By Ricardo Martir
Fans of Hip Hop can finally exhale. After a 5-year absence, Kendrick Lamar has returned to the music scene, releasing his highly anticipated album; “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”. Where he looks to address common themes in the everyday life positive or negative.
Lamar’s fifth studio album, produced by Pharrell Williams, is a 2 disc 18 track album with notable features from big-time artists like GhostFace Killah, Kodak Black, and his protégé cousin Baby Keem.
Lamar releases an album where he appears vulnerable on Track 17 titled “Mother I Sober” He repeatedly voices his mother asking “Did he touch you Kendrick” asking if his cousin had abused him.
His mother being a victim of sexual assault would ask Kendrick multiple times throughout his childhood, because she would never want her son to experience anything similar. He also sings how men and women in the lower income communities are likely to get raped.
Ironically, in the previous song in the album “Mr. Morale”, Lamar stirred controversy with a quote saying “ I think about Robert Kelly” If he weren’t molested, I wonder if life’ll fail him.”
Fans and other public figures were not pleased with the sense of sympathy shown from Kendrick.
Fans were also dissatisfied with the various appearances of Kodak Black, a man who in 2021 accepted a plea deal and plead guilty to first-degree assault. In an album where he is showing vulnerability, he turns around and shows support and gives a platform to troubling people like these artists.
In “We Cry Together” Kendrick and Taylour Paige argue on a beat like a real couple, and even after a heated argument, they seem to make up rather quickly. Reflecting on his relationship and what could be most relationships having their ups and downs but to actually have it play out as a song was definitely something different which is something Kendrick does on every one of his albums.
“Daddy issues ball across my head, told me, “Fuck a foul” I’m teary-eyed, wanna throw my hands, I won’t think out loud.”
In this stanza, Kendrick reflects on playing basketball with his father as a young boy.
Kendrick recalls never telling his father when he was fouled because he was too scared to tell him and having his father think he is weak and too soft.
Toward the end of that same song, he also shouts out all the current young generation of fathers that are putting in the effort to help out their partner in order to make a difference for their child.
“And to my partners that figured it out without a father, I salute you, may your blessings be neutral to your toddlers It’s crucial, they can’t stop us if we see the mistakes. ‘Til then, let’s give the women a break, grown men with daddy issues.”
Kendrick talks about various things in this new album in the second song in the album” N95”. In this song he talks about the state of the world in the pandemic, and how we are becoming a materialistic society that values more what shoes a person has rather than what actual values a person carries and lives by.
Where he singles out materialistic people who don’t have any other personality other than what they own, throughout the album he messages there is more to life than what we are told, but we have to go through the motions to figure that out.
“Seen a Christian say the vaccine mark of the beast. Then he caught COVID and prayed to Pfizer for relief. Then I caught COVID and started to question Kyrie. Will I stay organic or hurt in this bed for two weeks? (You really wanna know?)”
When he talks about the pandemic he says how our personal beliefs and how it’s lead people apart to live different lives, when we are supposed to have put aside our differences in this time where this virus does not discriminate and has taken the lives of too many.