Mother I Sober

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Trigger Warning: lyrics mention sexual abuse and rape

The new Kendrick Lamar album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers has been getting a lot of play here at SAND. As an organization and along with our wide range of expert voices we've been trying to witness, unravel, and ultimately heal the complex puzzle of intergenerational trauma.

Lamar's emotional, raw, and heartfelt lyrics coupled with a panoply of powerful music require many listens to sift through the layers of trauma he's exploring.

This album chronicles the trauma of poverty, Blackness, violence, abuse, addiction, and religion to name a few. There are, however, triumphant moments of healing as Lamar talks about escaping this cycle and his work with spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle who is sampled several times on the album.

“Mr. Morale” is not an easy listen, but in the end, it can be a cathartic one.

The video above comes at the climax of the 18-song opus. It features a tender piano motif and the dulcet voice of Beth Gibbons lead singer of Portishead.

From “Mother I Sober”:

“I'm sensitive.
I feel everything.
I feel everybody.
One man standing on two words, heal everybody.
Transformation then reciprocation – karma must return.
Heal myself – secrets that I hide buried in these words.
Death threats – ego must die, but I let it purge.
Pacify broken pieces of me, it was all a blur.
Mother cried, put they hands on her.
It was family ties.
I heard it all.
I should've grabbed a gun, but I was only 5.
I still feel it weighing on my heart, my first tough decision.
In the shadows clinging to my soul, that's my only critic.
Where's my faith?
Told you I was Christian, but just not today.
I transformed, praying to the trees, God is taking shape.
My mother's mother followed me for years in her afterlife, staring at me on back of some buses.
I wake up at night.
Loved her dearly.
Traded in my tears for a Range Rover – transformation.
You ain't felt grief 'til you felt it sober.”
–Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar's “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is available now:

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