There are no big surprises today in the Top 20 of the Genius Top Songs chart. With the exception of a new My Chemical Romance single, it’s top-to-bottom Kendrick Lamar, as fans eagerly devour and attempt to decipher the rapper’s long-awaited fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

As of Friday morning—when the LP had been out for less than 12 hours—the lead-off track, “United In Grief,” was No. 1 in the rankings according to page views. While it may not ultimately prove the most popular Mr. Morale song, it’s a stunning intro to the album and a strong indicator of where Kendrick is coming from this time around.

“United In Grief” credits six producers: Beach Noise, Duval Timothy, J.LBS, Sounwave, Tim Maxey, and OKLAMA, the last of those being Kendrick’s new nickname. With its constant beat shifts and sonic switcheroos, it sounds like a song that might require that many people. In the intro, after ethereal voices sing, “I hope you find some peace of mind in this lifetime,” Kendrick acknowledges exactly how long it’s been since his last album and offers an almost comically understated explanation—deadpanned over stabbing piano chords—for why it’s taken him so long to release his follow-up to DAMN.

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

That “Be afraid” warning suggests Kendrick is ready to really unburden himself and discuss some of what’s been keeping him from finding peace. In the first verse, he contrasts his financial security with lingering traumas related to women, his family, and his neighborhood.

What is a house with a better view?
A family broken in variables
What is a rapper with jewelry?
A way that I show my maturity

Kendrick isn’t solely relying on fans to listen to his problems. He’s also seeking professional help.

I went and got me a therapist
I can debate on my theories and sharing it (Woah)
Consolidate all my comparisons
Humblin’ up because time is imperative (Woah)

Later in the verse, he describes his life as a “cul-de-sac” and tries to clear his head by popping Claritin. He knows he’s not the only one feeling a little foggy these days.

​​The world that we in is just menacing
The demons portrayed as religionous
I wake in the morning, another appointment
I hope the psychologist listenin’

In the chorus, as the soothing jazz piano disappears and the drums get frantic, Lamar speeds his flow and speaks more on the anxiety that’s come with his increased wealth. The man who claims it’s “all for rap” feels more than a little uncomfortable about the cars and jewelry he’s amassed since becoming hip-hop’s most respected voice.

I was 28 years young, twenty mill’ in tax
Bought a couple of mansions, just for practice
Five hundred in jewelry, chain was magic
Never had it in public, late reaction

“I grieve different,” Kendrick says in the refrain, and in the second verse, we learn about a series of deaths that have shaken both Lamar and an unnamed model he met in Chicago during a North American tour. Among the fallen Kendrick mentions is Chad Keaton, a close friend whose shooting death he references in YG’s 2014 song “Really Be (Smokin N Drinkin).”

Her first brother got killed, he was twenty-one
I was nine when they put Lamont in the grave
Heartbroken when Estelle didn’t say goodbye
Chad left his body after we FaceTimed

Kendrick seemingly admits his attempts to “sex the pain away” with the green-eyed Chicago woman. Then in the third verse, he talks more about failing to enjoy his luxury purchases. This is perhaps less of a problem for his cousin Baby Keem, with whom he’s recorded several songs, including the Grammy-winning 2021 smash “family ties.”

I bought a Rolex watch, I only wore it once
I bought infinity pools I never swimmed in
I watched Keem buy four cars in four months
You know the family dynamics on repeat

But the point of “United In Grief” is not to judge anyone. Sex, cars, and jewelry might be valid coping mechanisms for some people. Kendrick has tried it all, and he’s still going through something.

I grieve different
(Everybody grieves different)
(Everybody grieves different)
I grieve different (Huh)

You can read all the lyrics to “United In Grief” on Genius now.

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