It’s been a long five years since he last made an impact on hip-hop, but renowned rap king Kendrick Lamar is finally ready to make his musical return after recently announcing the release date for his next album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
Taking to social media under the pseudonym “oklama,” K. Dot himself confirmed that his highly-anticipated fifth studio album is set to drop on May 13, 2022. It will be his first solo project since the Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN. was released back in 2017, not including his 2018 efforts as executive producer and lead artist on the soundtrack for Marvel’s Black Panther. “All factual information for this release will come directly from this source only,” Lamar wrote in the formal press release that went viral a few days ago (seen above), ending the note by simply adding, “Appreciate your patience.”
This will also be Lamar’s first project since branching off from Top Dawg Ent. to launch his own PGLang imprint alongside longtime associate Dave Free. TDE, along with Aftermath and Interscope, are still however listed as distributors for Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
A lot has changed in hip-hop over the past five years, from the meteoric rise of Cardi B and female rappers in general to the industry itself becoming much more single-driven compared to the album-centric era that Kendrick came up in during the first half of his career. We’re sure he’ll see success just off anticipation alone, but we could also think of 10 things that will guarantee Kendrick Lamar’s new album is just as big of a hit as the last four LPs.
Take a look below at 10 things we hope Kendrick Lamar makes sure to include on his new album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, arriving next month on May 13:
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1. A Lyrical Address On Current Affairs In Black Culture
Artists like Kendrick Lamar are known for using music as a platform to bring light to social issues. With Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, we’re hoping the peculiar name has deeper meaning that speaks to the state of humanity as it stands today.
2. An Extension On The “Kung Fu Kenny” Story
Saying it alone is fun enough in itself, but the Kung Fu Kenny persona definitely needs to return even if for a music video cameo.
3. A Song Of Hope For The “Keisha” Of Today
One of the most prominent songs on Kendrick’s breakout independent debut album, Section.80, was a bone-chilling cautionary tale of prostitution in the form of “Keisha’s Song (Her Pain).” Given his hard-hitting lyricism and art of telling stories through song, we’re hoping he doesn’t forget to include a few messages for the lost ones out there.
4. A Collaboration With J. ColeSource:Getty
From their similar timing in entering the rap game to the near-identical praise they both get from peers and OGs alike, the legacies of Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole are practically linked at this point. That’s why so many people have anticipated the joint album they’ve allegedly been working on for the past decade. Until that drops though, we’ll gladly settle for a new collab.
5. Keep It In The Family
After seeing what Kendrick was able to do by leading younger cousin Baby Keem to a Billboard hit and GRAMMY success this year with “Family Ties,” we’re hoping the upcoming project in general feels family-oriented. Also, more Baby Keem features.
6. Another Rihanna Feature
OK, this is more of ploy to get the billionaire pop star to finally make some new music, but who wouldn’t want to see a Part 2 of their GRAMMY-winning hit?!
7. A Step Back Into The Jazz Era
One of the many shining qualities that made To Pimp a Butterfly so universally celebrated was the authentic inclusion of jazz. Even if just for one song, it would be full circle to hear Kendrick tapping back into that iconic sound again.
8. His Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Energy
Stepping out the shadows in one of the biggest ways possible, Kendrick reminded the world of just how genius his artistry still is with an unforgettable performance as part of the Dr. Dre-assembled Super Bowl Halftime Show back in February. If he brings that same energy to the studio for this project, we’ve definitely got a masterpiece on the way.
9. A Female Rap Collab (Or Two)Source:Getty
Kendrick can play with the big boys on any day, but his albums are usually void of female rappers with the exception of a stellar feature from Rapsody on 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly. From OGs like Lil Kim and Missy Elliott to new queens like Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B, we can see K. Dot bringing a few baddies on board this time around.
10. A Black Hippy Reunion
No telling what their personal relationship is at the moment, but Black Hippy is and always will be one of the most talented collectives in rap. Having all four OG members together on wax again would make for a perfect album closer.