Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers

by Kendrick Lamar

Released May 13, 2022 via PGLang / TDE / Aftermath / Interscope

Reviewed May 23, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Mother I Sober (58%), Father Time (52%), Mirror (37%)

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is vulnerable, risky, and masterful. Kendrick Lamar is no stranger to tackling societal issues and providing commentary on the black perspective, as his previous works tend to embody a theme of life’s point of view. GKMC gives us a Compton youth’s coming of age, TPAB tells the story of a black man reconnecting with his African roots, and DAMN. gives us personified emotions of black culture. As the old adage goes, “Kendrick albums will grow on you,” so I don’t want to put his latest work into a classified box just yet. But, this record feels like the revival of Kendrick Lamar’s legendary career. It’s almost poetic that his fifth TDE album breaks the five-year hiatus in which he was battling writer's block. This album was beautiful and edgy, as Kendrick discussed a bevy of issues ranging from his mother’s abuse, marital problems, and a whole lot of social commentary. As expected, Lamar tackles the issues of the pandemic, social injustice, and the political landscape. I appreciate his straight-to-the-point and no bullshit delivery on these concepts. There is no tap dancing around, as he tells stories that need to be said. Kendrick Lamar once again has demonstrated his dominance in the hip-hop space. – Daniel (8.5/10)


King Kendrick makes his way back onto the contemporary scene after a brief hiatus. The time between Lamar’s album releases is crucial to the outcome of the work. Life and all its lessons occur in between the spotlight. One would be surprised how their day to day existence is shaped and shifted by the slightest of changes, thus altering their output. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers finds a sweet spot between jazz infused funk and pop rap. Somewhere in the middle of To Pimp A Butterfly and DAMN., albeit not necessarily as strong and fine tuned as either album. It tries to go both ways and doesn't hone in on either. Mr. Morale ranks among the weaker of Kendrick Lamar's output. Its length and track by track quality consistently pulls it out of a concise frame. That being said, what a discography it is. Not many, if any, can remain as a guaranteed great on a case by case basis. Kendrick Lamar fails to disappoint yet again. – Peter (7.5/10)


Daniel: 8.5/10 | Cam: 8.3/10 | DeVán: 8.3/10 | Dominick: 8.2/10 | Hadley: 8/10

Jacques: 8/10 | Pax: 7.9/10 | Ben (Synth): 7.5/10 | Pablo: 7.5/10

Peter: 7.5/10 | Alan: 7/10 | Henny: 6.5/10 | Jared: 5.5/10

 
Community Reviews:

One of the most thoughtful and forward-thinking analyses of generational trauma ever presented in music. – @oddballreviews (10/10)


Mr. Morale is a reconciliation with past and present mistakes all filtered through a story of forgiveness of the self and others who live through us as individuals. I feel myself in this album, and I feel myself being set free through it. – @makingmediamatter (9.5/10)


An interesting look inside of an artist’s struggle with mental health and therapy – @weatherman_will (9.5/10)


A great reflection of where Kendrick stands on political issues and what has changed within him since we last heard from him – @onmagicmountain (9.3/10)


A beautiful record about self-reflection, family issue, and Kendrick’s overall state of mind. Love the overall message of this: him presenting himself as a flawed human being to the masses that view him as a god, and the fact that he can’t save us. Definitely worth the five year wait. – @lukas_hajek250 (9/10)


I love the album. It was executed very well, except for some concepts that did not come off perfectly. “Auntie Diaries,” for example, wasn't executed as well as it could have been. The album sounded great, challenging the listener to create their own interpretation. I did not dislike or hate a song from a musical standpoint, and most songs came with fiery ambition and creativity. – @_sabeehkhan_ (9/10)


Kendrick’s most personal album to date and he succeeds for basically all of it. – @music.rating (8.8/10)


This record has got some real gold in it. Even if it does lose my attention for a little bit, it’s still a great comeback from Kendrick. Kendrick is on top five. – @henfroffical (8.5/10)