Kendrick Lamar ¦ Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

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2022

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Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is the fifth studio album by American rapper Kendrick Lamar, released on May 13, 2022, by PGLang, Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), Aftermath Entertainment, and Interscope Records. The double album is Lamar's first studio album release since Damn (2017), his first album release under his creative collective PGLang, and his final project with TDE (under which he previously released four albums and was one of their flagship artists).

Regarded as Lamar's most confessional body of work, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a concept album that analyzes and reflects on his life experiences during his therapy journey. Its lyrics touches on a variety of personal themes, including childhood and generational trauma, infidelity, and celebrity worship. Primarily a conscious hip hop record, the album experiments with minimalist production while incorporating elements of jazz, R&B, trap, and soul. It features narration by Whitney Alford and Eckhart Tolle, and guest appearances from Blxst, Amanda Reifer, Sampha, Taylour Paige, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, Sam Dew, Tanna Leone, and Beth Gibbons of Portishead. Lamar, who executive produced the album under the pseudonym Oklama, reunited with frequent collaborators Sounwave, J. Lbs, DJ Dahi, and Bekon for the majority of the album's production.

Upon release, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was met with widespread acclaim from critics, who praised Lamar's lyricism and the album's scope, although a few found it inconsistent. The album was supported by three singles: "N95", which was a top-five hit on the US Billboard Hot 100, "Silent Hill", and "Die Hard". Other promotional initiatives included headlining performances at Glastonbury Festival and Rolling Loud, and a musical guest appearance on the season 48 premiere of Saturday Night Live. Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers debuted atop the Billboard 200, marking Lamar's fourth number-one album in the United States. It received eight nominations at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, including Best Rap Album and a historic fourth nomination for Album of the Year. To further promote the album, Lamar is embarking on his fifth solo headlining tour, titled the Big Steppers Tour, which is visiting Europe, North America and Oceania.

Background

Following the release of his fourth studio album Damn (2017), Kendrick Lamar took a five-year musical hiatus.[1] During this time, he executive produced the soundtrack album for the superhero film Black Panther (2018),[2] became a father of two children with his longtime romantic partner Whitney Alford,[3][4] and founded the entertainment company PGLang with his creative partner Dave Free.[5] Lamar cites a two-year stretch of writer's block as one of the reasons behind his long absence.[6]

In December 2020, the Roskilde Festival announced that Lamar would be headlining the festival's 50th anniversary event in 2021, noting that "new material [was] on the way".[7][8] However, the festival was cancelled in May 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.[9][10] In an August blog post, Lamar announced that he was in the process of producing his final album under Top Dawg Entertainment, writing:

I spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts. Writing. Listening. And collecting old Beach cruisers. The morning rides keep me on a hill of silence. I go months without a phone. Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next. As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years. The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood. May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life's calling. There's beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I've prayed for you all. See you soon enough.[11]

Recording

Rap has truly helped my expansion of self. Beyond the perception of who I believed to be. [...] Music is air to a young nigga at this point. Mr. Morale, the catalyst of my self-expression.

— Kendrick Lamar on Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers[12]

Lamar described Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers' songwriting as material he's written in the past that's "just now seeing daylight" due to his own personal insecurities. He and his longtime producer, Sounwave, began recording the album in early 2019 during a week-long brainstorming session in London; the only song from the session that made it onto the album was "Father Time". Both Lamar and Sounwave described making the album as "one of the toughest creative processes imaginable" due to Lamar's privacy, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the deaths of Nipsey Hussle and Kobe Bryant.[13][14]

During recording sessions, Lamar shielded the album away from most of his family members because he didn't want their influence or feelings to override his own; had he told them about it, then "them shits would've never came out." Sounwave admitted that there were times during the album's creation where "I was almost ready to give up music. Not going to lie to you. I was that lost and that down 'cause there was nobody dropping music and nothing coming out to inspire you." In an attempt to "stay alive and keep my hope alive in music," he took on an A&R position for both Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers and Baby Keem's The Melodic Blue (2021).[13][14]

Lamar credits becoming a father as what made him "question everything the most." When Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was nearing completion in May 2021, he contemplated scrapping the project because of how personal it was. He ultimately released the album because of how beneficial it would be for his children in the future.[13]

Music and lyrical themes

The standard edition of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a double album consisting of 18 songs split into two sections, titled Big Steppers and Mr. Morale, of nine tracks.[15] The digital version found on streaming services contains "The Heart Part 5", originally released as a stand-alone promotional single, as a bonus track.[16] With a playing time of over 78 minutes, it is Lamar's second-longest recorded studio album behind To Pimp a Butterfly (2015).[17]

Composition

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is a conscious hip hop record primarily rooted in minimalist production.[18][19] It also incorporates elements of free jazz, funk,[20][21] psychedelic jazz,[22] blues, quiet storm,[23] R&B,[24] soul,[21] trap,[25] and West Coast hip hop.[18] Much of the album was produced by Lamar's frequent collaborators Sounwave, J. Lbs, DJ Dahi, and Bekon.[16] Other production contributions came from Boi-1da, Baby Keem, Jahann Sweet, The Donuts, Tae Beast, The Alchemist, and Pharrell Williams, amongst others.[26] Alford and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle are credited as narrators of several tracks.[27][15] Songwriting contributions came from a variety of artists such as singer-songwriter Sam Dew, production team Beach Noise, and pianist Duval Timothy, in addition to Thundercat, Tommy Paxton-Beesley, and Homer Steinweiss.[26][28]

