Culture

Kendrick Lamar Says ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers’ Is “A Reward For Humanity”

In an interview with W Magazine, Kendrick Lamar says that his aim was to reward “humanity” instead of wanting a Grammy or Pulitzer Prize.

Kendrick Lamar doesn’t need another accolade to prove himself. In a new interview with W Magazine, the Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers rapper discussed his evolution and growing from the need of receiving external acclaim.

I’ve had rewards for my other albums in different ways, whether it was accolades, whether it was the Pulitzer, whether it was the Grammys,” he said. “This one is the reward for humanity for me.”

As Kendrick’s fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers is both conscious and therapeutic, boasting appearances from Kodak Black, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Tanna Leone, Blxst, Taylour Paige, author and self-help guru Eckhart Tolle and more.

Kendrick was snubbed at the 2014 Grammy Awards, although his sophomore album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City was nominated in the categories of Best Rap Album and Album of the Year. While Random Access Memories by Daft Punk took home Album of the Year, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis won Best Rap Album for The Heist, which sparked mass controversy for seemingly being undeserved.

Kendrick returned to the Grammy Awards in 2016, winning Best Rap Album (To Pimp A Butterfly), Best Rap Song (“i”) Best Rap Performance (“i,” “Alright”) and Best Rap/Sung Performance (“These Walls.”) He also shared Best Music Video and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance with Taylor Swift for their collaboration “Bad Blood.” In 2018, he nearly swept all five of his Grammy nominations, winning four Grammys for Best Rap Performance, Best Rap Song, Best Music Video (“Humble”), Best Rap/Sung Performance (“Loyalty”) and Best Rap Album (Damn). The album also won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Music, making Kendrick the first rapper to receive a Pulitzer Prize.

“It’s an honor. [I’ve] been writing my whole life, so to get this type of recognition is beautiful,” he said in his acceptance speech.

Kendrick is currently on the European leg of The Big Steppers Tour with fellow pgLang artists Baby Keem and Tanna Leone. The tour concludes on December 17 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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