Kendrick Lamar’s latest will only enhance his legend status


Kendrick Lamar’s first album in five years, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, dropped on May 13.

Kendrick Lamar is one of the most well-known and powerful rappers of all time. He is known for his unique approach to his music and his deep storytelling throughout his bars.  It had been five years since Lamar released his album DAMN, which featured tracks like “Humble” and “DNA,” However, his latest album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers, dropped on May 13 and fans are already predicting that it will be the best album of the year. 

Lamar proves that he is a great rapper, and many Olympic Heights students agree that his previous albums have earned their place as some of the hardest albums ever made. “DAMN and To Pimp A Butterfly (TPAB) are works of art, truly masterpieces of all time,” OH junior Tyler Cook says. Other students also agree with Cook’s interpretation. 

“Kendrick’s previous albums were some of the best rap projects made in our generation,” OH junior Edward Stephens said. Both students detail how well crafted and developed Lamar’s tracks are to them. Additionally, both students agree that those albums are competitors for the best albums of all time. 

These thoughts are shared through social media and news as well. A Rolling Stone entry by Brett Schewitz describes his first experience listening to TPAB, “I’d imagine what I was feeling would be akin to how people felt hearing Little Richard or Elvis Presley for the first time,” Schewitz explains. Even those who don’t listen to rap often can be drawn toward Lamar’s distinctive style. 

An important part of all albums are the features. Lamar hasn’t used a lot of features on his own tracks compared to other rappers, but has featured on a variety of songs. “I expect people like J. Cole, Drake, and more,” Cook mentions. “I want J. Cole to feature, but I expect features from U2, possibly Zacari, Baby Keem, and Bilal,” Stephens believes.

Baby Keem features Lamar in his album The Melodic Blue in two songs. “Family Ties” by Baby Keem (with Kendrick Lamar) is the one of most-streamed Keem songs on Spotify. It doesn’t prove that Lamar carries the song, but one could assume that Lamar only advances the success of the song. Many believe that this song isn’t what Lamar would normally deliver, but it wasn’t his song so he didn’t have control over the overall tone and vibe of the song. 

One of the most amazing things about Lamar’s songs is the feeling his listeners get from listening to them. From TPAB, “Alright” is one of the most realistic and uplifting songs of its time. It talks about police brutality and its effects on African-Americans, but then expels all the negative energy saying that “We gon’ be alright.” 

Lamar released “The Heart Part 5,” a song from Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers on May 8, which is a beautiful song with an elegant instrumental which is reminiscent of a jazz club. Listeners agree that this song is more than great. 

“This song was great, and the [music] video was amazing too,” Cook responds. The video is really impactful on Cook as the message uses deep fakes of many Black legends like Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey Hustle to convey points that are made throughout the lyrics. 

“‘The Heart Part 5’ is truly an amazing single; Kendrick spoke about the need for change in peoples of color culture. The changing faces in the music video was really exemplifying the effects of many people in our community,” Stephens expresses. Stephens shares the awe and impact the music video and the entire song had on not only him but people of color.