Themes

Due to its "messy but honest" lyrical content, many critics have regarded Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers as Lamar's most confessional body of work.[29] Its concept provides an independent analysis and reflection of his life experiences during his therapy journey.[30] Throughout the album, Lamar revolves around personal themes regarding his childhood and generational trauma,[31] sexual addiction and infidelity to Alford,[32] and struggles with celebrity worship and fame.[33] Other topics addressed on the album include fatherhood, toxic masculinity,[34] daddy issues,[35] therapeutic breakthroughs, spiritual consolation,[36] gender identity,[37] accountability,[38] fake news, cancel culture, capitalism, and performative activism.[39][16][15] Regarding the album's candid viewpoint, Dr. Christopher Driscoll, assistant professor of religion, Africana, and American studies at Lehigh University, writes "Within the intensely polarizing times we live today, very few artists across genres have the skill and the willingness to be so responsibly honest. Hip hop's always been better than many cultural spaces when it comes to unflinching honesty. [Lamar] runs with the latitude afforded by the hip hop culture he loves. The results are healing."[40]

Songs

In "Auntie Diaries", Lamar recollects a story concerning his transgender uncle and cousin, while referencing issues regarding societal and religious views of gay and trans individuals and those who associate with the LGBTQ+ community.[41][42][43] The eighth track, "We Cry Together", samples Florence and the Machine's song "June". Lyrically, it revolves around a heated argument enacted by Lamar and actress Taylour Paige.[15][16][44]

Release and promotion

On April 18, 2022, Lamar revealed the album's title and release date through a PGLang-headed letter.[45] Following the announcement, his website was updated with a page entitled "The Heart", which contained 399 empty computer folders.[46] Lamar confirmed the project would be a double album on May 3, by sharing a photo of the album's master copy.[47] The album artwork was revealed on May 11.[48][49] Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was released via digital download and streaming on May 13.[50] The album was released on CD on May 27,[51] and on vinyl and cassette tape on August 26.[52]

Live performances

On June 23, 2022, Lamar performed four songs from Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers—"Savior", "Rich Spirit", "Count Me Out" and "N95"— at French fashion house Louis Vuitton's Men's Spring/Summer 2023 show, in honor of their late artistic director Virgil Abloh, during Paris Fashion Week.[53][54] Hours after the performance, he headlined Milano Summer Festival.[55] Lamar headlined Glastonbury Festival on June 26, becoming the first hip hop artist to close out the festival.[56][57] As apart of his concert tour, he headlined Rolling Loud on July 24.[58] On October 1, Lamar served as the musical guest on the season 48 premiere of Saturday Night Live.[59][60]

Singles

To help anticipate Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers' arrival, Lamar surprise released "The Heart Part 5" as a promotional single on May 8, 2022, with an accompanying music video.[61] The fifth installment to his "The Heart" song series was met with widespread critical acclaim and peaked at number 15 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[62][63] On May 14, Lamar released the music video for "N95".[64] The song, which debuted at number three on the Hot 100, was sent to Italian contemporary hit radio on May 20, as the album's lead single.[65] The second single "Silent Hill" was serviced to American rhythmic radio formats on May 31.[66][67][68] "Die Hard" was sent to American rhythmic contemporary radio on August 9, as the album's third single.[69]

Tour

On May 13, 2022, following and in promotion of the album's release, Lamar announced his fifth solo headlining tour, the Big Steppers Tour, which visited Europe, North America and Oceania. Baby Keem and Tanna Leone served as the opening acts for three of the tour's four legs.[70] The October 22 performance at Accor Arena in Paris, France was livestreamed on Amazon Music's Twitch channel to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of the release of Lamar's second studio album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City (2012).[71] A director's cut of the performance was released as a concert film, titled Kendrick Lamar Live: The Big Steppers Tour, exclusively to Amazon Prime Video on November 23.[72]

Reception

Critical response

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?8.7/10[73]
Metacritic85/100[74]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[75]
Beats Per Minute88%[76]
The Daily Telegraph[77]
Evening Standard[78]
The Guardian[33]
The Independent[34]
NME[79]
Pitchfork7.6/10[21]
Rolling Stone[23]
The Times[22]

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was met with widespread critical acclaim.[80] At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from professional publications, the album received an average score of 85, based on 26 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[74] Aggregator AnyDecentMusic? gave it 8.7 out of 10, based on their assessment of the critical consensus.[73]

Ben Bryant of The Independent called the album a "tender opus from the defining poet of his generation", writing, "The rapper's first album in five years is a haunting and surprising meditation on fatherhood and family".[34] In a five-star review for The Guardian, Alexis Petridis praised the themes, lyricism and style.[33] Robin Murray from Clash enjoyed the album, saying, "Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is one of his most profound, complex, revelatory statements yet, a double album fueled by sonic ambition, the will to communicate, and Kendrick's staunch refusal to walk the easy path".[81] Steve Loftin of The Line of Best Fit said, "It being one so vulnerable and exposing (including using his family for the artwork), stripping the skin down to the bone, is bold, beautiful, but most importantly, a reminder that an artist like Kendrick Lamar is once in a generation".[82] Reviewing the album for NME, Kyann-Sian Williams stated, "The rapper's first album in five years sees him overcome 'writer's block' to triumph with a collection on which his observational skills go into overdrive".[79] Rob Moura of PopMatters said, "On Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, renowned rapper Kendrick Lamar observes the strife plaguing his kingdom and consciously abdicates the throne".[25] Writing for Exclaim!, Riley Wallace stated, "Kendrick Lamar lets it all out, and even if it's the last time we hear from him in this form, he's metaphorically put his whole heart on the table, with yet another body of work worthy of multiple spins and endless dissection".[83] Fred Thomas from AllMusic also stated that "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".[75]

