The new double album by the Compton rapper talks about therapy, family and the cultural horizons of our present
In 2017 Kendrick Lamar was the first artist not belonging to the spheres of classical music or jazz to win the Pulitzer for music with his album “Damn.”, Defined by the award committee as «a collection of virtuosic pieces unified by its authenticity vernacular and rhythmic dynamism that offers touching vignettes that capture the complexity of modern African American life ».
“Mr Morale & the Big Steppers”
After five years, the rapper is back with “Mr Morale & the Big Steppers”, his fifth studio release. The album is an ambitious and intimate meditation on family, therapy and the cultural horizon of these years in which hip hop touches jazz echoes. Going into “Mr Morale & the Big Steppers” means getting in touch with the complexities of the black community and, at the same time, dealing with Lamar’s personal traumas, such as the sexual assault suffered by his mother and told in “Mother The Sobers, ”which also features Beth Gibbons of Portishead.
An aunt of the artist
The protagonist of “Auntie Diaries” is an aunt of the artist who is part of the trans community and the song allows the 34-year-old rapper to deal with his homophobia finally put behind him, while “Savior” is a criticism of the moralization of pop and to those who exploit social struggles, first of all that of the Black Lives Matter movement: «a protest for you, 365 for me».
The theme of racism
After having dealt with the theme of racism (“Section.80”, 2011), made a journey back to his childhood (“Good Kid, mAAd City”, 2012), explored the meaning of community on the cultural and social profile (“To Pimp A Butterfly “, 2015) and balanced political invectives in the Trumpian era with personal introspection (” Damn. “, 2017), Lamar sifts the Zeitgeist, at the same time starting a process of deconstruction of his character and telling us unreservedly about the ghosts that haunt him . Thus, “Mr Morale & the Big Steppers” remains in the balance between yet another careful and personal look at our present and a process of catharsis that is reflected in the plurality of voices that have always coexisted in every work of the Compton rapper.
Kendrick Lamar Duckworth is one of the most influential artists of these years. His stylistic figure is palpable right from the iconic album covers of his; in that of “Mr Morale & the Big Steppers”, we see him wearing a crown of thorns in a familiar picture, an image that represents a saving process, carried out thanks to love, capable of healing the martyrdom of our psychic torments and giving a meaning to our continuous daily deaths and resurrections. But a gun also appears on that cover, symbolizing the violence that the black American community is still forced to endure. Beyond the important acknowledgments, analytical skills, an honest flow of consciousness and a myriad of intercultural references make each of his albums an invitation to reflection.