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Kendrick Lamar|Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Explicit version)

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Explicit version)

Kendrick Lamar

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As early as his first official studio release, 2011’s Section.80, Kendrick Lamar’s albums have been intricate and conceptual, constructed more like ambitious theatrical narratives than mere collections of songs. Fifth album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers follows this trajectory as a double-album’s worth of interconnecting statements that are relentlessly complex, emotionally dense, and sometimes uncomfortably raw. Unlike the lush, spacious sonics of DAMN. or the life-affirming funk of To Pimp a Butterfly, Mr. Morale is scattered both in terms of musical approaches and lyrical perspectives. The album’s first half is particularly messy, with themes of trauma, grief, society, and Kendrick’s own uneasy relationship with fame all overlapping. His technical abilities are stunning and versatile as ever, but the frantic flows and jarring beat switches of “United in Grief” begin an angsty catharsis that runs throughout many of the tracks. “N95” is a seething cultural critique where Lamar spits bile in multiple directions over a bleakly catchy, bass-driven instrumental. Issues with lust addiction and infidelity are put under a microscope on the tense and minimal “Worldwide Steppers,” and Lamar depicts his troubled relationship with his father in painful detail on “Father Time,” which features a gorgeous vocal performance by Sampha on the hook. There’s further exploration of deeply personal family history on “Auntie Diaries,” which chronicles Lamar coming to understand the experiences two of his relatives had with transitioning gender identities. Throughout the album he funnels all of these experiences inward, seeking to grow through his own changes and the changes he sees around him. This shows up as a dismissal of celebrity on “Rich Spirit” or as striving for self-acceptance on “Count Me Out.” The album’s quick musical and thematic shifts can make for an uneven flow. The floating R&B instrumental and tender introspection of “Die Hard” come just a few tracks before cacophonous swirls of piano on “Rich - Interlude” and the jagged cosmic hip-hop of Ghostface Killah and Summer Walker collaboration “Purple Hearts.” The album’s intensity reaches a full boil on “We Cry Together,” a song that sounds like live audio footage of the most vicious couple’s argument imaginable, and reaches the same levels of ugliness as Eminem’s “Kim,” a clear reference point. As always, the production is immaculate and Lamar is joined by a host of industry giants, with contributions coming from Baby Keem, Thundercat, and even a vocal cameo from Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on the stunning sadness of “Mother I Sober.” While not as immediately accessible as some of the work that came before it, there’s value in both the harrowing and enlightening moments here. Lamar puts everything on the table with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, trying to get closer to his unfiltered personal truth, and creating some of his most challenging, expectation-defying work in the process. While not always an easy listen, the album shows more of its intention as it goes, and ultimately makes sense as the next logical step forward in Lamar’s increasingly multi-dimensional artistic evolution.

© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers (Explicit version)

Kendrick Lamar

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1
United In Grief Explicit
00:04:15

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Brock Korsan, A&R - Duval Timothy, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J.LBS, Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnny Kosich, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Tim Maxey, Producer, Additional Producer, Vocal Producer, AssociatedPerformer - Timothy Maxey, ComposerLyricist - Beach Noise, Producer, Additional Producer - Jake Kosich, ComposerLyricist - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sedrick Moore II, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - OKLAMA, Producer - Whitney Alford, Narrator - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

2
N95 Explicit
00:03:15

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Samuels, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Joe Visciano, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sounwave, Producer - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Jahaan Sweet, Producer - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jahaan Akil Sweet, ComposerLyricist - Hykeem Carter, ComposerLyricist - Baby Keem, Producer, Co-Producer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sedrick Moore II, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Boi-1da for 1Da Boi Productions Inc, Producer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

3
Worldwide Steppers Explicit
00:03:23

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - V. Crane, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Matt Schaeffer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer, Additional Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - TaeBeast, Producer - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill K. Kapri, Narrator - Donte Lamar Perkins, ComposerLyricist - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - P. Darnell, ComposerLyricist - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

4
Die Hard Explicit
00:03:59

M. Smith, ComposerLyricist - R. Smith, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Wesley Seidman, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - Thundercat, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - D. Natche, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - FNZ, Producer, Co-Producer - Sounwave, Producer - Isaac John De Boni, ComposerLyricist - Michael John Mule, ComposerLyricist - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Matthew Burdette, ComposerLyricist - J.LBS, Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Victor Ekpo, ComposerLyricist - Hykeem Carter, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Kosich, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Blxst, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Baby Keem, Producer - Amanda Reifer, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dahi, Producer - Grandmaster Vic, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

5
Father Time Explicit
00:03:42

K. Jones, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - James Hunt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daniel Tannenbaum, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sampha Sisay, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - D. Natche, ComposerLyricist - Tristan Bott, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sampha, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sounwave, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Brandon Wood, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Duval Timothy, Producer, Piano, Additional Producer, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Bisel, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bekon, Producer, Bass, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - J. LBS, Producer, Additional Producer - Victor Ekpo, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Daniel Koroma, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Johnny Kosich, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Beach Noise, Producer - Jake Kosich, ComposerLyricist - Dahi, Producer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sedrick Moore II, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valentine Coker, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Matthew Schaeffer, ComposerLyricist - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Whitney Alford, Narrator - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Kaushlesh "Gary" Purohit, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

