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  • Sueli Pereira

Kozyeli's Top 5 On Kendrick's "Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers"

These are my interpretations of the songs and my personal opinions, I am not a certified music critic. Just a girl with thoughts, dawg.

Die Hard featuring Blxst and Amanda Reifer.

Listening to the album first time, making sure shuffle isn’t selected. I discover my first favourite on the album. "Die Hard". Automatically what attracted me is the Summery Pop-RNB feel carried by Blxst, Californian artist and producer, and Amanda Reifer, who’s name I briefly remembered. Quick little Google search to later find out she was the lead singer in Barbados’ music collective Cover Drive. My music heads who grew up on Sky music channels like VIVA, STARZ and AKA know about these lot. Hit singles “Twilight” (my first ring tone on my first phone), and "Lick Ya Down" had commercial success in the UK in 2012. "Die Hard" gives chart vibes. I see me and gang bopping to this in like H&M or some shit. My attention was also snatched from me by the lyrics which simply resonated within me in the moment I heard it. 7:04pm 13th of May 2022. What I take from this is a dialogue of someone who’s passionate, full of love to give – but extremely hesitant, unable to trust and afraid of judgement. This was really a song I kept interrupting the rest of the album to go back to. I just really love this song.

“If I want it all without you involved, I guess it’s all for nothing.”

Father Time feat. Sampha

Oh.. yeah. this song? Needed.

First impression felt like a personal dig. “You reaaaally need some therapy…” followed by Kendrick yelling “Daddy Issues” in all caps. Although Kendrick didn’t even hint at a specific target audience in the song by this point, it felt like a dig in the start as a woman. Because of the way we’ve socialised ourselves to remember that daddy issues are attached to negative connotations, while also being attached to women. 32 seconds in, I think Kendrick provides a notable account of how the patriarchy ultimately will always harm men too. He does this through describing moments and phrases experienced and heard in childhood with pops that stuck with him. These effected the way he expresses himself, the way he views love, the way he carries himself and of course the way he sees the world, including the people in it. The verses in which the moments are described are sure to touch the hearts and souls of the male audience, allowing them to relate and reflect, finding comfort in it. Comfort in hearing a grown man casually express what you have been taught to repress. After, 3:09 minutes of description and a bond held by soundwaves, Kendrick adds: “They can’t stop us if we see the mistakes. 'Til then, let’s give the women a break. Grown men with daddy issues.”

In this song, Kendrick really redirects all the negative stigma and focus onto men, leaving the male audience with a choice to re-evaluate their thinking to aid them in not continuing to reinforce the very system that leaves everybody, including themselves, broken. To summarise, this song is a wake up call to my brothers. After all, It was a man who caused your daddy issues. And mine. And his. And hers. Kendrick delivered the self-awareness for y’all. Please don’t keep fucking up.

“Guess I'm not mature as I think. Got some healing to do."

Rich Spirit

Yo. This is my new affirmation song.

This song is just jiggy as hell. It makes me feel good. It makes me feel the type cocky you feel when you listen to Californian Rap and Hip-Hop. It’s the 'EUGHH' adlib that really does it for me. To explain this specific cocky feeling in a way that resonates with us all right now, I’m going to refer to the late resurgence of Tupac’s “Hit ‘em Up”. We’ve all heard it right? Yeah. Kind of like that. YG is currently the most prevalent artist in my playlist that delivers a good sense of this same cockiness, specifically the beats produced by Mustard. "Rich Spirit" is the song that reminds me once more how Kendrick effectively uses iconic, relatable, sometimes really cryptic intros, as well as, overall just enjoyable lyrics, melodies and beats to set up his audience and make sure we are listening. All this before propelling us into a completely different focus, providing quite powerful and effective dialogue damn near every time. I really mess with the smoothness of this song, the casual and polite jabs at his peers, and society today.

“I pray to god you actually pray when somebody dies. Thoughts and prayers are way better off timelines.”

We Cry Together

This is what the world sounds like.

I think this song really accurately depicts the misunderstandings and deliberate ignorance from, arguably, both the masculine and feminine. Men and Women. There’s an obvious divide that I didn’t think could be portrayed so beautifully, and Kendrick keeps it so raw. It’s a crazy good example of miscommunication and the harshness of the ego-killing shit we say to each other, that ultimately just ends up making all the issues you brought up with the intention to fix, even worse. I really admire how he puts relevant, general views and feelings that women feel and openly express to not only each other, but to the world almost all the time. He does this with out dumbing anything down to make himself or 'the masculine' look “better” which I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if it wasn’t a common thing for men to do. He included the anger, impatience, and hurt in her voice. The voice cracks and desperation nearer the end just felt familiar and real. Although I don’t fuck with how he responded, it’s how men really respond. And realness is something I admire and respect. At 3:42, when Taylour Paige talks her shit, talks OUR shit, we hear the same old: “Shut the fuck up”, “Ungrateful”, “Stop Pretending”, “Emotional”, “Fake innocent”, “Fake feminists”– all replies used to silence and gaslight women expressing their unhappiness and hurt in the world. The “Fuck you’s” turn into “Fuck me’s”, which to me seems like a good ending for a piece like this because it portrays the ending of many of these conversations and arguments, and in this case, the end of the track.

“Why they say it’s a man’s world?”

Savior feat. Baby Keem and Sam Dew

If you know me you know me you know beats like this one really get my neck cranking while making that face. You know the one. Kendrick repeating “He is not your saviour” after names such as J.Cole, Future and LeBron in a condescending tone is crazy to me. From my interpretation, it serves as a reminder, for our generation especially, to stop idolising celebrities to the extent that we do. We are insanely quick at putting them on these high pedestals, and even quicker to collectively knock them off when they show negative human qualities that we are familiar with and subjected to everyday in real life. He reinforces this nearer the end of the track with the quote, “The cat is out the bag, I am not your saviour. I find it just as difficult to love thy neighbours”. The use of the bible quote indicates he’s not too different from us, and faces difficulty being a “good” person– even under religion, an attempt to remove himself off the pedestal. I agree with the overall message that Kendrick delivers. How we don’t think for ourselves and that’s why we aren’t progressing. Collective consciousness, on sociology terms. Real talk. Can we fix that?

"Show me you real. Show me that you bleed."