Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers

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After five long years, Kendrick Lamar gave fans what they needed. His new album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers just hit streaming platforms at midnight on the East Coast. The 18-song disc is a direct follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning album Damn. which was released in 2017. Now operating out of his own label, pgLang, this is the latest LP from his renowned band, Top Dawg Entertainment. Spotify and Apple Music have literally split since the album fell into a frenzy of fans listening to it.

The characteristics of this album are insane. Spanning two discs, K-dot’s fifth studio album has guest appearances from artists that span multiple genres. You’ll hear artists like Summer Walker, Sampha, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, Beth Gibbons, Ghostface Killah and Thundercat. You’ll also notice writing and producing credits from legends like The Alchemist, Pharrell, Boi-1da, Beach Noise, and more.

Renowned photographer Renell Medrano captured the powerful cover shot that Lamar dropped earlier this week. The imagery is palpable and heavy, showing Kendrick in a crown of thorns, carrying a child with an ominous gaze. You will see her fiancé in the background cradling a baby sitting on a bed. The apparent biblical allusions on the album cover seem to signify life, death and rebirth. Associated with this imagery are also feelings of sin and repentance.

Mr. Morale and Big Steps

picture by Renell Medrano

Kendrick built the anticipation for Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers since August of last year. He first put a note on his Oklama website stating that the album he was working on was to be his last on TDE. Following this announcement, he continued to provide further clues to the album’s extended length and book-like progression. His latest announcement for Mr Morale came when he posted an image with pgLang’s header announcing the album’s release date.

Kendrick Lamar – The Heart, Part 5

At the beginning of this month, we saw him release his single “The Heart Part 5” by surprise, which does not appear on the new album. The abstract video that accompanies the track features Kendrick’s face transforming into various celebrity “deep fakes”. These include Kanye, Will Smith, Nipsey, and more.

Kendrick gradually becomes more and more eccentric with his music, his message and his overall image. For die-hard fans, this could result in some of the most creative and original music we’ve heard from him in years. Find out which tracks resonate with you the most by listening below.

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