Trauma coils itself tightly around the body, suffocating it — in moments of stress, this causes the body to act negatively. At least, that’s the thesis behind German-born spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle’s work. Tolle, and the teachings from his books, The Power of Now and A New Earth, feature on Kendrick Lamar’s latest album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
“One-thousand eight-hundred and fifty-five days/ I’ve been goin’ through somethin’/ Be afraid,” Lamar prefaces on opener United In Grief, referencing the elapsed time since the release of his fourth album, the Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN.. So much has shifted on a global scale, but for Lamar, it’s the human scale that matters – the almost-whispered intro is followed by a burst of propulsive drums and staccato piano that situates the listener amidst the chaos of Lamar’s inner life.