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Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers REACTION/REVIEW

★★★ – ★★★1/2: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.

Kendrick Lamar – Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Released: 13 May 2022

Song-by-song reaction to Kendrick Lamar – “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”! 

Disc 1

1. United in Grief – 0:09

2. N95 – 6:29

3. Worldwide Steppers – 11:19

4. Die Hard ft Blxst- 17:59

5. Father Time ft Sampha 22:31

6. Rich (Interlude) – 29:05

7. Rich Spirit – 30:52

8. We Cry Together ft Taylor Paige- 35:33

9. Purple Hearts ft Summer Walker & Ghostface 42:45

Disc 2

1. Count Me Out – 50:31

2. Crown – 55:59

3. Silent Hill ft Kodak Black – 1:01:54

4. Savior (Interlude) – 1:06:08

5. Savior – 1:08:47

6. Auntie Diaries – 1:15:35

7. Mr. Morale – 1:22:01

8. Mother | Sober – 1:26:08

9. Mirror – 1:33:49

Final Thoughts – 1:38:10 

★★★ – ★★★1/2: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.

Before I saw anyone else’s opinion online, I knew there would be a large faction of people (Kendrick fans) who dislike this album. Why? …

Well, #1 because it doesn’t follow the same explicitly thematic vein of Kendrick‘s other albums.

#2, because after a 5 year wait for an album… people’s expectations will be unreasonably high. You can’t please everybody (word to track #2 “Crown”). If #MrMoraleAndTheBigSteppers released within a year or 2 of DAMN, I believe it would be received different and with more welcoming arms. Quality-wise, the album is about on par with DAMN.. (its slightly better imo, and with superior production).

I like that Kendrick didn’t try to be overly-deep or conceptual on #MrMoraleAndTheBigSteppers. It can be easy to get caught in a cycle of trying to top your previous work. Instead, every song and verse on this album feels effortless.

Songs like “Die Hard” are allowed space to exist as simply great songs. No need for an overly deep message or trying to tie the song into a larger album theme (which I felt happened on DAMN) – it’s just good music

A few things about the music:

1. The production is FANTASTIC. SO many different looks & instrumentation from violins to horns to Alchemist‘s gritty piano. Maybe the best production on any Rap album in 2022.

2. The subject matter is HEAVY – themes of stress, depression, Writer’s block, and guilt.

3. Every feature fits like a glove (except Kodak‘s tangent on “Silent Hill” (good verse, but off-topic?). Ghostface’s feature on “Purple Hearts” sounds like he heard this entire album first, and then wrote the verse. That’s how on-topic and fitting his verse is at that point in the album.

★★★ – ★★★1/2: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.

kendrick lamar mr morale big steppers review
kendrick lamar mr morale big steppers review

Rating Categories:
★★★★★: Best in show; pinnacle release from an all-time great artist.
★★★★1/2: Stellar example of genre; peak potential.
★★★★: Excellent; recommended to all fans of artist or genre.
★★★1/2: Very good; a few bland songs or minor flaws throughout.
★★★: Good; fans of the artist will find value here.
★★1/2: Average; does little to establish the artist or maintain quality.
★★: Unexceptional; a few highlights but otherwise bland.
★1/2: Weak; unrecommended for anyone but major fans of the style and/or artist.
★: Seriously flawed; very poor work but relatively listenable.
1/2: Terrible; a true embarrassment and akin to audio masochism.

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