United In Grief

Album: Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (2022)
Charted: 14 8
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Songfacts®:

  • Kendrick Lamar opens Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers with this poignant track, which he begins by acknowledging the long gap since his previous album, Damn.

    I've been goin' through somethin'
    One-thousand eight-hundred and fifty-five days
    I've been goin' through somethin'
    Be afraid


    It's clear Lamar planned for a while to release Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers on Friday May 13, 2022, 1855 days after dropping Damn. Did he purposely choose the traditionally unlucky Friday 13th date to contrast with releasing Damn on Good Friday, April 14, 2017?
  • The rest of the track comprises a chorus and three verses where Lamar talks about the different times he's felt grief throughout his life, including relationship problems and the death of loved ones. He details some of his coping mechanisms, such as therapy, popping Claritin, sex, and spending money on luxuries.
  • On the chorus, Lamar talks about the money, cars, and jewelry he's amassed, hoping his exorbitant spending will give fuel to his haters.
  • The song title doesn't appear in the lyrics, but likely comes from the second verse where Lamar talks about a green-eyed model he met in Chicago during a North American tour. The pair bonded over the traumas they'd both experienced, and engaged in sex to "take the pain away."
  • Lamar concludes on the outro that "everybody grieves different" and we shouldn't judge anyone for how they cope with trauma.
  • Lamar wrote the song with Chicago singer-songwriter Sam Dew (Wale's "LoveHate Thing," Taylor Swift's "I Don't Wanna Live Forever") and the track's producers Beach Noise, Duval Timothy, J.LBS, Sounwave, and Tim Maxey. Another listed producer, Oklama, is Lamar's nickname.
  • Lamar's fiancée, make-up artist Whitney Alford, contributes spoken vocals in the intro. "United In Grief" is one of three Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers tracks she appears on.
  • Sam Dew contributes the sung vocals in the intro. Dew pops up throughout the album but only officially features on "Savior."

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