Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers Album First Listen Reaction

This is is part of my live-learning series! I will be updating this post as I continue through my journey. I apologize for any grammatical errors or incoherent thoughts. This is a practice to help me share things that are valuable without falling apart from the pressure of perfection. 

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Kendrick Lamar's Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers Album First Listen Reaction

Feels like a big tasks
The beat switches continue
Had writers block
Love the part about grieving different
Die hard has first pop feel
Father time is powerful and needed great choruses always love hearing Sampha
Like that he says daddy issues are on him
Drake and Kanye reference
Songs aren’t over staying their welcome the album feels fast
Rich spirit stop playing before I turn you into a song :joy:
Felt attacked about living life on a computer lol
We cry together has big impact the emotion in the voice
Comedy in it had real laughs about the cousin line
Man what a song
Love hearing Kendrick singing on purple hearts
Lots of nice different flows with this foundational Kendrick ones
Count me out is strong anything with a chorus line gets me
Sometimes he moves so fast you phase out a bit
Kanye like transition on this song
Love talk about hustle culture and how it didn’t make him happy
Too rich and layered to have fully formed impressions after just one listen
That is why this is not a review
Crown can’t please everybody can’t even please myself
Silent hill Kodak black with the feature
Saviour is a smash for an interlude
He is not your savior fire
Plays around with where you expect big drops and they come a bit softer then build which is great
Hard to select songs out of album after first listen
Auntie Diaries builds so beautifully and is first one I wanted to continue and was sad lol
Mr morale the title trak was not as impactful had this strange mix between pop and hip hop felt like it was trying to be two things at once which has been done well before but personally didn’t work for me here
Mother I sober is pure magic trauma love pain manhood suffering
You broke a generational curse wow
I choose me I am sorry
Mirror closes out album


We cry together
Father time
Saviour interlude
Mother I sober


An experience
Awesome listen with mix between head bopping and thinking
It is a double album and long
No filler but could be condensed and just as or even more powerful
But it Kendrick it been long time we eating
Rhyming as coping mechanism in mother I sober
Mother I sober is just pure magic



Automated Transcription

Hello, it is an exciting day for hip hop for music. Kendrick Lamar releases his new album Mr Morale and the Big Steppers. I am not doing a review but I got to listen to it for the first time doing a bunch of stuff, making tea, working out all this kind of stuff in the morning. And like Kendrick, always sort of very layered albums, dense, filled with so many I mean so many words per minute even that it’s hard to build your full first impressions off it, build, build the especially review, especially from someone like me who you know who. What is my right to be able to do that? But what I did want to talk about was just my some of my reactions. Some of my thoughts and impressions based off the first listen.

Huge hip hop fan huge Kendrick Lamar fan. It’s been a long time people waiting for this album started off with the announcement, not the well. The announcement on Instagram and then the video. The heart part five with some deep fake technology in here. Let’s see if I can get one and there we go and so obviously you know that that’s done. Number one. Trending music, 21 million views and people very excited for this.

Album to to come out. So I’m going to jump in. I’ll switch the screen here. I didn’t even know how people do this. I know there’s all these wonderful people who doing reviews and stuff. I’m just going to go through my route. I and hope hope you enjoy. If you have any thoughts, any feedback. Would love to discuss this is the this is something I’m I’ve been really excited for and glad to see Kendrick back. So first note I mean.

You know the beat switches are back. They’re not as drastic as they were on dam, but it does sort of continue. And what I I liked is there’s some moments where they’re sort of building you up to what you think is going to be a relatively big beat drop. I think. The one example I heard was savior and then it actually ends up to be a little bit mellow and then starts to build back in. And so I think those are some nice plays with our own expectations based on hip hop music in general, but also our understanding of Kendrick too, and you know, on top of that there has been.

These sort of lots of experiments with flows, some beautiful sort of melodies during this album, but then also some of Kendrick’s like foundational flows that we come to expect with the quick pace. Almost that strain yelling, very powerful overall, and you know nothing better than hearing like. You just hear this beat come that’s and then you hear the then you hear the fast, the the fast flow come in and a couple great examples of this throughout the album. So a couple things that I picked up just from listening and again too deep too. I didn’t read the lyrics. I just listened to this you know one of them was I thought was really interesting. Was this part about writer’s block and so obviously there was. There was a distance between his last album. I think I’m going to say 2016. I don’t want a 2017, sorry for damn.

