Is ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’ Kendrick Lamar’s greatest work?

Is ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’ Kendrick Lamar's greatest work?
Album art for “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” (Photo source: Top Dawg Entertainment)

Kendrick Lamar has proven many times over that he is a different caliber of emcee. His album run over the last decade gives credence to that. As an artist, he allows himself to evolve and he unselfishly shares with his supporters. His latest offering, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a well-balanced meal in a music industry that has been serving up fast food since the advent of streaming.

Before sharing this project with the masses, Lamar released a picture showing himself holding two CDs as if to signal that this is how the album would be presented. That clue was right on target. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a double release chocked full of stories of personal growth and shortcomings.

Music lovers would be hard-pressed to find another artist in recent times whose transparency and development are translated so well in the work they produce. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is where we find Lamar, the parent who has gained perspective while understanding the impact of his past. It is because of this impact that he sets out for a healing.

This album is therapeutic and spiritual. The appearance of the spiritual teacher Ekhart Tolle speaks clearly to the direction Lamar means to take. These are not your favorite auto-tune rappers bars. With that said, Kodak Black makes an appearance as a narrator, rapper and poet, and it is seamless.

The album is so lyrically dense, that hearing something new after each listen is expected. The meticulous effort that went into crafting this project is surprising. Considering that this is his final release with his former label, Top Dawg Entertainment, it’s interesting to see that Lamar didn’t just phone something in to meet contractual obligations. If this is how he ended his relationship with TDE, it is exciting to think about what his new creative agency, pgLang, will be sharing with the world.

The recommendation is that the listener experience this album exactly how it is sequenced. Every bar is intentional and strikes a chord from the most basic human emotion. Lamar takes his brush and paints a picture with 2022 sensibilities. Topics such as therapy, cancel culture, relationships and fatherhood are weaved in and out. No topic is off limits. Lamar is his most fearless on this album and that is what makes it such a solid release.

We’re not throwing the classic term out there just yet. However, if we are being honest, this is the exact project the world needs at this moment in time.

Lamar may have given us his magnum opus.

Standout tracks are:

“Father Time”

“We Cry Together”

“Mr. Morale”



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