April 4, 2023

Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar: Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers

Hi Spotlight On blog!

I'm Henry / LP's kid / nepo baby and I'm here on official business from the moonrabbithaven.com blog. I come bearing weekly album recommendations! Let's start things off this Tuesday with an album you've already heard... but have you given it a re-heard, lately? Below is my evaluation, and some musings on why Kendrick's latest drop felt like it came and went.


Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is maybe the purest Kendrick Lamar Concept Album yet. The striking new production direction is here, the bars and the songwriting are here, the narrative arc is here. And we've even been treated to another helping of controversy, for flavor. I think what we got this time around was great, and a gratifying send-off to Kendrick's TDE canon. Mr. Morale ties up a lot of these albums' themes nicely, and fits snugly in my record crate next to them. That said, I think this is the last time a project like this, from Kendrick, is gonna work. At least all the way, because for as much growth as Mr. Morale shows, it's also clearly laid out some of the boundaries of the K.Dot schtick. If that makes sense. This album has the provocative, moody, opener, the hard-to-listen-to but narratively crucial closer(s), that one weird ass track that pushes it but ends up being fire... all the ups and downs we've come to expect from his formula. I feel like I'm describing something invisible here, but hopefully you can see it a little. I'm starting to see the trappings of such cinematic works as these, and I hope this new era at pgLang sees something looser, and less harshly defined, than what we're used to from The King. I think we're ready, judging by this album's lack of staying power in the hip-hop conversation. Does Mr. Morale really fall back into a well worn groove, placing Kendrick's most exciting work behind him? I don't know, but I'm down for the ride either way.


Buy or Listen.