So that’s a pretty long wait. I think you know I’ve always wondered about artists who are, you know, creating. Look on such a regular pace. How much how hard it must be, unless you’re just channeled and and and letting you know. Obviously that’s your job. That’s your role and and you’re around. People who are creative and talented, but inspiration seems, at least for me, personally wanes and goes back and forth. And I must imagine this is the same thing for artists, no matter what pedestal that we put them on. And I think Kendrick really nicely and powerfully shares that experience through this, so I appreciate him. Sort of saying that and glad that he got through the writer’s block.

On that Channel found the inspiration and he sort of says this. This is yours truly this is God streaming through me as I released this music as I share share what I’m sharing here on this album. And so it was considered a I guess a two part album and on Spotify it’s it’s grouped as one. I’m guessing you know, I, I don’t want to sound like the idiot here, but when when does the actual switch happen? Seems to be around sort of. Maybe I’m wrong, right here? Count me out. I was like I listen to it.

While working out and stuff, so count me out is then the start of the second one and count me out banger. Great song I’ll take anything with a chorus line but just to go back through a couple notes there is obviously some length to this album. Overall like. I think there the album could be just as powerful, more compact and more condensed. Saying that it’s Kendrick, we’ve been waiting a long time we’re eating. We’re never going to say no to more Kendrick, and I think you know, I think it makes sense that he had all of this in them and released it. And and in even saying that there was no to me, there’s no filler. There’s no filler moments. It’s just I had this sort of dual experience where these songs actually felt very fast and quick and transitioning.

Actually the 1st 9 songs and then obviously as you get deeper into it, it feels it starts to feel a little bit longer there. And so again, people having different experiences of this album, they’ll start to pick and play and do different songs, but I do think there was. A little, maybe less differentiation in the beats and the actual overall sound through some of it. Although there was a lot of differences that I think that blended it all together and there’s a couple times I found between the blending of the instrumentals and and then obviously the sort of quick lyrics. The density of lyrics that I sort of phased out a couple times and maybe that was actually a positive thing. It was like a line that had been said earlier.

That sent me on this like sort of thought spiral and and then so I missed that. You know the next couple lines, but I think that’s what happens when you sort of jam pack with so many lyrics so dense and and to say that you know Kendrick Kendrick’s a master at that he. I’m not really going to complain, and I’ve always been one someone who loves to hear people. Flexing flows, lyrical prowess and and and using these, you know incredible rhyme schemes to build complexity and layers and and so I’m not really again, I’m not going to complain. What I will do is listen again. Reference lyrics and excited for always people sort of the. You know, deconstructing what Kendrick writing in these songs because it goes so much deeper than this surface level.

And we’ve seen that over and over again with the kind of rhymes that he’s putting together, so there’s a couple other themes throughout this album power. Manhood, lust childhood trauma that I think are. Important to be spoken about that? I’m thank Kendrick for talking about that. Are you know, dear and near to my heart and to many everyone in the world, but I think especially directed towards in this case a lot of men who struggle with this but don’t necessarily want to talk about it or show it or and and and and so to have someone like this who’s as strong as Kendrick and who has done so much for the world and for the culture. It’s it’s great to hear him talking so transparently.

About this and and honestly so. Try to keep him jumping around just so with overall things right now, but. What I noticed I sort of started to go just write some general notes and then started to go a little bit more track by track as I realized like what’s the best way to to break this down, and so I’ll jump through the first couple of songs, which is fantastic opener what I. What I noticed then is sort of die hard is the first song that has this sort of pop feel to it and and that pop feel is sort of throughout the album, but there’s less of it throughout the album then maybe even past music from Kendrick. I think, which is fine. I think he has the right to do it. I actually encouraged that. I’m happy there were a couple of songs I think later in the album and I guess I shouldn’t be jumping around. But Mr morale sort of one of the title.

Facts I felt had this sort of weird. Not weird, but strange. Mix between almost pop and hip hop. Sort of trying to feel like it was like two things at once, which had been like done well personally. But like you know personally it’s that’s personally this. This had a little bit of conflict for me, but.