6
Rich (Interlude) Explicit
00:01:43

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Derek Garcia, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Erwing Olivares, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Duval Timothy, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill K. Kapri, ComposerLyricist - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

7
Rich Spirit Explicit
00:03:22

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - D. Natche, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Frano, Producer, Keyboards, Bass, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Brock Korsan, A&R - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jahaan Sweet, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Dahi, Producer, Percussion, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Frano Huett, ComposerLyricist - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

8
We Cry Together Explicit
00:05:41

Emile Haynie, Producer - The Alchemist, Producer - Daniel Tannenbaum, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - F. Welch, ComposerLyricist - Tristan Bott, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Derek "MixedByAli" Ali, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Brandon Wood, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - J.LBS, Producer, Co-Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daniel Alan Maman, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bekon, Producer, Additional Producer - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Cyrus "NOIS" Taghipour, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Curtis "Sircut" Bye, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Brandon Blatz, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Logan Haynes, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - G. Peacock, ComposerLyricist - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Whitney Alford, Narrator - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Taylour Paige, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

9
Purple Hearts Explicit
00:05:29

Dennis Coles, ComposerLyricist - Khalil Abdul-Rahman, ComposerLyricist - DJ Khalil, Producer - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Ghostface Killah, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Anthony Dixon, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Matt Schaeffer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer, Additional Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Summer Walker, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Kosich, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - David "Dos Dias" Bishop, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Beach Noise, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Jake Kosich, ComposerLyricist - Grandmaster Vic, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Raymond J Scavo III, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Evan Fulcher, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Troy Bourgeois, Drums, Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Schaeffer, ComposerLyricist - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

DISC 2

1
Count Me Out Explicit
00:04:43

Ely Rise, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Sean Tallman, Additional Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Eckhart Tolle, Narrator - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - D. Natche, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Denise Stoudmire, Choir Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Sounwave, Producer - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Danny McKinnon, Guitar, Bass, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Maxey, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Dahi, Producer, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Prymrr, Choir - PARIS BURTON, Choir - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anneston Pisayavong, Choir - Bryce Xavier, Choir - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - OKLAMA, Producer - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Jaheen King Tombs, Choir - Brenton Calvin Lockett, Choir - Sydney Bourne, Choir - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

2
Crown Explicit
00:04:24

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Duval Timothy, Producer, Piano, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnny Morgan, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

3
Silent Hill Explicit
00:03:40

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Wesley Seidman, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Samuels, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Derek Garcia, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sounwave, Producer - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Kodak Black, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jahaan Sweet, Producer - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jahaan Akil Sweet, ComposerLyricist - Bill K. Kapri, ComposerLyricist - Beach Noise, Producer, Additional Producer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Beach Noise (Matthew, Johnny, Jake), ComposerLyricist - Boi-1da for 1Da Boi Productions Inc, Producer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

4
Savior (Interlude) Explicit
00:02:32

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Eckhart Tolle, Narrator - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Hykeem Carter, ComposerLyricist - Daniel Koroma, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Grandmaster Vic, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Valentine Coker, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - OKLAMA, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

5
Savior Explicit
00:03:44

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Rascal, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - John Julian, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Juliano, Producer - James Hunt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daniel Tannenbaum, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Cardo, Producer - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Ronald LaTour, ComposerLyricist - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer - Tommy Paxton-Beesley, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Mario Luciano, Producer, Co-Producer, ComposerLyricist - Baby Keem, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Medearis Dixson, ComposerLyricist - OKLAMA, Producer - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

6
Auntie Diaries Explicit
00:04:41

Homer Steinweiss, Drums, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - James Hunt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Daniel Tannenbaum, Keyboards, Strings, Synthesizer, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Anthony, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tyler Reese, Producer - Joe Visciano, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Craig Balmoris, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Brock Korsan, A&R - Thomas Warren, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bekon, Producer - Sergiu Gherman, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Mehlenbacher, ComposerLyricist - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chad Gordon, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zach Acosta, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnny Kosich, Engineer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Daniel Krieger, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Beach Noise, Producer - Jake Kosich, ComposerLyricist - Hannah Kacmarsky, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

7
Mr. Morale Explicit
00:03:30

Pharrell Williams, Producer, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Eckhart Tolle, Narrator - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Mike Larson, Recording Engineer, Programming, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Avante Santana, ComposerLyricist - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Tanna Leone, MainArtist - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

