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Kendrick Lamar - Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Album Review)

Tuesday, 17 May 2022 Written by Tom Morgan

Photo: Renell Medrano

Few artists are immune to the odd blunder or downturn in form, but there are a select few who are seemingly unable to produce anything besides sheer brilliance. Kendrick Lamar’s latest, the often staggeringly impressive ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’, offers further evidence of his membership in this elite club.

The Compton rapper has been widely lauded for his vivid storytelling, ambitious music and deep humanity, coming to be viewed alongside lofty, potentially stifling, titles such as ‘voice of a generation’. This intense level of acclaim might also mean that discussions of his latest work descend into truisms and cliches.

Fortunately, ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’ is yet another leap into the unknown from the virtuoso 34-year-old.

At 18 tracks long, the LP organises its schematics according to a closely-observed emotional narrative. Emotion is the key word here—this is easily his most melancholic and honest work. 

From Father Time’s upfront analysis of his relationship with his father to Mother I Sober’s reflection on personal trauma, Lamar bares his soul with often alarming lucidity. The album is relentlessly audacious, not just in its introspective lyrical approach but also its musical construction. 

The production transcends stylistic tags and features countless moments of bold originality. We Cry Together conveys spousal arguments as poetry, Worldwide Steppers journeys through time and space while Mr. Morale features a muscular arrangement of almost cinematic grandeur.

There’s so much to take in here. Every track features a dense brew of ideas and emotions, as well as accomplished sonics. It’s simultaneously innovative and accessible, and tackles complex subjects with a creative verve that is jaw-dropping at times. It’s enormous, nuanced, daring, poignant and completely engrossing, a work of brilliance that will be talked about for a long time.

Kendrick Lamar Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue July 19 2022 - OKLAHOMA CITY Oklahoma - Paycom Center (USA)
Thu July 21 2022 - AUSTIN Texas - Moody Center ATX (USA)
Fri July 22 2022 - HOUSTON Texas - Toyota Center - TX (USA)
Sat July 23 2022 - DALLAS - American Airlines Center - TX (USA)
Sun July 24 2022 - MIAMI Florida - Hard Rock Stadium (USA)
Wed July 27 2022 - TAMPA Florida - Amalie Arena (USA)
Fri July 29 2022 - NEW ORLEANS Louisiana - Smoothie King Center (USA)
Sat July 30 2022 - ATLANTA Georgia - State Farm Arena (USA)
Sun July 31 2022 - NASHVILLE Tennessee - Bridgestone Arena (USA)
Tue August 02 2022 - CHARLOTTE North Carolina - Spectrum Center (USA)
Thu August 04 2022 - WASHINGTON DC - Capital One Arena (USA)
Fri August 05 2022 - BROOKLYN New York - Barclays Center (USA)
Sat August 06 2022 - BROOKLYN New York - Barclays Center (USA)
Sun August 07 2022 - NEW YORK New York - UBS Arena (USA)
Tue August 09 2022 - PHILADELPHIA - Wells Fargo Center-PA (USA)
Wed August 10 2022 - BOSTON Massachusetts - TD Garden (USA)
Fri August 12 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - Scotiabank Arena (Canada)
Sat August 13 2022 - TORONTO Ontario - Scotiabank Arena (Canada)
Sun August 14 2022 - DETROIT Michigan - Little Caesars Arena (USA)
Tue August 16 2022 - COLUMBUS Ohio - Value City Arena (USA)
Thu August 18 2022 - MILWAUKEE Wisconsin - Fiserv Forum (USA)
Fri August 19 2022 - CHICAGO Illinois - United Center (USA)
Sat August 20 2022 - SAINT PAUL Minnesota - Xcel Energy Center (USA)
Sun August 21 2022 - KANSAS CITY Missouri - T-Mobile Center (USA)
Tue August 23 2022 - DENVER Colorado - Ball Arena (USA)
Wed August 24 2022 - SALT LAKE CITY Utah - Vivint Smart Home Arena (USA)
Fri August 26 2022 - PORTLAND Oregon - Moda Center (USA)
Sat August 27 2022 - SEATTLE Washington - Climate Pledge Arena (USA)
Sun August 28 2022 - VANCOUVER British Columbia - Rogers Arena (Canada)
Tue August 30 2022 - SACRAMENTO California - Golden 1 Center (USA)
Wed August 31 2022 - OAKLAND California - Oakland Arena (USA)
Thu September 01 2022 - OAKLAND California - Oakland Arena (USA)
Tue September 06 2022 - SAN DIEGO California - Viejas Arena (USA)
Wed September 07 2022 - ANAHEIM California - Honda Center (USA)
Fri September 09 2022 - LAS VEGAS Nevada - T-Mobile Arena (USA)
Sat September 10 2022 - PHOENIX Arizona - Footprint Center (USA)
Wed September 14 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Crypto.com Arena (USA)
Thu September 15 2022 - LOS ANGELES California - Crypto.com Arena (USA)

Fri October 07 2022 - AMSTERDAM Ziggo Dome (Netherlands)
Mon October 10 2022 - PRAGUE O2 Arena (Czech Republic)
Tue October 11 2022 - BERLIN Mercedes Benz Arena (Germany)
Thu October 13 2022 - HAMBURG Barclays Arena (Germany)
Sat October 15 2022 - COPENHAGEN Royal Arena (Denmark)
Mon October 17 2022 - STOCKHOLM Avicii Arena (Sweden)
Wed October 19 2022 - OSLO Telenor Arena (Norway)
Fri October 21 2022 - PARIS Accor Arena (France)
Mon October 24 2022 - STUTTGART Scheleyerhalle (Germany)
Tue October 25 2022 - ZURICH Hallenstadion (Switzerland)
Wed October 26 2022 - LAUSSANE Vaudoise arena (Switzerland)
Fri October 28 2022 - ANTWERP Sportpaleis (Belgium)
Sun October 30 2022 - COLOGNE Lanxness Arena (Germany)
Mon October 31 2022 - FRANKFURT Festhalle (Germany)

Wed November 02 2022 - GLASGOW OVO Arena
Thu November 03 2022 - LEEDS first direct Arena
Fri November 04 2022 - NEWCASTLE Utilita Arena Newcastle
Sat November 05 2022 - BIRMINGHAM Utilita Arena Birmingham
Mon November 07 2022 - LONDON O2
Tue November 08 2022 - LONDON O2
Sun November 13 2022 - DUBLIN 3Arena
Wed November 16 2022 - MANCHESTER AO Arena

Thu December 01 2022 - PERTH RAC Arena
Sun December 04 2022 - MELBOURNE Rod Laver Arena
Thu December 08 2022 - SYDNEY Qudos Bank Arena
Mon December 12 2022 - BRISBANE Entertainment Center
Fri December 16 2022 - AUCKLAND Spark Arena

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