In a four-star review for The Daily Telegraph, Will Pritchard praised the album's concept and the Kendrick's ability to take "big swings" on songs such as "Father Time" and "Worldwide Steppers". Pritchard lightly criticized the "occasional blip" on the album, citing the command to "stop tap dancing around the conversation" in "We Cry Together" as the album's most obvious misstep.[77] In a positive review, Pitchfork's Stephen Kearse said, "On his fifth album, Kendrick retreats from the limelight and turns to himself, highlighting his insecurities and beliefs. It's ambitious, impressive, and a bit unwieldy".[21] Rolling Stone critic Jeff Ihaza said, "The Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper spends much of his fifth studio album deconstructing his own mythology. The result is at moments brilliant but on the whole, frustratingly uneven".[23] In a more mixed review, Miloslaw Archibald Rugallini of Sputnikmusic praised the album's writing and performance, but criticized the production and perceived lack of cohesion, stating that "the instrumentals rarely serve the performances they exist to enhance", and that "the listening experience is defined by languorous stretches between big moments, and becomes more of an exercise in patience than an engaging and enlivening journey".[84] Jon Caramanica of The New York Times opined that "Mr. Morale is probably Lamar's least tonally consistent work", "rangy and structurally erratic, full of mid-song beat switches, sorrowful piano and a few moments of dead air".[85]

Controversy

Despite being met with widespread acclaim, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers also received backlash. The inclusion of rapper Kodak Black on the album garnered controversy due to him having been accused of rape in 2016 and pleading guilty to first-degree assault and battery.[86][87][88][89] While "Auntie Diaries" was met with praise from critics and some transgender listeners,[90][91] the song was also met with heavy criticism due to Lamar's repeated usage of "faggot", in addition to deadnaming and misgendering his trans relatives and media personality Caitlyn Jenner.[92][93][94]

Year-end lists

Select year-end rankings of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
PublicationListRankRef.
BillboardThe 50 Best Albums of 2022
4
ComplexThe Best Albums of 2022
1
Exclaim!Exclaim!'s 50 Best Albums of 2022
6
The GuardianThe 50 Best Albums of 2022
2
The IndependentThe Best Albums of 2022
3
NMEThe 50 Best Albums of 2022
5
PitchforkThe 50 Best Albums of 2022
13
Rolling StoneThe 100 Best Albums of 2022
11
Slant MagazineThe 50 Best Albums of 2022
7
TimeThe 10 Best Albums of 2022
8

Industry awards

Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers was the most nominated album by a male artist at the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, receiving eight including Album of the Year, Best Rap Album, Song of the Year and Record of the Year.[105] Lamar became the first artist in any genre to be nominated for Album of the Year with four consecutive lead studio albums since Billy Joel (1979–1983).[106]

Awards and nominations for Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
YearCeremonyCategoryResultRef.
2022American Music AwardsFavorite Hip Hop AlbumWon
BET Hip Hop AwardsAlbum of the YearWon
People's Choice AwardsThe Album of 2022Nominated
2023Grammy AwardsAlbum of the YearPending
Best Rap AbumPending

Commercial performance

Upon release, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers received the largest first day streams of 2022 on Apple Music, garnering over 60 million streams.[111] In the United States, the album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 chart, opening with 295,000 album-equivalent units that consisted of 35,000 album sales and 258,000 streaming units (calculated from the 343.02 million on-demand streams the album's tracks received). Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers became Lamar's fourth number-one album in the country, and was the largest opening week for an album in 2022 at the time.[112] The album became the first hip hop album of 2022 to reach one billion streams on Spotify.[113]

Track listing

Big Steppers

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."United in Grief"
4:15
2."N95"
3:15
3."Worldwide Steppers"
3:23
4."Die Hard" (with Blxst and Amanda Reifer)
3:59
5."Father Time" (featuring Sampha)
  • Sounwave
  • DJ Dahi
  • Beach Noise
  • Bekon
  • Timothy
  • Grandmaster Vic
3:42
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Rich (Interlude)"
Timothy1:43
2."Rich Spirit"
  • Duckworth
  • Dew
  • Spears
  • Natche
  • Frano Huett
  • A. Thomas
  • D. Dennis
  • G. Jackson
  • M. Hall
  • Sounwave
  • DJ Dahi
  • Frano
3:22
3."We Cry Together" (with Taylour Paige)
5:41
4."Purple Hearts" (with Summer Walker and Ghostface Killah)
5:29
Total length:34:49

Mr. Morale

Side three
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Count Me Out"
  • Duckworth
  • Dew
  • Spears
  • Natche
  • Pounds
  • Oklama
  • Sounwave
  • DJ Dahi
  • J. Lbs
  • Maxey[b]
4:43
2."Crown"
  • Duckworth
  • Dew
  • Timothy
Timothy4:24
3."Silent Hill" (with Kodak Black)
  • Duckworth
  • Kapri
  • Samuels
  • Spears
  • Sweet
  • Schaeffer
  • Jo. Kosich
  • Ja. Kosich
  • Boi-1da
  • Sounwave
  • Sweet
  • Beach Noise[b]
3:40
4."Savior (Interlude)"
  • Duckworth
  • Carter
  • Spears
  • Pounds
  • Oklama
  • Sounwave
  • J. Lbs
2:32
5."Savior" (with Baby Keem and Sam Dew)
3:44
Side four
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Auntie Diaries"
  • Bekon
  • The Donuts
  • Balmoris
  • Beach Noise[b]
4:41
2."Mr. Morale" (with Tanna Leone)Williams3:30
3."Mother I Sober" (featuring Beth Gibbons)
  • Sounwave
  • Bekon
  • J. Lbs
  • Maxey
6:46
4."Mirror"
  • Duckworth
  • Krieger
  • Stuart Johnson
  • Spears
  • Natche
  • Tannenbaum
  • Mehlenbacher
  • Gherman
  • Balmoris
  • Sounwave
  • DJ Dahi
  • Bekon
  • The Donuts
  • Balmoris[b]
4:16
Total length:38:16
Digital bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."The Heart Part 5"
Beach Noise5:32