Maybe on other lessons I won’t feel that same way. And obviously this blend between pop and hip hop has been done really well before for some reason I’m thinking of loyalty with Rihanna, but in this case I felt like a little bit of conflict and that was the title track. So you obviously expect these titled this. There’s weight on the title track. So that was just something interesting to hear. Sort of the pop distilled through it, but overall it was very very much hip hop. A lot of wrapping and I’m I’m grateful for that. So a couple other things that.

Stuck out to me there all do little wrap up with the couple stand up songs for me but Father time is incredibly powerful. I was so happy to hear Sam on it. I was like you know that chorus comes in what a beautiful sort of haunting voice he has. And you know, I think many of us struggle in our world and a lot of that is connected down to our childhood and a lot of that for men is their connection to father. And so for Kendrick again to address that. So honestly is really powerful.

And I like that he sort of said that daddy issues are on him and I think that’s something that we all experience. I’ve had that own experience and once you get to a certain age, it’s your responsibility to take care of these things. But we don’t always do that, and so I think again, very powerful songs like I don’t know if this is this exact song, but there were some really nice Drake and Kanye references in these little group of tracks here. Everything I everything I was is basically everything I was is what Kendrick said, which you know a little bit of play with Kanye and everything. I am so.

That was really nice. The songs I didn’t feel like they overstayed their welcome. They did have that experience early of the album feeling fast and then slowing down a little bit. And and then, as I moved in a little bit forward through this like rich rich spirit, you know, I love the line. Sort of stop playing before I turn you into a song. And personally I felt attacked about living life on a computer. I live life on a computer. I’m on it right now. I’m speaking to you through this computer. So Kendrick that hurt my feelings, but I understand. And then I think what has.

Even from an early commentary before listening to what I had seen and you don’t like to taint your expectations. But this we cry together and we cried together has. That’s a big impact song, you know, a couple fighting switch between male and female incredible raps and some great moments of just comedy. Like you know about fucking the fucking the cousin and literally had a laugh out loud, more in the morning, making tea listen, listening to that so really stand out. Back from me I can, you know, I didn’t want that to tint taint me because I had seen that before, but as soon as this track opened, it was like oh shit. And what is look to see what it was. We cried together and it all sort of clicked in my mind. So definitely a standout on on the album.

Always nice to hear Kendrick singing does that a little bit more on purple hearts. A couple of the others tracks, and he does switch between. Obviously these hard wrapping sort of flows and then the Nice sort of layered melodic Kendrick. Almost sort of like the mumble. Are humming, I would actually say more than mumble that he does so again, enjoy that a lot. Count me out as strong as it sort of starts out now that I know that that’s the first of the second piece here. Honestly, anything with the chorus line gets me so thank you for putting that in and there was an interesting sort of.

Couple of like sort of Kanye like transitions and not that you like to compare, but sort of where things drop some. Some melodies come in, or some piano comes in and then and then. Almost like some yells and it’s like all layered on top of each other and then transition. So that was really interesting. I enjoyed some of the talk about sort of like hustle culture and how it didn’t make him happy.

That that’s something that I, I mean, many of us have dealt with, and it’s sort of promoted in the culture that we are today. Work hard. Keep your head down, keep going, find success and you know. So he. So talk about making money or buying a car and how it doesn’t make them happy. These are all layered to different tracks. So I think a very strong sentiment and theme throughout and in lesson for all of us who are trying to chase success, trying to find things that are not necessarily not attainable. And if they are attainable, won’t give you the fulfillment.

That you’re actually looking for so. You know there was a couple features here. Kodak black. It was the savior interlude which was a banger. I love when an interlude you expected to be like a 22nd sort of maybe talk track. And it was.

Some great verses and and then even just in general, this idea of Savior so talks about LeBron. I forget who else is mentioned. You know reference in this song but just this idea of like they’re not your saviors and I think that’s something else. And I mean, Kendrick alludes to this himself. He’s not your savior either, right? He’s we? We look up to these celebrities looking to these artists and they have their own problems. They’re human. They have their own challenges and. And it doesn’t mean that you know they’re not here to save us.

They’re trying to save themselves Even so, and and try to save the people around them so. It is hard. I would say too. Select songs out of the album after the first listen I will again jump into a couple standouts, but. I think there are moments where yeah, sort of does blend together as we move towards the end. There are a couple.

