Mr. Moral & the Big Steppers: Kendrick Lamar Drops First Album in Five Years
The 34 year-old rapper, who hails from Compton, California, has won 161 awards out of 399 nominations including 14 Grammy Awards, six Billboard Music Awards and an ASCAP award for his work as a composer. Lamar is back with his fifth LP, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” which was released overnight on Thursday.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar is back after a five-year hiatus following his 2017 album, “DAMN.” The much-anticipated album is split into two nine-track sides and features artists Sounwave and Dahi (artists Lamar frequently works with) as well as Beach Noise, The Alchemist, Pharrell Williams, and guests Beth Gibbons, Sampha, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Summer Walker, and Kodak Black.
“Writer’s block for two years, nothing moved me,” Lamar raps on the third track of his new album.
Lamar, who has often been labeled with the term “Black genius,” writes lyrics filled with socio/political commentary— especially on the Black American experience— such songs include: “Vanity Slaves,” “HiiiPower,” “m.A.A.d city” and “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” just to list a few. Pop music critic Jon Caramanica described Lamar's 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” as a “work about living under constant racialized surveillance and how that can lead to many types of internal monologues, some empowered, some self-loathing.”
“Mr. Moral & the Big Steppers” is personal, heavy and self-criticizing, with songs that refer to Lamar’s mental health, his romantic relationship, and becoming a father. Whitney Alford, Lamar’s longtime partner whom he has known since teenage-hood and who he now shares two children with, is also credited as a narrator on the album.
Lamar is beginning to make waves in his work as an entrepreneur, too. First launched in 2020 and founded by both Lamar and Dave Free, his collaborator at Top Dawg Entertainment, Lamar has been growing his company pgLang. Lamar has insisted that the firm, whose name is an acronym for "program language," is not a record label, but rather is a company "at service to creators and projects that selflessly speak with, and for, the shared experiences that connect us all,” according to the group’s mission statement.
On Friday, Lamar also revealed the launch of his world tour, which will begin July 19 in Oklahoma City. He’ll follow the US leg of his tour with shows in Europe, Britain, Australia and New Zealand in the fall.