Hip Hop’s New Testament: Mr. Morales & The Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar: “Asked God to speak through me, that’s what you hear now the voice of yours truly.” (WorldWide Steppers)

Hip Hop’s prophet returns in a crown of thorns to gift his New Testament to his faithful followers. One that foretells a revelation of fatherhood, family, friends and Blackness. Kendrick’s Lamar’s work has always been one of introspection, meditation and reflection, offering a glimpse into the dense and complex mind of K.Dot . He gives us a journey, through therapy, grief and some of the most damaging aspects of masculinity. 

However, Mr. Morales and the Big Steppers – that includes appearances from Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah Baby Keem and many more – grants listeners a chance to see a different side of the father of two.  A side that may manifests as delicacy and tenderness. It may feel alienating, something unprecedented, but either way fans are likely to listen.

Lamar is honest in his assessment of his flaws and others like him, to whom this may be directed. For most of the record, it is a cathartic illusion for male improvement, although if it is surrounded by controversy, it will be in Kendrick’s decision to feature the ill-famed Kodak Black, who pleaded to assault and battery to a woman in 2016, only last year. Possibly, Lamar intends to hold himself accountable for the company he keeps, on his own accordance.

On Saviour, where he tells the listener to requests too much from artists, Kendrick Lamar says: “like it when they pro-black, but I’m more Kodak Black.”

It is an ugly and uncomfortable proclamation, even confusing for a reader to listen to. Regardless, Kendrick is not trying to be deity, but rather be a human vessel, one who uses his life encounters as lessons.

He chants over and over again: “I can’t please everybody.”

Mr. Morales and the Big Steppers is Lamar’s most contradictory work yet, it is Lamar at his best and worst laid flat out on the record. Though Kodak Black’s presence calls for criticism, the album is extraordinary.

As the we come towards the end of the piece, we experience the mature soul he’s about to become, the apparent misogyny that he clumsily steered on earlier tracks, slowly withers away.

Lamar apologises on the album’s closing track, Mirror: “I chose me, I’m sorry.”

His apparent decision to step away from music comes punctually, after the countless money, awards and love, and most importantly, his family he has received. 

Words: Kira Bruce



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