncle is misguided by most. The track sparked backlash on Twitter.
Backxwash, a Polaris Award-winning rapper from Montreal, also weighed in on the matter, with disappointment.
“The Heart Part 5” is not on the album
Kendrick Lamar “The Heart Part 5”
Although the song was a single used to promote the album, “The Heart Part 5” is not on “Mr. Moral & The Big Steppers.”
“The Heart Part 5” fits within the album’s concept, focusing on influential black people, and its broad production style suits the album but is not part of Lamar’s double-album escapade.
This isn’t out of the norm, as “The Heart Part 1” was a vague one in Kendrick’s early days and “The Heart Part 3” was released days before the legendary “good kid, mAAd city”, but it was also left out. . project too.
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