8
Mother I Sober Explicit
00:06:46

MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Beth Gibbons, Vocalist, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Daniel Tannenbaum, ComposerLyricist - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - J. Pounds, ComposerLyricist - Thundercat, Bass, AssociatedPerformer - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - Sam Dew, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sounwave, Producer - Brock Korsan, A&R - J.LBS, Producer - Stephen Lee Bruner, ComposerLyricist - Andrew Boyd, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bekon, Producer - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tim Maxey, Producer, Additional Producer, ComposerLyricist - Grandmaster Vic, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Matthew Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R - Freddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer - Teddie Tisdale, Dancer, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

9
Mirror Explicit
00:04:16

Stuart Johnson, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - MANNY MARROQUIN, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Wesley Seidman, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Anthony, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - M. Spears, ComposerLyricist - D. Natche, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Reese, Producer - Sounwave, Producer, Drums, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Craig Balmoris, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Matt Schaeffer, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Brock Korsan, A&R - Bekon, Producer, Keyboards, Percussion, Strings, Bass, Programming, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Sergiu Gherman, Producer, ComposerLyricist - Tyler Mehlenbacher, ComposerLyricist - Johnny Morgan, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bill K. Kapri, Narrator - Daniel Krieger, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Dahi, Producer, Drums, Programming, AssociatedPerformer - Zach Pereyra, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Anthony Vilchis, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Trey Station, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Juanita "Niya" Morton for pgLang, A&R Coordinator - Kevin Rodriguez for pgLang, A&R

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

DISC 3

1
The Heart Part 5 Explicit
00:05:32

A. Ross, ComposerLyricist - Leon Ware, ComposerLyricist - James Hunt, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kendrick Lamar, Rap Vocalist, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Kyle Miller, Cello, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Matt Schaeffer, Drums, Guitar, Recording Engineer, Bass, Mellotron, Rhodes , AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Thomas Warren, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Michelle Mancini, Mastering Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Rob Bisel, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bekon, Violin, AssociatedPerformer - Ray Charles Brown Jr., Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnny Kosich, Percussion, Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel, ComposerLyricist - Beach Noise, Producer, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jake Kosich, ComposerLyricist - Grandmaster Vic, Strings, AssociatedPerformer - Marco Echeverría, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Sedrick Moore II, Asst. Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Johnathan Turner, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Kaushlesh "Gary" Purohit, Tabla, Asst. Recording Engineer, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2022 Aftermath/Interscope Records

Album review

As early as his first official studio release, 2011’s Section.80, Kendrick Lamar’s albums have been intricate and conceptual, constructed more like ambitious theatrical narratives than mere collections of songs. Fifth album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers follows this trajectory as a double-album’s worth of interconnecting statements that are relentlessly complex, emotionally dense, and sometimes uncomfortably raw. Unlike the lush, spacious sonics of DAMN. or the life-affirming funk of To Pimp a Butterfly, Mr. Morale is scattered both in terms of musical approaches and lyrical perspectives. The album’s first half is particularly messy, with themes of trauma, grief, society, and Kendrick’s own uneasy relationship with fame all overlapping. His technical abilities are stunning and versatile as ever, but the frantic flows and jarring beat switches of “United in Grief” begin an angsty catharsis that runs throughout many of the tracks. “N95” is a seething cultural critique where Lamar spits bile in multiple directions over a bleakly catchy, bass-driven instrumental. Issues with lust addiction and infidelity are put under a microscope on the tense and minimal “Worldwide Steppers,” and Lamar depicts his troubled relationship with his father in painful detail on “Father Time,” which features a gorgeous vocal performance by Sampha on the hook. There’s further exploration of deeply personal family history on “Auntie Diaries,” which chronicles Lamar coming to understand the experiences two of his relatives had with transitioning gender identities. Throughout the album he funnels all of these experiences inward, seeking to grow through his own changes and the changes he sees around him. This shows up as a dismissal of celebrity on “Rich Spirit” or as striving for self-acceptance on “Count Me Out.” The album’s quick musical and thematic shifts can make for an uneven flow. The floating R&B instrumental and tender introspection of “Die Hard” come just a few tracks before cacophonous swirls of piano on “Rich - Interlude” and the jagged cosmic hip-hop of Ghostface Killah and Summer Walker collaboration “Purple Hearts.” The album’s intensity reaches a full boil on “We Cry Together,” a song that sounds like live audio footage of the most vicious couple’s argument imaginable, and reaches the same levels of ugliness as Eminem’s “Kim,” a clear reference point. As always, the production is immaculate and Lamar is joined by a host of industry giants, with contributions coming from Baby Keem, Thundercat, and even a vocal cameo from Portishead’s Beth Gibbons on the stunning sadness of “Mother I Sober.” While not as immediately accessible as some of the work that came before it, there’s value in both the harrowing and enlightening moments here. Lamar puts everything on the table with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, trying to get closer to his unfiltered personal truth, and creating some of his most challenging, expectation-defying work in the process. While not always an easy listen, the album shows more of its intention as it goes, and ultimately makes sense as the next logical step forward in Lamar’s increasingly multi-dimensional artistic evolution.

© Fred Thomas /TiVo

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