Notes

  • ^[a] signifies a co-producer
  • ^[b] signifies an additional producer

Sample credits

  • "United in Grief" interpolates "Paradise", written by John Scherer and Tim Maxey, as performed by Not the Twos.
  • "Worldwide Steppers" contains samples of "Break Through", written by Vincent Crane and Pat Darnell, as performed by The Funkees; contains samples of "Look Up Look Down", written by Phillip Hunt, as performed by Soft Touch; and contains an uncredited excerpt from the clip "When There is No Cheese at the Cookout", as performed by Radel Ortiz.[114]
  • "Die Hard" contains a sample of "Remember the Rain", written by Marvin Eugene Smith, as performed by Kadhja Bonet; and contains a sample of "Shimmy, Shimmy, Ko-Ko-Bop", written by Robert T. Smith, as performed by Little Anthony and the Imperials.
  • "Father Time" contains samples of "You're Not There", written by Kennis Jones, as performed by Hoskins 'NCrowd.
  • "We Cry Together" contains a sample of "June", written by Florence Welch, as performed by Florence and the Machine; and contains samples of "Valentine", written by Gary Peacock, as performed Gary Peacock, Art Lande, and Eliot Zigmund.
  • "Count Me Out" interpolates "Paradise", written by John Scherer and Tim Maxey, as performed by NOT THE TWOS.
  • "Crown" contains samples of "Through the Night", as performed by Duval Timothy.
  • "Savior" contains samples of "Hypnotized", written by Tommy Paxton-Beesley, as performed by River Tiber.
  • "Mr. Morale" contains an uncredited excerpt from the clip "Dallas Cowboys look pathetic vs the Seahawks", as performed by Josh Shango, courtesy of The Dallas Cowboy Show.[115]
  • "Mother I Sober" interpolates "Paradise", written by John Scherer and Tim Maxey, as performed by NOT THE TWOS.
  • "The Heart Part 5" interpolates "I Want You", written by Leon Ware and Arthur Ross, as performed by Marvin Gaye.

Personnel

Credits adapted from liner notes.[116]

Musicians

  • Amanda Reifer – vocals (4)
  • Anneston Pisayavong – choir (10)
  • Baby Keem – drums (4), vocals (13, 14)
  • Bekon – bass (5, 18), keyboards (5, 15, 18), strings (15, 18), background vocals (15, 18), percussion (18)
  • Beth Gibbons – featured vocals (17)
  • Blxst – vocals (4)
  • Brenton Calvin Lockett – choir (10)
  • Bryce Xavier – choir (10)
  • Daniel Krieger – guitar (15, 18)
  • Danny McKinnon – guitar (10), bass (10)
  • Denise Stoudmire – choir arranger (10)
  • DJ Dahi – programming (5, 7, 18), bass (7), percussion (7), drums (10, 18), background vocals (10)
  • Duval Timothy – piano (1, 5, 6, 11)
  • Eckhart Tolle – narration (10, 13, 16)
  • Florence Welch – sampled vocals (8)
  • Frano – keyboards (7), programming (7)
  • Ghostface Killah – vocals (9)
  • Grandmaster Vic – strings (4, 17)
  • Homer Steinweiss – drums (15)
  • Kendrick Lamar – vocals (1–5, 7–12, 14–18)
  • Kodak Black – narration (3, 18), vocals (6, 12)
  • Immryr LoBasso Spencer – choir (10)
  • Jaheen King Tombs – choir (10)
  • J. Lbs – bass (10)
  • Mike Larsen – programming (16)
  • Paris Burton – choir (10)
  • Sam Dew – background vocals (7), vocals (14)
  • Sampha – featured vocals (5), background vocals (6)
  • Sounwave – drums (5, 7, 18), programming (18)
  • Stuart Johnson – percussion (18)
  • Summer Walker – vocals (9)
  • Sydney Bourne – choir (10)
  • Tanna Leone – vocals (16)
  • Taylour Paige – vocals (8)
  • Thundercat – bass (4, 17)
  • Whitney Alford – narration (1, 5, 8)

