“Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” Top Songs

Picking three favorites from Kendrick Lamar’s latest album.

Nathan Anderson, Sports Editor

Hip-hop legend Kendrick Lamar released his latest studio album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”, after a five year hiatus following the release of the Pulitzer-winning “DAMN.” During this hiatus, Lamar notably worked on the Black Panther soundtrack (2018), featured in two songs on Baby Keem’s acclaimed “The Melodic Blue” album (2021), and performed in the Super Bowl LVI halftime show (2022). Just days before the album was released, Lamar also released single “The Heart Part 5” and set the internet into a frenzy over the deep-fake technology used in the music video. “Mr Morale & The Big Steppers” was Lamar’s seventh album, following “Section.80” (2011), “good kid, m.A.A.d city” (2012), “To Pimp a Butterfly” (2015), “untitled unmastered.” (2016), “DAMN.” (2017), and the Black Panther soundtrack in collaboration with SZA.

Lamar’s long-awaited return was largely met with heavy praise, the honesty and grit of the album stuck out. Lamar isn’t afraid to ruffle feathers (and never has been) and isn’t afraid to try new things and sound different. Lamar discusses heavy-hitting subjects such as grieving (“United In Grief”), issues with his own father (“Father Time”), domestic abuse (“We Cry Together”), and adjusting a previously homophobic lifestyle after two family members came out as transgender (“Auntie Diaries”). The following are my three favorite songs from the album:

  1. “N95”- Lamar tells listeners to shed infatuations that hold us back from enjoying real life and real experiences. Lamar goes after materialism, fake lifestyles, and the media that glorifies these things. In the chorus, Lamar says that underneath these “masks”, these people are ugly and shallow. Lamar calls out the world’s elite for taking advantage of the Pandemic and treating the rest of humanity as a stepping stone to more wealth, before calling out cancel culture and those who bow to it. He does all this in one song, behind a driving beat and a catchy hook.
  2. “Count Me Out”- Lamar deals with his own failures and negative emotions in the first half of the track, before flipping the beat and raps about being able to carry yourself and depend on yourself. As far as the lyrics go, it doesn’t hit as deep as some of the album’s other songs, but the beat behind it and its flow carry it to the number two spot for me.
  3. “Savior”- The duo of Lamar and cousin Baby Keem remain one of the better duos in the game. Lamar raps about double standards and challenges people’s mindsets about subjects including vaccination, people lying to be politically correct, “acceptable” violence vs “non-acceptable” violence, and in general discusses the brokenness of society. At the start of the song, Lamar reminds us that celebrities, rappers, athletes, are all just people and are “not your savior.” Lamar is well-known to be a Christian and in this song, he raps about the lack of a messiah amongst humans and the brokenness of our society behind another catchy beat with his cousin, a star in his own right.