Kendrick Lamar’s New Album: Five Key Questions

Who is Mr. Morales...?

It's been more than five years since the Pulitzer-Prize winning legend, Kendrick Lamar released 'DAMN.', his fourth studio album, cementing his place as one of the greatest ever to do it.

Now that we have concrete proof that the Compton rapper ended his album drought, we're left with five questions as we wait for 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers' coming on May 13th.

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1. What's the main narrative?

Never the one to be shy to comment on societal issues, we haven't heard much from the Compton-raised rapper other than a few features that he's done within the past couple of years. While he's remained semi-steady working with artists such as The Weeknd, N.E.R.D., and his cousin, Baby Keem, this only put a Band-Aid on the need for a full album from the skilled MC.

At times, he's even appeared on verses inconspicuously. There are numerous topics Kendrick could use his time to give us his input on. However, learning more about what has been keeping him busy in the meantime certainly would not be a wasted effort.

2. What's next?

In his stratosphere of success, Kendrick has absolutely nothing to prove. In his announcement that he posted on oklama.com (and also referring to himself as oklama), Kendrick allows us a sneak peek into his thoughts, touching on the fact that he "spend most of my days with fleeting thoughts" and "months without a phone". Assuming he's been reclusive in recent memory, Lamar has been delving into his inner thoughts, preparing to unleash yet another vocalized chapter in his usual captivating way. One of the key takeaways from his online post is that we can expect elements of "love, loss, and grief" in his upcoming project, as these are highlighted as three components that "disturbed his comfort zone".

As this will be his last TDE album, confirmed not only by Kendrick but in a cryptic Twitter post from Punch, the President of Top Dawg Entertainment, one must wonder if Lamar will use this time to reminisce about his time as a part of a respected collective, or will he begin to plant the seeds of what is next to come. This was alluded in his post when he touched on his musical journey: "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."

In the grand scheme of things, we'll take what we can get at this point, and who knows? We may get a bit of both. Lamar also spoke about the future in a general sense as he ponders on his "life's calling."

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3. What's the end goal?

Outside of earning a Pulitzer Prize for 'DAMN.', for which Lamar made history by being the first non-jazz, non-classical album to receive this recognition, among many other accolades, where to next to tackle and conquer? Will we see Kendrick pivot to other ventures outside of music, similar to Rihanna?

On the acting front, Lamar tried out his skills as Laces in the T.V. series, Power in 2018. Seeing Lamar take on more acting roles would be a sight to see. However, with pgLang, a creative service company that Lamar co-founded, we may have to get used to Kendrick playing a "behind-the-scenes" position sooner rather than later.

4. What mood is he trying to set with this project?

Being mysterious is nothing new to the respected artist, and with this upcoming project, we have to wonder what genres will we hear this time around. As we all know production is as important, if not more, than the content. Will it be more on the jazzy side? Will we hear Kendrick try out a drill beat? What if the album has more of a rock influence which was the speculation in 2020? Will it be a combination of genres that's nothing like we've never seen before?

Rumoured to have worked on the latest project, Boi-1da and Cardo posted the album announcement on their Instagram page for further clues for the rest of us. Both have worked with Kendrick in the past and all are a possibility when it comes to K. Dot.

5. Who is Mr. Morale?!

Similar to J.Cole's alter ego showing up on 'KOD', we can only postulate who or what Mr. Morale can be. Is he a figurative or literal figure?

The answers to these questions, among many more posed around the world will be answered on May 13th. It goes without saying that celebrities and fans alike are more than ready to hear what Kendrick has to say after being on hiatus for what felt like a lifetime. From commenting on societal stresses to personal storytelling that could disperse nuggets of knowledge to the masses, the possibilities for what's to come from the elite storyteller are massive.

Whether 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers' is another classic from the Gemini rapper or not, the sure thing here is that we'll be talking about it for months to come, and if we play our cards right, we can expect a lively tour season. We needed this. Welcome back, Kendrick!

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Words: Sade Hawthorne

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