Technical

  • Ray Charles Brown Jr. – engineer (1, 3–9, 11–15, 17)
  • Jonathan Turner – engineer (1, 3–7, 9, 11–13, 15, 17–18)
  • Matt Schaeffer (Beach Noise) – engineer (1–5, 8–9, 12, 15, 17–18)
  • Johnny Kosich (Beach Noise) – engineer (1, 4–5, 15)
  • James Hunt – engineer (5, 14, 15)
  • Derek Garcia – engineer (6, 8, 12)
  • Raymond J. Scavo III – engineer (9)
  • Andrew Boyd – engineer (14), assistant engineer (1–12, 15–17)
  • Chad Gordon – engineer (15)
  • Matt Anthony – engineer (15, 18)
  • Sedrick Moore II – assistant engineer (1, 2, 5)
  • Wesley Seidman – assistant engineer (4, 12, 18)
  • Brandon Wood – assistant engineer (5, 8)
  • Kaushlesh "Gary" Purohit – assistant engineer (5)
  • Rob Bisel – assistant engineer (5)
  • Tristan Bott – assistant engineer (5, 8)
  • Erwing Olivares – assistant engineer (6)
  • Logan Haynes – assistant engineer (8)
  • Evan Fulcher – assistant engineer (9)
  • Johnny Morgan – assistant engineer (11, 18)
  • Hannah Kacmarsky – assistant engineer (15)
  • Thomas Warren – assistant engineer (15)
  • Zach Acosta – assistant engineer (15)
  • Manny Marroquin – mixer (1–7, 9–18)
  • Cyrus "Nois" Taghipour – mixer (8)
  • Derek "MixedByAli" Ali – mixer (8)
  • Anthony Vilchis – assistant mixer (1–7, 9–18)
  • Trey Station – assistant mixer (1–7, 9–18)
  • Zach Pereyra – assistant mixer (1–7, 9–18)
  • Brandon Blatz – assistant mixer (8)
  • Curtis "Sircuit" Bye – assistant mixer (8)
  • Michelle Mancini – mastering

Miscellaneous

  • Kendrick Lamar – executive production (as Oklama), creative direction
  • Dr. Dre – executive production
  • Dave Free – creative direction
  • Renell Medrano – album photography
  • Chris Burnett – album design and layout

Charts

Certifications

Certifications for Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
RegionCertificationCertified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[158]Gold10,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[159]Gold7,500double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[160]Gold100,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history

Release dates and formats for Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
RegionDateLabel(s)Format(s)Ref.
VariousMay 13, 2022[161]
May 27, 2022CD[51]
August 26, 2022[52]

See also

References

  1. ^ Alvarez, Lauren. "Where Is Hip-Hop's Reigning King Kendrick Lamar?". Forbes. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  2. ^ Carmichael, Rodney; Madden, Sidney (February 21, 2018). "'Black Panther: The Album' Is Kendrick Lamar's Parallel, Pan-African Universe". NPR. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  3. ^ Zo (July 27, 2019). "Kendrick Lamar and Fiancée Whitney Alford Welcome Baby Girl". Okayplayer. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  4. ^ Khalifeh, Mona (October 12, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Details 'Unconditional Love' for His Children in Rare Interview". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  5. ^ Alter, Rebecca (March 5, 2020). "Kendrick Lamar, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Launches Something 'Selfless'". Vulture. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  6. ^ Grove, Rashad (May 13, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Makes His Triumphant Return With 'Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers'". Ebony. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  7. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Is a New Headliner at Roskilde Festival". Roskilde Festival. December 30, 2020. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  8. ^ Richards, Will (December 31, 2020). "Kendrick Lamar has 'new material' dropping soon, say Roskilde Festival". NME. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  9. ^ Skinner, Tom (May 4, 2021). "Roskilde Festival 2021 cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions". NME. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  10. ^ Brandle, Lars (May 4, 2021). "Roskilde Festival 2021 Is Cancelled Due to COVID-19". Billboard. Retrieved December 29, 2022.
  11. ^ Darville, Jordan (August 20, 2021). "Kendrick Lamar announces 'final album' for Top Dawg Entertainment". The Fader. Retrieved May 16, 2022.
  12. ^ Martinez, Jose (August 3, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Shares Reflective Message Alongside Huge Batch of Tour Photos". Complex. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  13. ^ a b c Younger, Briana (October 11, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar's Life Lessons". W. Retrieved October 15, 2022.
  14. ^ a b Hyman, Dan (August 2, 2022). ""We Knew This Was Going to Be a Tough Listen": Sounwave On the Making of Kendrick Lamar's Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers". GQ. Retrieved August 2, 2022.
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Artist(s)

Veröffentlichungen von Kendrick Lamar die im OTRS erhältlich sind/waren:

good kid, m.A.A.d city ¦ To Pimp A Butterfly ¦ Untitled Unmastered. ¦ DAMN. ¦ Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar auf Wikipedia (oder andere Quellen):

Kendrick Lamar (2018)

Kendrick Lamar (* 17. Juni 1987 in Compton, Kalifornien; bürgerlich Kendrick Lamar Duckworth[1]), auch bekannt unter seinen Pseudonymen „K.Dot“[2], „Cornrow Kenny“[3] und „Kung Fu Kenny“[4], ist ein US-amerikanischer Rapper und Songwriter.

Werdegang

Kendrick Lamars Eltern zogen vor seiner Geburt nach Compton, da sein Vater Kenny Duckworth in Chicago seiner Vergangenheit bei der berüchtigten Streetgang Gangster Disciples entfliehen wollte. Seine Mutter fand zwar einen Job bei McDonald’s und sein Vater arbeitete bei KFC, dennoch fiel es dem Paar schwer, in der neuen Umgebung Fuß zu fassen. Seine Kindheit verbrachte Lamar in prekären Verhältnissen; als kleiner Junge bekam er mit, dass sein Vater weiterhin „auf der Straße“ arbeitete, um für die kleine Familie sorgen zu können, und einige seiner Onkel mütterlicherseits gehörten zu den Compton Crips. Die Nachbarschaft, in der er aufwuchs, war wie ganz Compton geprägt von Ganggewalt. So gehörten einige seiner Freunde sowohl zu den Bloods als auch zu den konkurrierenden Crips. Er selbst wurde nie Mitglied einer Gang.

