Today, Kendrick Lamar dropped his first album in five years: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, according to BrooklynVegan. The drop was anticipated, but also seldomly mentioned by Kendrick. The massive album consists of 18 tracks, all of which were barely hinted at by Lamar, other than his brief announcement of an album release that occurred last month. The album features Kendrick’s signature mix of personal and political lyrics, delivered with his signature lyrical prowess. As always, Kendrick doesn’t shy away from touchy subjects, and Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is no different.
“Mother I Sober” is an emotional ballad collaboration with Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. It deals with the generational problem of sexual abuse, a heavy topic that you can feel in Gibbon’s voice alone. Lingering between a tight, tearful whisper and a leveled flow, Gibbons touches on the longitudinal effects of abuse that can last lifetimes. You can genuinely hear Lamar’s soul throughout the track, as he tries to grapple with the subject matter.
The harsh reality we find ourselves in might get better by the day, but generational traumas like these will continue to haunt us. Kendrick Lamar has always used his platform to shed light on important social issues, and “Mother I Sober” is no different. Amplifying the voices of those who have experienced sexual assault is one step in the right direction to healing the cycle of abuse.
The sobering reality that Lamar brings to his music is what has made him one of the most important voices in hip-hop. He has a unique ability to take on heavy topics without sounding preachy or didactic, plus Gibbon’s soothing voice adds a layer of fragility that makes “Mother I Sober” a stand-out track on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.
On Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick Lamar has delivered another powerful album that is sure to resonate with fans and critics alike. You can stream the song below.
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna