“I chose me, sorry.”
The last five words of Kendrick Lamarof Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers hit the hardest for anyone “doing the work,” as trained and untrained therapists like to say. Kendrick’s fifth album, as of now (May 13), is a lot of things: about political analysis, about social criticism, with a dash of family observations. But from beginning to end, it’s all therapy.
Kendrick’s latest effort was the Compton emcee putting himself on the couch and asking, “Why?” Why is he addicted to women and cheating? Why is he full of guilt if he can’t help old friends? Why is he bathed in toxic relationships? Or why would he be more competitive when it comes to rap?
Kendrick made a double LP that is sure to inspire tons of ink spillage from the pop culture industrial complex. And you know what? Every three of the said ink is worth it. Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers is another bonafide masterpiece from a cat that seems unmistakable as he steps into the booth. By examining his own psyche, he opened the minds of those of us who have melanin in our skin.
“United in Grief” begins on the side of someone with a voice asking Kendrick to “tell them the truth.” He begins on a path detailing his uncertainties, quirks, and mistakes. After more than a decade, Kendrick is a god more than a few people worship at his altar. But that’s not a position he wants to live in even for a few seconds of the day. The song above explains that he is just as materialistic as the rappers we compare him to.
Meanwhile, “N95” details his problems with the masks we – and him – wear to hide our truth. “Worldwide Steppers” is getting closer to its reality. He questioned his motives for sleeping with white women that day while alerting himself for a laundry list of issues. Even if it’s killing other people’s accomplishments, opposing women, and leaving his old neighborhood when the comas in his bank account become possible.
Within the album’s account, this is the time Whitney, his longtime partner, suggests he seek therapy. And for others, “therapy” is a four -letter word. Mr. Morale and the Great Steppers shows why Kendrick accepted the process and the evolution he experienced as a result.