Photo courtesy of Top Dawg Entertainment | Renell Medrano
While Kendrick Lamar‘s new studio album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is proving that five years was definitely worth the wait, there are certain portions of the project that stand out more so than others — contributing to both Oklama’s legacy and his fans’ perception of him. Among these moments, the album’s fourth and fifth songs of “The Big Steppers” Side B of the project are surely at the top of the list.
K-Dot’s superstar cousin Baby Keem takes control over the potent strings and violins on the “Savior (Interlude),” hammering home the idea that the hardships he faced as a youth do not define him as a victim in his current state of life. While he knows that the trauma that surrounds him should certainly affect his mental well-being, he attempts to reassure himself of his stability with repetitive “I’m good love” sentiments.
As he reaches the other side of the song’s climax, the mellow piano that is introduced ushers Keem’s flow into the following song “Savior,” setting the stage for Kendrick Lamar, aka Mr. Morale, to deliver his commanding spiel about a new revelation he has made during his five-year hiatus.
“Savior” opens with the most important line on the song: “Kendrick made you think about it, but he is not your savior.” Over the years, Lamar has been committed to this well-accepted idea that he is a powerful voice for our generation in terms of sociopolitical awareness, musical perfection and perspective on the black community. Albums like To Pimp A Butterfly and DAMN. showed a refined and sage view of the current issues within society like poverty, evident on TPAB’s “How Much A Dollar Cost” and violence in America, evident on DAMN.’s “XXX.” He was deemed the king of rap, and felt like he was the chosen one and the savior, evident in bars from last year’s “family ties” with Baby Keem.
The facts mean this a vaccine and the game need me to survive
The Elohim, the rebirth
Before you get to the Father, you gotta holla at me first, b*tch“family ties” — Baby Keem, Kendrick Lamar
But on “Savior,” Kendrick’s change of heart helps him realize his job was never to be that flawless figure in the first place.
After exemplifying why other celebrity heroes like J. Cole, Future and LeBron James are also not the second coming of Jesus Christ on Earth, Kendrick picks up the tempo and raises the volume of his voice to deliver a stunning first verse about being unapologetic about some of his provocative stances and how people can be nit-picky about their support for the black community, citing the controversial MM&TBS narrator Kodak Black as an example.
Back pedaler, what they say? You do the cha-cha
I’ma stand on it, 6’5″ from 5’5″
Fun fact, I ain’t taking shit back
Like it when they pro-Black, but I’m more Kodak Black“Savior” — Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem, Sam Dew
Here, Kendrick just simply does not care about being politically correct, or correct at all, similar to how unapologetic Kodak is when he offers opinions of his like his support of Donald Trump. He wants to be able to be speak his mind, he wants to be able to mess up and he is tired of being the voice of a generation.
Specifically in the second verse, Kendrick admits when he was wrong, and indulges in learning about his peers being incorrect. In the case of him questioning Brooklyn Nets NBA star Kyrie Irving‘s anti-vax stance, Kendrick is embracing his flaws in judgement.
Seen a Christian say the vaccine mark of the beast
Then he caught COVID and prayed to Pfizer for relief
Then I caught COVID and started to question Kyrie
Will I stay organic or hurt in this bed for two weeks? (You really wanna know?)“Savior” — Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem, Sam Dew
The rest of the song follows suit, as he transitions from reading a poem to Tupac for his validation on To Pimp A Butterly (2015) to the acceptance that Tupac and the idea of Tupac cannot save him anymore.
Yeah, Tupac dead, gotta think for yourself“Savior” — Kendrick Lamar, Baby Keem, Sam Dew
Opening the final verse with “the cat is out the bag, I am not your savior,” the same Kendrick Lamar, who dons a crown of thorns and handgun in his back pocket on the album’s cover, wants his fans to know that he is not infallible and that you should get used to him making mistakes, just as every human should be allowed to do.
Listen to ‘MM&TBS’ below!