Kendrick Lamar, one of the biggest names in Hip Hop has kickstarted the rollout for his fifth studio album. But can it live up to the hype?
On Monday 18th April, Kendrick Lamar’s personal website, oklama.com, broke the news that his latest album will be titled, ‘Mr Morale & The Big Steppers’, which leaves a lot to the imagination. The album is due to drop on May 13th, meaning fans won’t have to wait too long to hear the goods.
Kendrick’s forthcoming release comes 5 years after the album, ‘Damn’ – released in 2017. ‘Damn’, received widespread critical acclaim and topped the US Billboard Hot 200 with a jaw-dropping 603,000 sales – a feet hard to achieve in the digital streaming era. The album was supported by three official singles, ‘Loyalty’, ‘Humble’ and ‘Love,’ which individually enjoyed huge success on a global scale. Since then, Kendrick has been labelled one of the 21st century’s most influential artists, which has added immense hype to his forthcoming projects.
Raised in Compton, California, Kendrick has come a long way in a short period of time. Since his major-label debut album, ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.D City’, Kendrick has been a household name in the US. The album went tripped platinum and earned him an avalanche of awards, including 14 Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, six Billboard Music Awards, a Brit Award, 11 MTV Video Music Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award nomination. To top it all off, Time Magazine listed Kendrick as one of 2016’s most influential people. Kendrick set the bar stratospherically high in the infancy of his career.
And, in August of last year, Kendrick announced on his personal blog that he was in the process of producing his final album under the Top Dawg Entertainment label, marking the end of a creative era. He said:
“I spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts. Writing. Listening. And collecting old Beach cruisers. The morning rides keep me on a hill of silence. I go months without a phone. Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family. While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
He continued, “As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years. The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood. May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling. There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown. Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I’ve prayed for you all. See you soon enough.”
As his fans know, Kendrick is renowned for being both cryptic and secretive. True to his style, soon after announcing the upcoming album, Kendrick updated his website, oklama.com/theheart, with a window full of “retro-looking computer folders.” Since the update, fans have been speculating on social media about what this could mean. Some are convinced that the album will have a “vintage and dated vibe/aesthetic.” Others feel that Kendrick is simply not that obvious. Whatever Kendrick has up his sleeve, he sure has kickstarted his campaign in an iconic fashion.