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Kendrick Lamar
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Top Dawg Entertainment

Regular price
$70.00 SGD
Regular price
Sale price
$70.00 SGD


Kendrick Lamar is a giddy dramatist. He loves to pack his music with perspectives, personifying his many characters and muses with distinct voices, cadences, and beat switches that bring them to life. Those virtuosic tics have made him one of rap’s most celebrated storytellers and stylists; he is the first and only rapper to have won a Pulitzer Prize. For some, Kendrick’s elastic narration and indignant dispatches on Black life have made him a figure of supreme moral authority in hip-hop—a role he spurns on his fifth studio album. Kendrick spends Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers gleefully immolating his cherished reputation, swinging between caustic taunts and plaintive confessions over slick funk and soul production that gleams like shards of a mirror. The double album offers rap’s most jarring heel turn since Future cut loose on Monster, taking an unfocused but probing look at Kendrick’s most elusive character: himself.

Throughout Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick seems to actively reject the elegance and structure of past songs like “DUCKWORTH.” and “good kid,” writing in quick strokes and sketches that channel his messy admissions. Ideas scamper around like field rabbits and he avoids clean hooks, denying the listener easy access to his thoughts. It verges on antipop. His flows streak across “Count Me Out,” bouncing off the kick drum, dancing with the chords. The “Kim”-inspired “We Cry Together” stages a noxious melodrama where Kendrick and Zola star Taylour Paige trade barbs that feel almost improvised despite being tightly rhymed and metered. Eminem can finally retire happy. 

Despite all its aggrieved poses and statements, the often astonishing rapping, the fastidious attention to detail, and its theme of self-affirmation, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers ironically never settles on a portrait of Kendrick. Perhaps that slipperiness is the thrust of the album, which might be read as his answer to a question he asked a decade ago, before he was anointed as hip-hop’s conscience: “If I mentioned all my skeletons, would you jump in the seat?” That fear of being defined by trauma and shame resonates throughout, but Kendrick and his blemishes are so defined by negation—of white gazes, of Black Twitter, of weighty listener expectations—that by the time the record ends, Kendrick’s “me” is just as nebulous as the effigy he’s spent the album burning. Gods are born in vacuums. - Pitchfork

Label: pgLang – B0035986-01, Top Dawg Entertainment – B0035986-01, Aftermath Entertainment – B0035986-01, Interscope Records – B0035986-01
2 x Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: Worldwide
Genre: Hip Hop, Jazz, Funk / Soul
Style: Hip Hop, Conscious, Trap, Jazzy Hip-Hop, Neo Soul, Contemporary R&B, Experimental, Neo-Classical