Kendrick Lamar: Five Years Later and Still On Top

K-dot, Kung-Fu Kenny, the legendary Kendrick Lamar has finally returned with his newest album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.” This album marks the first musical work Kendrick has created since his last album, “Damn,” which was released just over five years ago. Prior to this release, Kendrick completely disappeared from the music scene, only making an appearance on his cousin and fellow artist, Baby Keem’s album “The Melodic Blue,” which was released September 10, 2021.

Despite his hiatus, Kendrick returns with the same distinct sound and flow that had ushered him into the spotlight years ago. “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” delivers the same lyrical verses that Kendrick is known to expertly craft. However, it seems to focus on Kendrick’s more philosophical and emotional side. Speaking on the “masks” people hide behind in society in tracks like “N95” and the way relationships seem to sound nowadays in “We Cry Together.” However, a bulk of “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” reflects inwardly on Kendrick and tells the story of his struggles throughout his life and what he still faces to this day. Tracks like “United in Grief” reflect Kendrick’s “going through something” for the past five years and getting a therapist. Other tracks, such as “Worldwide Steppers,” speak on how Kendrick suffered from writer’s block for two years and touched on his struggles with lust – a topic that the artist frequently references in his discography. In tracks “Father Time” and “Auntie Diaries,” Kendrick goes back to his childhood. He reflects on the negativity his father instilled in him through a combination of tough love and a lack of empathy. He also discusses his first introductions to homosexuality and how he was confused about how to approach it at first due to his upbringing, then detailing how he had grown to change his views. Most notably on the album is the final track, “Mirror.” In “Mirror,” Kendrick repeats the phrase “I choose me,” possibly insinuating that Kendrick is no longer interested in creating music based on the outward world but rather on his experiences through life. It could also be a suggestion that Kendrick has decided to choose his own views and beliefs rather than those he was subjected to in his youth and throughout his growth – hence he is choosing to be himself.

“Mr Morale & The Big Steppers” offers a cacophony of different flows and styles that manage to come together in harmonious creations due to a masterful blend of storytelling and lyrical supremacy. This album offers an incredible mixture of verse that makes you think and a unique and powerful sound that makes for an incredible listening experience. Kendrick has, without a doubt, delivered a piece of work to his fans that has made the five-year wait more than worth it.

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