“Mr. Morale” by Kendrick Lamar (ft. Tanna Leone)
It can be said that this Kendrick Lamar’s “Mr. Morale”, at least initially, steers the listener in two different directions. On one hand, “Mr. Morale” is the type of conscious rap you would expect from Kendrick. And on the other, he also engages in a bit of braggadocio. But in the grand scheme of hip-hop, K-Dot may be the best at intermingling those two worlds.
As for the braggadocio, in this case it definitely takes a back seat to the conscious stuff. In the first verse, when the vocalist gets to noting that he’s had “three thousand wives” or what have you, what he’s actually getting at is the idea that at this stage in his development, having experience all of the pleasures of now, he’s now dedicated to focusing more on the internal than external.
In the second verse, it is implied that what such entails for Kendrick in particular is focusing his artistry on the plight of his Black people. Black people commonly experience personal “trauma” yet are still expected to navigate through life as if everything is normal, so to speak. K-Dot sheds so much light on this in this song.
Chorus of “Mr. Morale”
We all know, if he so desired, that Lamar could be dropping the same types of money-sex-violence songs as his peers. And what’s being put forth in the chorus is that tracks like these are rather inspired by the vocalist responding to his calling. Or as implied, he doesn’t sit around meditating on frivolous matters. Instead ‘sh*t on his mind is heavy’, more so than for the average man.
There’s a lot more going on in the lyrics. But one thing that isn’t made clear is what the title actually means. But calling yourself “Mr. Morale”, if that is in fact what K-Dot is doing, would point to the notion that he’s here to encourage people. And all things considered, said individuals would most likely be his own group, African-Americans.
Facts about “Mr. Morale”
This is the title track of sorts from Kendrick Lamar’s fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers”. Fans of K-Dot have known for a while that this is supposed to be his last album under Top Dawg Entertainment, the label that has been primarily responsible for Lamar’s discography up until this point.
The other companies that backed the release of this track are Interscope Records, Aftermath Entertainment and the Universal Music Group.
The featured vocalist on this song is Tanna Leone, one of the early signees of pgLang, the label Lamar co-founded in 2020 which, by the looks of things, will be handling his future projects post-Top Dawg. And pgLang is also apparently involved with the issuance of “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”.
Tanna and Kendrick wrote this song alongside Sam Dew and the track’s producer, the ever-present Pharrell Williams.
Sam Dew is a hip-hop artist from Chi-town, who is mainly known as a songwriter. But he also contributes additional vocals to this track.
Kendrick first announced this song/album about a month before it was dropped. It was subsequently dropped on the 12th of May, 2022.