Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers Album Analysis


Kendrick Lamar is a 34-year-old rapper who started making music in 2004 when he was only fourteen years old. He started off releasing mixtapes using the original name of K-Dot signing with Top Dog Entertainment in 2005 when he was fifteen years old. Then later on in 2010, the rapper decided to drop K-Dot and begin to use his name becoming the well-known music creator Kendrick Lamar. In 2013, Lamar released “i” which got the award for best rap song and performance. His album, “To Pimp a Butterfly,” followed and became a huge success streaming more than 9.6 million times on Spotify in the first week of being released in 2015. Fast forward to 2017, Kendrick Lamar released ¨DAMN.¨ which sold 603,000 copies in its first week of sales. After this album came out, Kendrick Lamar took a break not releasing any albums or singles for five years.

Five years later, on May 13th, 2022 Kendrick Lamar came out of hiding and released his new album including 9 songs: “Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers.” This album is a total of 73 minutes of songs talking about past and present experiences and views with race, gender, sexuality, addiction and cancel culture. In the album description, these songs are described as “dense and heavy” due to the sensitive topics brought up. The message Kendrick Lamar was trying to get across is that he is only human and listening to Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers can help us to understand why any of us are the way we are.

The first song included in this album is “United in Grief” and in the first 30 seconds of the song, Lamar says “i been goin through somethin’ 1855 days” acknowledging the time that has been passed since his last music release. This song demonstrates the theme of relationships with money and his spending habits including lines saying “I was 28 years young, twenty mill’ in tax bought a couple mansions, just for practice five hundred in jewelry, chain was magic.”

Other songs included in this album like “We Cry Together” and “Purple Hearts” are mainly about heteronomative relationships. “We cry together” shows the aggressive side of relationships including yelling and arguing throughout the song while “Purple Hearts” is a calmer song talking about relationships in general.

Another notable song on this album is “Mother I Sober” which is a song about generational trauma, in this slow dark mood song, contains lines such as “So I set free my mother, all the hurt that she titled shame”  bringing up things he heard and witnessed growing up such as death, fame, and sexual abuse. Then in the last minute of this six-minute, song a woman’s voice comes in saying “I’m proud of you. You broke a generational curse.”

This album was very well put together and was worth the wait; the topics brought up in these songs are shown in a realistic way having deep lyrics. I truly enjoyed listening to every second of this 73-minute album. Personally, my favorite songs of this album are “Mother I Sober,” “United in Grief,” “Father Time,” and ¨We Cry Together.” Unlike other rappers who treat serious topics like the ones included in this album as a joke, Kendrick Lamar shows emotion and gives his personal experiences in these songs making it so much more enjoyable.