Kendrick Lamar says it was “tough” to write so personally on ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’: “I’m a private person”

He also revealed that he didn't tell family members that he rapped about them on the album, and "had to reap whatever consequences came behind that"

Kendrick Lamar has discussed the personal nature of the lyrics on his latest album ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’, and the “tough” process of writing them.

Lamar’s fifth studio record was released back in May, and the rapper is currently beginning a European arena tour behind the project.

In a new and rare interview, he told W Magazine about writing candidly on the album about experiences with his family, and how he didn’t tell them about the lyrics before the album’s release.

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“I’m a private person; it was tough for me,” the rapper said, before explaining his reasoning: “The reason why I had to make that decision, whether they was for or against it, I just didn’t want the influence. I could have cut corners and got flashy with it and worded my words a certain way—nah, I had to be in the rawest, truest form I could possibly be in order for it to be freeing for me, in order for me to have a different outlook and the perspective on people I’m talking to.

“I had to reap whatever consequences came behind that, and also be compassionate and show empathy if they were hurt by it.” He added that, had he consulted his family on the lyrics, the songs “would’ve never came out”.

Kendrick Lamar. Credit: Jason Koerner via Getty Images
Kendrick Lamar. Credit: Jason Koerner via Getty Images

Discussing the impact this process has had on his own conversations with family as well as for others, he added: “That’s the beauty; that’s the best feeling I’ve been getting.

“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…’ For them to be able to express that and have that communication is rewarding for me.”

Lamar is currently underway with ‘The Big Steppers Tour’, with its North American leg wrapped up last month. Across October, Lamar will perform 16 shows in Europe, before concluding the year by touring Australia and New Zealand in December. See the full list of dates here, and the UK and European shows below.

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Tickets are available for the American shows here, for Europe and the UK here, and for Australia and New Zealand here.

OCTOBER 2023
13 – Hamburg, DE – Barclays Arena
15 – Copenhagen, DK – Royal Arena
17 – Stockholm, SE – Avicii Arena
19 – Oslo, NO – Telenor Arena
21 – Paris, FR – Accor Arena
24 – Stuttgart, DE – Scheleyerhalle
25 – Zurich, CH – Hallenstadion
26 – Laussane, CH – Vaudoise Aréna
28 – Antwerp, BE – Sportpaleis
30 – Cologne, DE – Lanxess Arena
31 – Frankfurt, DE – Festhalle

NOVEMBER 2023
2 – Glasgow, UK – OVO Hydro
3 – Leeds, UK – First Direct Arena
4 – Newcastle, UK – Utilita Arena
5 – Birmingham, UK – Utilita Arena
7 – London, UK – The O2
8 – London, UK – The O2
13 – Dublin, IE – 3Arena
16 – Manchester, UK – AO Arena

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