Mit neun Jahren verfolgte Lamar die Videoaufnahmen zu California Love, einem Titel von Dr. Dre und Tupac Shakur, was ihn dazu brachte, sich intensiver mit Rap zu beschäftigen. An der Centennial High School, die Lamar besuchte, war Jahre zuvor auch schon André Romell Young – alias Dr. Dre, mit dem er später mehrfach zusammenarbeiten sollte.[5]

2009 schloss er sich mit seinen Rap-Kollegen und Freunden Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock und Ab-Soul zur Hip-Hop-Gruppe Black Hippy zusammen, die alle beim Label Top Dawg Entertainment unter Vertrag standen, jedoch vorerst kein Album aufnahmen.

Erstmals rückte er nach der Veröffentlichung des Mixtapes Overly Dedicated im Jahr 2010 ins Blickfeld der Szene. 2011 wurde sein Album Section.80, das exklusiv auf iTunes veröffentlicht wurde, eines der erfolgreichsten Hip-Hop-Alben des Jahres. Er arbeitete unter anderem mit Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Emeli Sandé, Wiz Khalifa, Eminem, The Game, Drake, Busta Rhymes, Lady Gaga[6], SZA und Tech N9ne zusammen.

Am 22. Oktober 2012 erschien sein zweites Studioalbum Good Kid, M.a.a.d. City. Es enthält unter anderem Produktionen von Dr. Dre, Just Blaze, Pharrell Williams, Hit-Boy, Scoop DeVille und T-Minus. Das Album erreichte Platz 2 in den USA und konnte sich auch international in den Charts platzieren. Es erhielt viele positive Kritiken und wurde vielfach als Meisterwerk bezeichnet.[7] Bei den Grammy Awards 2014 erhielt Lamar insgesamt 7 Nominierungen.[8]

Nach einer längeren Pause ohne eigene Veröffentlichungen erschien im September 2014 die Single i. In den USA war sie nur durchschnittlich erfolgreich, international war sie aber Lamars bisher größter Erfolg, unter anderem mit Top-40-Platzierungen in Großbritannien, Neuseeland und Dänemark. Bei den Grammy Awards 2015 erhielt er dafür die Auszeichnung für die beste Rap-Darbietung des Jahres. Sein drittes Album To Pimp a Butterfly wurde am 16. März 2015 eine Woche vor dem geplanten Termin veröffentlicht.[9] Es erhielt überwältigenden Beifall, speziell für seine sozialkritischen Texte über Themen wie Rassismus, Polizeigewalt, Depression und Selbstliebe. Lamar selbst wurde als Poet gefeiert.[10] Bei den Grammy Awards 2016 erhielt er insgesamt vier Auszeichnungen: für die beste Zusammenarbeit – Rap/Gesang des Jahres, für die beste Rap-Darbietung des Jahres, das beste Rap-Album und für den besten Rap-Song des Jahres. Er war insgesamt in elf unterschiedlichen Kategorien nominiert worden.[11]

Am 23. März 2017 erschien das Lied The Heart Part 4 (vorerst exklusiv auf Apple Music), mit dem er sein neues Album ankündigte. Eine Woche später erschien mit Humble die erste Single seines kommenden Albums, deren Musikvideo 30 Millionen Aufrufe nach nur einer Woche erreichte. Humble war Lamars erster Nummer-eins-Hit in den USA und damit seine bisher erfolgreichste Single.[12] Am 14. April 2017 erschien das vierte Studioalbum Damn.[13] Erneut erntete Lamar viele positive Kritiken.[14] So erschien das Album, ebenso wie seine Vorgänger, an der Spitze oder zumindest in den Top 5 zahlreicher Bestenlisten des Jahres.[15] Am 13. Juli wurde bekanntgegeben, dass Damn. Doppelplatin in den USA erreicht hat, was für Kendrick Lamar seinen bisher größten kommerziellen Erfolg darstellt.[16] Bei den Grammy Awards 2018 gewann er mit dem Album und den darauf enthaltenen Songs Humble und Loyalty alle vier Auszeichnungen in der Sparte Rap sowie einen fünften Grammy für das Video zu Humble.[17]

2017 brachte er seine eigene Schuh-Kollektion in Kollaboration mit Reebok heraus.[18]

Zusammen mit Anthony Tiffith produzierte Lamar Black Panther: The Album, den Soundtrack für den von Marvel Studios produzierten Science-Fiction-Actionfilm Black Panther, der 2018 in die Kinos kam.[19] Die Lieder All the Stars, King’s Dead und Pray for Me wurden zudem als Single-Auskopplungen veröffentlicht.[20] Das Album stieg auf Platz 1 in die Billboard-Charts ein[21] und wurde bei den American Music Awards 2018 als bester Soundtrack ausgezeichnet[22]; weitere Nominierungen des Albums beziehungsweise des Lieds All the Stars unter anderem für einen Golden Globe, einen Oscar und diverse Grammys folgten.[23][24]

Lamar gewann 2018 für sein Album Damn als erster Rapper den Pulitzer-Preis für Musik, da – so die Begründung der Jury – das Album „eindringliche Momentaufnahmen, die die Komplexität des modernen afro-amerikanischen Lebens einfangen, biete.[25][26] Im selben Jahr wurde er in die Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences berufen, die jährlich die Oscars vergibt.[27] 2019 steuerte er Vocals zum Album The Risky Sets von Westbam bei.[28]

Persönliches

2015 verlobte er sich mit seiner langjährigen Freundin Whitney Alford.[29] Berichten zufolge kam am 26. Juli 2019 die erste gemeinsame Tochter zur Welt.[30][31]

Kendrick Lamar ist Cousin des NBA-Spielers Nick Young.[32]

Seit einer schlechten Erfahrung als Teenager hat er aufgehört, Cannabis zu konsumieren, und trinkt außerdem keinen Alkohol mehr.[33]