Nice moments this anti Diaries. It built so beautifully the beat and it was the first song that sort of ended before I felt it reached full maturity. In my perspective. But that’s actually more just a selfish desire that I wish I had heard that beat sort of come fully together and or him at least continue on that. So that was my first one that I was sad. It was like I wish this one wasn’t over, but again, no songs overstayed their welcome. I never thought any song like can this song and you know Kendrick kept you.

You know, and sort of entranced in the music and. And you know again, even though maybe the album as a whole is obviously a little bit longer with the with the 18 songs, I didn’t feel bored, I didn’t feel. You know, willing to turn this off and I actually felt that it was a more easy or more easy listen than some of his past albums. That are like sonically impactful or lyrically impactful to the point where it’s not would say, traumatizing to listen. But it’s like you have to prepare yourself for that lesson. So I enjoyed even though there was some deep themes on here, it was a little bit more.

Approachable to listen to and I’m interested to see you know people’s response around that or feedback, or you know, I’m thinking of turning the tables and the dad listening to to that on that on that Channel there. So again, mother Mr Morell. I think you know I would have hoped to be maybe a little bit more impactful, but then mother I sober came and that’s just like a pure magic trauma love, pain, manhood, suffering and then to hear the the line about you breaking a general generational curse. It was just a beautiful moment. I’m guessing that is Kendrick child’s voice that’s profound to me, and it was a great way they could have. He could have closed the album on this, and then he actually went with Mirror. And, you know, I think that’s a a fascinating end to this where he says I chose me and I’m sorry for that and.

I think that’s a a feeling that many of us can connect to as well to where choosing ourselves is sometimes the best thing, but it almost feels selfish, even though it’s not. And so Kendrick. I’m glad you chose yourself. You deserve it and you know, just thank you for, I guess coming out with. Taking the time to make music, taking the time to understand yourself and do the things that are important to you and then deliver music when you can. I think we expect so much from artists today that sometimes it’s almost not fair and it puts so much pressure on someone who is really just again a human doing their best to navigate through a very volatile world. And as Kendrick shared like who has their own trauma, who has their own experiences and own things to deal with. So overall, like I really did enjoy this.

It was awesome. Listen mix between sort of like head bobbing and and then just like obviously the thinking and. I I really enjoyed just a couple last notes. Sort of. This rhyming as a coping mechanism. I thought that was a really powerful line and we’re all have sort of these coping mechanisms in our life and and Kendrick.

It shows rap. He chose hip hop, chose language and obviously he did that very well and the world is grateful for that. Lastly, just a couple standouts for me. We cried together Father time, savior, interlude and then mother is sober. And.

Just overall beautiful experience long awaited. It’s weird when we’re in that culture where. Content is moving so fast, so I’m interested to hear Kendrick in the world of that today of tick tock and all this stuff. The lasting power of this before you know the music sort of burns on and then people want another album or people move on to the next album release or whatever that is it’s it’s. There’s going to be a subset of people who listen to this album. They love it. It becomes a big part of their sort of playlist and what they’re listening to. And a lot of other people.

Like always, just like burning through or binging a television show will burn through this album. Before then, they look to the next music and so that’s really interesting to see where that ends up. And for myself, I have a couple tracks out of here that I mentioned that will probably. End up on my playlist and stick around. While there, one sort of fade into it. Before I I relisten again. I will say, listen to damn again before this and was a man. What an album. So I did have that album.

Had a little bit more, I think maybe have a visceral. Like wow feel to it in a different way than this album. This this album still did. But and I don’t actually put dam in the rotation all the time. But when I do, I go listen to it and I can listen to that thing. It’s so fast and so powerful and so big. It’s like it’s it’s such an impressive feat. This album, as I continue to listen to it. I’m excited to see where that actually feels and where that lands. Once you start to understand the complexity, the layers and have a little bit more of predictive mechanism or a familiarity with the music that makes it even more enjoyable. So this is Tyler. I’ve just from 1.

Listen, thank you again, Kendrick. This was a fantastic. I will continue to listen to this. Look forward to seeing some reviews, some reactions, and just excited to have you know one of the greatest hip hop artists come back and release another amazing piece of music. So thank you so much for checking this out. Bye bye.


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