Kendrick Lamar Almost Shelved ‘Mr. Morale’: ‘I Thought About My Children’

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Grammy Award-winning rapper Kenrick Lamar received critical acclaim when he released his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers in May. However, the rapper says he came close to shelving the project but that his responsibility as a father helped to change his mind.

“When I got to completion, and I said, ‘I may or may not put this out; I’m not going to put this out; it’s way too much,’ I thought about my children,” Lamar explained in an interview with W Magazine. “I thought about when they turn 21, or they’re older in life, and when I got grandchildren, or if I’m long gone—this can be a prerequisite of how to cope. That’s the beauty of it for me.”

The album, which has already been lauded as a Grammy winner, features narration by Whitney Alford and Eckhart Tolle. Lamar pulled in several artists from across genres to create the masterpiece, including Blxst, Sampha, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, Amanda Reifer, Taylour Paige, Sam Dew, Tanna Leone, and Portishead’s Beth Gibbons.

The album is perhaps Lamar’s most introspective. Fueled by the ups and downs of not only his own relationship but those around him, he hopes that his children can learn from his experiences.

“It’s like when I be talking to some of my partners that never was able to express themself and communicate – they only knew how to communicate with violence – and for them to call up they moms, call they pops and say, ‘You hurt me, and this pushed me to go stay with my grandma, which my grandma pushed me to stay with my homies, which the homies pushed me to….'” Lamar said. “For them to be able to express that and have that communication is rewarding for me.”

Whilst Lamar will likely walk home with several awards for the project, he says what he stands to gain is much greater.

“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.”

Stream Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers below.

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