Er ist gläubiger Christ, was sowohl in Interviews, als auch in zahlreichen Songs zum Ausdruck kommt.[34] In seinem Studioalbum Damn sind Glaube und Gottesfürchtigkeit zentrale Motive. Er konvertierte nach dem gewaltsamen Tod eines Freundes, was er unter anderem in dem Song Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst thematisiert.[35] Im Jahr 2013 ließ er sich taufen.[36]

Im Januar 2016 traf sich Kendrick Lamar mit dem damaligen US-Präsidenten Barack Obama im Weißen Haus, um dessen Initiative My Brother’s Keeper zu diskutieren.[37] Sie sprachen außerdem über soziale Probleme in vernachlässigten städtischen Regionen und deren mögliche Lösungsansätze.[38] Obama hatte Lamars How Much a Dollar Cost zuvor seinen Lieblingssong des Jahres 2015 genannt.[39]

Diskografie

Studioalben

JahrTitelHöchstplatzierung, Gesamtwochen, AuszeichnungChartplatzierungenChartplatzierungen[40]
(Jahr, Titel, Plat­zie­rungen, Wo­chen, Aus­zeich­nungen, Anmer­kungen)
Anmerkungen
 DE AT CH UK US
2011Section.80US113
Gold
Gold

(3 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 2. Juli 2011
Verkäufe: + 500.000
2012Good Kid, M.A.A.D CityDE47
(4 Wo.)DE
CH38
(6 Wo.)CH
UK16
Platin
Platin

(29 Wo.)UK
US2
Dreifachplatin
×3
Dreifachplatin

(… Wo.)Template:Charttabelle/Wartung/vorläufig/2012US
Erstveröffentlichung: 22. Oktober 2012
Verkäufe: + 3.680.000
2015To Pimp a ButterflyDE7
(10 Wo.)DE
AT15
(8 Wo.)AT
CH3
(18 Wo.)CH
UK1
Gold
Gold

(40 Wo.)UK
US1
Platin
Platin

(130 Wo.)US
Erstveröffentlichung: 16. März 2015
Verkäufe: + 1.335.000
2017DAMN.DE6
(35 Wo.)DE
AT6
Gold
Gold

(20 Wo.)AT
CH3
(18 Wo.)CH
UK2
Platin
Platin

(63 Wo.)UK
US1
Dreifachplatin
×3
Dreifachplatin

(… Wo.)Template:Charttabelle/Wartung/vorläufig/2017US
Erstveröffentlichung: 14. April 2017
Verkäufe: + 4.302.500
2022Mr. Morale & the Big SteppersDE3
(22 Wo.)DE
AT2
(13 Wo.)AT
CH2
(26 Wo.)CH
UK2
Gold
Gold

(35 Wo.)UK
US1
(… Wo.)Template:Charttabelle/Wartung/vorläufig/2022US
Erstveröffentlichung: 13. Mai 2022
Verkäufe: + 412.500

Auszeichnungen

  • BET Awards
    • 2012: in der Kategorie Lyricist of the Year
    • 2013: in der Kategorie Best New Artist
    • 2013: in der Kategorie Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
    • 2013: in der Kategorie MVP of the Year
    • 2013: in der Kategorie Beste Zusammenarbeit für „Fuckin’ Problems“
    • 2013: in der Kategorie Album of the Year für „good kid, m.A.A.d. city“
    • 2013: in der Kategorie Lyricist of the Year
    • 2014: in der Kategorie Lyricist of the Year
    • 2014: in der Kategorie Sweet 16 für „Control“
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Lyricist of the Year
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Live Performer
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Hip-Hop Video für „Alright“
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Impact Track für „Alright“
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
    • 2016: in der Kategorie Lyricist of the Year
    • 2016: in der Kategorie Sweet 16 für „Freedom“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Male Hip-Hop Artist
  • Brit Awards
    • 2018: in der Kategorie International Male Solo Artist
  • Juno Awards
    • 2018: in der Kategorie International Album of the Year für Damn
  • MTV Video Music Awards
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Video of the Year
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Collaboration
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Direction für „Alright“
    • 2015: in der Kategorie Best Cinematography für „Never Catch Me“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Video of the Year für „Humble“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Hip Hop für „Humble“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Cinematography für „Humble“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Direction für „Humble“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Art Direction für „Humble“
    • 2017: in der Kategorie Best Video Effects für „Humble“

