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/ April 27, 2022

What we know about Kendrick Lamar’s new album

Kendrick Lamar, Credit: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
/ April 27, 2022

What we know about Kendrick Lamar’s new album

Words: Dylan Murphy

Potential features, conceptual tools and a new comedic twist? We investigate all the available information ahead of Kendrick Lamar’s new album Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers.

At the time of writing, it’s been 1,838 days since Kendrick Lamar released a solo album – not that we’ve been counting. Throughout his studio albums and time as a TDE artist he’s slowly retreated from the limelight and developed a mystique that is paralleled only by Frank Ocean in the modern era. It has resulted in a shared and involuntary obsession with his every move and in his name trending on Twitter each and every time he is seen outside his house. In February, he updated his picture on Spotify and there were articles posted across the internet and speculation about whether it meant new music was on the way. Predictably, almost nothing happened for months after.

However, as of April 18, we finally have new information straight from the horses mouth.

Kendrick took to his website, by way of Twitter, to reveal the news that his new album, named Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers is set to drop on May 13 2022. It may be the only recorded incident of the world having a collective sigh of relief and clenching their bum at the same time. What sound will feature on the new record? Who will provide guest verses? Is it a concept album?

We have just over two weeks to wait, so in the mean time, we’ve collected all the information we have at the moment in search of painting a clearer picture of what might be in store.

It is Kendrick’s final album on TDE

In March 2020, Kendrick launched his “at service company” PgLang with Dave Free. There’s ambiguity around what it actually is, but that seems to be the point. So far, pgLang is anything they want it to be. Whether that’s a record label, a creative house or publishing company. Since then, Baby Keem released his debut album through the entity and they’ve worked with the likes of Calvin Klein on a campaign. In a message on his Oklama.com website, Kendrick revealed he was producing his “final TDE album” and he felt the “joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years” as he continues to pursue his “life’s calling”.

All information will come directly from pgLang, not TDE

Revealing a life update through his own website in a folder called “nu thoughts” after a time of silence was the de facto beginning of his album rollout. The most recent update also landed on Oklama.com in a separate folder, and despite him still being signed to TDE, it contained a press release belonging to pgLang stating, “All factual information for this release will come directly from this source only.”

‘Oklama’ is a potential new character in his world

In both of the updates on his website, Kendrick has signed off as ‘oklama’, fuelling speculation of a new character in his forthcoming album.

He’s been working on increasingly surreal and comedic work

In January of this year, it was revealed that Kendrick Lamar and his business partner Dave Free are teaming up with South Park Creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker to create a new live action film. The yet unnamed movie is written by Vernon Chatman and will stream on Paramount+.

According to a press release the film will “depict the past and present coming to a head when a young [B]lack man who is interning as a slave reenactor at a living history museum discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his”.

It comes as Kendrick left the shadows last year to provide zanier than usual guest verses on three tracks on Baby Keem’s debut album The Melodic Blue. Just think of the “Top of the morning” lines or his vocal inflections on ‘range brothers’. It’s not a stretch to say that surreal and comedic tinges are playing a role in his work now and while it’s speculation, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see this continue in Mr. Morale and The Big Steppers.

Music Videos were recorded during the pandemic

In September 2020, images surfaced online of Kendrick at a phone booth in LA, where he was reported to be filming a new music video. Shortly after new pictures appeared with Kendrick floating above the water at a beach in a way not dissimilar to that of the video for ‘Alright’.

Thundercat worked on an early iteration of the album with Kendrick

On March 27 2020, Thundercat talked to Japanese magazine saying he’d been working with Kendrick Lamar. “I think I worked on the new [album] a little bit too,” Thundercat says.

While it’s been over two years since the footage emerged, it’s not been redacted or denied by either camp after the fact.

Kendrick will perform his new album at three festivals this Summer

The Compton rapper has been revealed as a Glastonbury headliner. the day after his performance at Worthy Farm he heads to Milan for another show before playing Rolling Loud in Miami in July.

At the time of writing there’s no mention of any forthcoming singles ahead of the album. For any new information keep your eyes glued to oklama.com and turn notifications on for Kendrick’s socials.