It’s been a long five years since Kendrick Lamar dropped the Pulitzer Prize-winning album DAMN. A new president and global pandemic later, the Compton-bred MC has finally returned with Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, his fifth official studio album.
Boasting 18 tracks split into two parts, the highly anticipated project features contributions from a wide range of guests, including Wu-Tang Clan luminary Ghostface Killah, Kodak Black, Baby Keem, Blxst, Sampha, Summer Walker and Beth Gibbons of Portishead, among others.
The project finds Kendrick Lamar rapping about cancel culture on “N95” with lines such as “Wtf is cancel culture I say what I want” and makes a brief reference to his fiancée Whitney Alford on “Worldwide Steppers.” Sonically, the album is all over the place — delicate piano notes open “United In Grief” and “Crown” while “Die Hard” is closer to ’80s pop.
The cover art was unveiled on Wednesday (May 11) and appeared to reveal Alford recently gave birth to their second child. The photo features K. Dot sporting a crown of thorns holding a toddler while Alford sits on a bed cradling an infant. All are sporting white tops, while Kendrick is wearing khaki pants with a gun tucked into his waistband.
“As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years,” he wrote in part. “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.”
Listen to Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers below.