- 12 May 22
After five long years, Kendrick Lamar’s new album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers will enter the world this Friday.
The rapper shared the cover art, shot by editorial photographer Renell Medrano, for his upcoming album. The cover is a shot of Lamar holding a child and wearing a barbed, silver crown. In the background, a woman is breastfeeding a baby in front of brown, paint-splotched walls. It’s possible that the children pictured in the photo are Lamar’s kids, who have remained out of the public eye up until this point.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers pic.twitter.com/tLcJDyNxVe
— Kendrick Lamar (@kendricklamar) May 11, 2022
This past weekend, Lamar shared a music video for ‘The Heart pt. 5,’ the album’s single. Despite crashing within ten hours of its release, the video, directed by pgLang and Dave Free, is now back up and shows Lamar trying out a series of deepfake visages. The song references big names in Los Angeles hip hop culture, from Nipsey Hussle to Kanye West.
His new album will also be his last with record label Top Dawg Entertainment. Lamar shared the news in August of last year on Twitter with a link to a statement on his website, Oklama, stating, “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.”
Since 2017’s Damn., for which the rapper won a stream of Grammys and a Pulitzer Prize, Lamar has dedicated his time to working on collaborative projects, featuring in tracks by Busta Rhymes, Anderson .Paak and more.
If the album is anything like ‘The Heart pt. 5,’ it is sure to be a bold statement reflecting the rapper’s thoughts from his perspective as a figurehead in the culture. Discussing the album last year, Lamar relayed, “While the world around me evolves, I reflect on what matters the most. The life in which my words will land next.”
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is out this Friday, May 13.