Kendrick Lamar has shared his surprise fifth studio LP, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. The 18-track project features Sampha, Blxst, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Beth Gibbons of Portishead, and more. Stream it below on Apple Music and Spotify.
Kendrick announced Mr. Morale in April by tweeting a link to his new blog-format website, oklama.com, and teased the project's arrival last week with a cryptic post to said site. On Sunday, he followed that post with the project's lead single, "The Heart Part 5." According to The FADER's Son Raw, the song is a "masterclass in non-preachy urgency," arriving alongside a video that finds Lamar face-morphing into O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, Jussie Smullett, and Nipsey Hussle. He revealed the record's cover art, shot by Renell Medrano, on Wednesday.
Lamar's last album, 2017's DAMN., was the first — and remains the only — rap album to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Though he's apparently sitting on six albums' worth of unreleased material, "The Heart Part 5" was his first official single since 2018. In the interim, he's been featured on tracks by an exclusive list of artists including Beyoncé, Busta Rhymes, and J. Cole.
Early last month, he won his 14th Grammy, splitting the Best Rap Performance award with his cousin Baby Keem for their joint track, "Family Ties." And later in April, Keem brought him onstage during his Coachella set ("an audition for superstardom," Donald Morrison wrote for The FADER).
Kendrick performed alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Eminem, and surprise guest 50 Cent at the Pepsi Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show in February. In June, he'll co-headline Glastonbury 2022 with Paul McCartney, and in July, he'll top the bill at Rolling Loud Miami 2022 next Ye and Future.
Outside music, Lamar launched pgLang, a "multi-lingual, at service company" with former Top Dawg Entertainment president Dave Free in March 2020. He narrated a Nike tribute to Kobe Bryant in August of that year and collaborated on a Calvin Klein campaign the following January. At the start of this year, he announced his involvement as a producer of a forthcoming comedy film directed by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.