December 2, 2023

Kendrick Lamar Has Released ‘Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,’ His First New Album in 5 Years


Kendrick Lamar Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers

Photo Credit: pgLang/Top Dawg Entertainment/Interscope/Aftermath

Five years since his last solo drop, Kendrick Lamar returns with Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, his final album on Top Dawg Entertainment.

The long-awaited fifth solo album from Kendrick Lamar is here. The rapper has released Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, his final release on Top Dawg Entertainment. The album is the first from in Kendrick in five years, since he released his classic DAMN.

The project is a double album with 18 song and features appearances from Summer Walker, Baby Keem, Kodak Black, Ghostface Killah, Sampha, Blxst, Tanna Leone, Beth Gibbons, and more.  

On the cover, which was shot by photographer Renell Medrano, Lamar stands in the foreground holding his first child – whose name has not been publicly released – while it appears that his wife Whitney Alford is holding the couple’s second child. In anticipation of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, many deconstructed the album’s meaning, including music analysis podcast Dissect who has theorized Lamar using the alias ‘oklama.’

“’Okla,’ which you may recognize from Oklahoma, means ‘people’ in Choctaw,” said Dissect host Carl Cuchna. “The Choctaw definition for ‘ma’ is a marker used when addressing someone, like ‘my lord.’ So ‘oklama’ translates to ‘my people.’ Within the Choctaw translations of the Bible, the phrase ‘oklama’ is often used when a poet or prophet is addressing God’s people on God’s behalf.”

On Sunday, Lamar released a surprise visual for promotional single “The Heart Part 5,” where his face morphs into the likes of Will Smith, Jussie Smollett, OJ Simpson, Kanye West, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.

As aforementioned, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers will be Lamar’s final release on TDE as he co-founded record label and multi-disciplinary media company pgLang with Dave Free in 2020. Other than Lamar, current artists on the roster include Tanna Leone and Baby Keem, who recently won a Best Rap Performance Grammy for “Family Ties” his 2021 collaboration with Lamar.

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