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60th Annual GRAMMY Awards - Backstage

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Kendrick Lamar — Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Kendrick Lamar steps back on the scene with the release of his newest album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Five years removed from his last full-length album, the Compton, California wordsmith unveils this double album comprised of 18 songs divided evenly over the course of two discs.

Dot came with some friends for this two-part offering. Sampha, Taylour Paige, Blxst, and the Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah are among the artists featured on the LP’s first half. Kodak Black, Baby Keem, Tanna Leone, and Portishead’s Beth Gibbons appear on the album’s second half.

Stars appear behind the boards on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers as well. Producers on the project include Sounwave, Beach Noise, Keem, Boi-1da, Pharrell Williams, DJ Khalil, The Alchemist, and Jahaan Sweet, among others.

But in front of those soundscapes is King Kendrick at center stage. He delivers an album full of self-reflection (see “Mirror”). Throughout the project, the Pulitzer Prize winner dissects everything from childhood (“Father Time”) to parenthood (“Worldwide Steppers”), from generational trauma’s lasting impact (“Mother I Sober”) to grief and therapy (“United in Grief”), and beyond.

“Hello, new world, all the boys and girls / I’ve got some true stories to tell,” Kendrick says on “N95.” And the stories unfold throughout. What’s the source? “Writer’s block for two years, nothing moved me,” Mr. Lamar explains on “Worldwide Steppers.” “Asked God to speak through me / That’s what you’re hearing now, the voice of yours truly.”

Listen to that voice on Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers below.

Post Malone feat. Roddy Ricch — “Cooped Up”

Fresh off the release of his newest album, Live Life Fast, Roddy Ricch teams up with Post Malone for the latter’s newest single, “Cooped Up.” The song was produced by frequent Malone collaborator Louis Bell.

“I’ve been waiting so long, now I’ve gotta resurface,” Malone sings on the track. “I’ve been feeling cooped up.” Roddy adds: “Partner in crime with me while we whippin’ in a spaceship / Got it out the pavement, now we gettin’ payment.”

Roddy continues his verse by explaining the origin of his bond with Malone. “I remember I was just posted up with the demons,” he sings. “And Posty took me on my first damn tour date, he had me rockin’ every night, sold-out arenas.”

Malone looked back on this part of their story during an interview with Apple Music. “It’s super interesting,” he explained during the one-on-one with famed host Zane Lowe. “It’s so crazy. That was long ago but he’s just such an incredible man, such a natural performer, vocalist, and lyricist. He just gets after it and it’s so cool…Just to watch him grow, he’s such a beautiful, beautiful man, and so talented.”

Listen to “Cooped Up” below.

Black Thought & Danger Mouse — “No Gold Teeth”

What do you get when you combine Danger Mouse and Black Thought? The dynamic emcee-producer combo that teased an album that was believed to be called Dangerous Thoughts in the past finally unleashes a new single as a duo with “No Gold Teeth.”

“I can’t stop,” Black Thought announces on the track. “If I don’t work, then I won’t eat / Time keeps running like a river, it don’t cease.” He continues: “I keep a crowd satisfied, bringing ’em cold heat / I’m gratified, winnin’, bling-blingin’, no gold teeth.”

This is just a taste of things to come. In fact, Thought and Mouse have announced a new album titled Cheat Codes is due August 12 with features from Run the Jewels, A$AP Rocky, Raekwon, Joey Bada$$, and Conway the Machine. The late MF DOOM is also slated to appear on the LP.

Thought spoke about an earlier iteration of this album back in 2020 during an interview with Hot97. “It’s a feel-good record,” Thought said at the time, as per Hypebeast. “It’s a record for people who got into hip-hop and sort of evolved at the same period of time that we did. We’re the elder statesmen at this point, so I feel like this record is reflective of that too.”

Get a slice of Cheat Codes below.

Burna Boy — “Last Last”

Burna Boy continues his global stronghold with the release of his newest single, “Last Last.” The new track was produced by Chopstix and features a familiar throwback sample.

“I put my life into my job,” Burna sings on the cut. “And I know I’m in trouble / She manipulate my love.”

As alluded to earlier, the song features a prominent sample of Toni Braxton’s Rodney Jerkins-produced hit “He Wasn’t Man Enough.” That song appeared on the singer’s 2000 album, The Heat.

“Last Last” is a cut off Burna’s forthcoming album, Love, Damini. The project is slated to drop on July 2, which happens to be the worldwide superstar’s birthday.

Listen to “Last Last” below.