Weblinks

Commons: Kendrick Lamar – Sammlung von Bildern, Videos und Audiodateien

Einzelnachweise

  1. Kendrick Lamar Duckworth auf allmusic.com
  2. Kendrick Lamar Talks Fame, Jay-Z & „K.Dot“ With Bullet Magazine. In: HotNewHipHop. (hotnewhiphop.com [abgerufen am 2. September 2017]).
  3. From Untitled To Titled: Decoding Kendrick Lamar’s ‘untitled unmastered.’ (Nicht mehr online verfügbar.) Archiviert vom Original am 7. Februar 2018; abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018 (englisch).  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/revolt.tv
  4. Das Geheimnis um „Kung Fu Kenny“ ist gelüftet | 16BARS.DE. Abgerufen am 2. September 2017 (deutsch).
  5. K. Wilson, M. Usinger, J. Lucas: All You Need to Know About: Kendrick Lamar in Vancouver. Auf straight.com 1. August 2017; abgerufen am 5. Januar 2018
  6. Lady Gaga on LittleMonsters.com (Memento des Originals vom 17. Dezember 2015 im Internet Archive)  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/littlemonsters.com
  7. Clinton Yates: good kid, m.A.A.d city: Instant masterpiece. In: Washington Post. 30. Oktober 2012, abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018 (amerikanisches Englisch).
  8. Grammys Nominations 2014 List: Jay Z Leads Pack, Macklemore, Lorde, Kendrick Lamar Score Too. In: Huffington Post. 7. Dezember 2013 (huffingtonpost.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  9. Pitchfork: Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is Out Now, 16. März 2015
  10. Felix Zwinzscher: So gut ist Kendrick Lamars Rap-Album To Pimp A Butterfly. In: DIE WELT. 22. März 2015 (welt.de [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  11. WELT :„Kendrick Lamar gibt dem Rap die Verletzlichkeit zurück“, 16. Februar 2016
  12. Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble.’ Hits No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100. In: Billboard. (billboard.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  13. Oliver Marquart: Kendrick Lamar veröffentlicht Cover und Tracklist von "Damn". In: rap.de. 11. April 2017, abgerufen am 29. Januar 2022 (deutsch).
  14. Kendrick Lamar: Ein Album für die Community. In: Die Zeit. 18. April 2017, ISSN 0044-2070 (zeit.de [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  15. Mark Savage: Who made the best album of 2017? In: BBC News. 22. Dezember 2017 (bbc.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  16. Zwei Mal Platin für Kendrick Lamar und sein „DAMN.“ · Boutblank.com. (Nicht mehr online verfügbar.) Archiviert vom Original am 7. September 2017; abgerufen am 14. Juli 2017.  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/www.boutblank.com
  17. Bruno Mars, Kendrick Lamar Dominate 2018 Grammy Awards. In: Rolling Stone. (rollingstone.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  18. REEBOK CLASSIC Club C 85. In: Schuheliebe.de. 5. Mai 2018 (schuheliebe.de [abgerufen am 16. Mai 2018]).
  19. KISS FM-Der Beat von Berlin: Black Panther The Album – Kendrick Lamar. Abgerufen am 3. März 2019 (deutsch).
  20. “Pray For Me”: Kendrick Lamar und The Weeknd mit dritter Single aus “Black Panther The Album”. Abgerufen am 3. März 2019.
  21. ‘Black Panther: The Album’ Spends Second Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart. Abgerufen am 3. März 2019.
  22. American Music Awards 2018: Die Highlights und Gewinner im Überblick. 10. Oktober 2018, abgerufen am 3. März 2019 (deutsch).
  23. David Molke: Oscars 2019: Kendrick Lamar & SZA mit Black Panther-Song „All the Stars“ nominiert. 22. Januar 2019, abgerufen am 3. März 2019.
  24. dpa: Musik-Awards: Kendrick Lamar führt Grammy-Nominierungen an. In: Die Zeit. 7. Dezember 2018, ISSN 0044-2070 (zeit.de [abgerufen am 3. März 2019]).
  25. Preisträger Pulitzer Preis - Bereich Journalismus. In: pulitzer.org. Abgerufen am 29. Januar 2022 (englisch).
  26. Renommierter Medienpreis für Hip-Hop: Rapper Kendrick Lamar bekommt den Pulitzer. Damn! In: Spiegel Online. 17. April 2018 (spiegel.de [abgerufen am 3. März 2019]).
  27. Academy invites 928 to Membersphip. In: oscars.org (abgerufen am 26. Juni 2018).
  28. Westbam: "EDM beweist, dass in unserer Zeit viel falsch läuft" – laut.de – Interview. Abgerufen am 29. Januar 2022.
  29. Kendrick Lamar Engaged to Whitney Alford. In: PEOPLE.com. (people.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  30. Madeline Roth: Kendrick Lamar And His Fiancée Have Reportedly Welcomed Their (Very Lucky) First Child. In: MTV. 26. Juli 2019, abgerufen am 29. Juli 2019 (amerikanisches Englisch).
  31. Joshua Espinoza: Kendrick Lamar and Fiancée Reportedly Welcome First Child. In: Complex. 26. Juli 2019, abgerufen am 29. Juli 2019 (amerikanisches Englisch).
  32. Alex Torres: Lakers News: Nick Young Discusses His Swaggy Fashion and Kendrick Lamar. In: Lakers Nation. 24. Januar 2014 (lakersnation.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  33. Kendrick Lamar: „The One Thing I Will NEVER Do…“ In: BlackDoctor. 16. Oktober 2013 (blackdoctor.org [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  34. The Book of K. Dot: Exploring the religious themes tucked in Kendrick Lamar’s catalog. (Nicht mehr online verfügbar.) Archiviert vom Original am 22. August 2017; abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018 (englisch).  Info: Der Archivlink wurde automatisch eingesetzt und noch nicht geprüft. Bitte prüfe Original- und Archivlink gemäß Anleitung und entferne dann diesen Hinweis.@1@2Vorlage:Webachiv/IABot/revolt.tv
  35. Kendrick Lamar Tells Tragic Story Behind ‘Sing About Me’. In: MTV News. (mtv.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  36. Hat auch einen Traum. In: Der Tagesspiegel Online. 21. März 2015, ISSN 1865-2263 (tagesspiegel.de [abgerufen am 29. Januar 2022]).
  37. Kendrick Lamar Opens Up About Meeting President Obama: ‘No Matter How High-Ranking You Get, You’re Human’. In: Billboard. (billboard.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  38. Kendrick Lamar Talks Oval Office Meeting With Barack Obama. In: Rolling Stone. (rollingstone.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  39. President Obama’s Favorite Song of 2015 Is... In: Billboard. (billboard.com [abgerufen am 6. Februar 2018]).
  40. Chartquellen: DE AT CH UK US

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