This past Thursday (April 14th) Kendrick Lamar and his last LP DAMN. celebrated its fifth anniversary. Within the same week, the Pulitzer prize-winning rapper responded to a fan tweet that accused him of being “officially retired.” Embedded within his response was a link to Oklahoma—a signet Kendrick has been teasing the past few years.
What stood waiting for fans who followed the quickly viral tweet was an answer to the question we’ve been asking for awhile now: when Kendrick Lamar will release his new album.
Additionally, Kendrick revealed the title of his fifth LP. He also confirmed that the new record announcements will all come from Kendrick Lamar’s new production company, pgLang. Here is Everything We Know About Kendrick Lamar’s New Album and 2022 Tour, the news we’ve all been waiting for.
When will Kendrick Lamar release his fifth album?
Officially “from the desk of oklama,” Kendrick confirmed his new album release date to be May 13, 2022. We are shocked to hear that we’ll have new Kendrick Lamar music in less than one month. Not to mention, we have yet to have a confirmed single from the new album.
Now that Kendrick has announced when the long wait for album five will end, we wouldn’t be surprised if a lead single drops soon. But even if we have to wait until May, we love knowing we’ll be listening to new Kendrick all summer long.
Kendrick Lamar’s New Album Title
Much to our delight, Kendrick Lamar continues his allusive approach to art with another surprising album title that has nothing to do with the LP before it. Kendrick Lamar’s fifth album is Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers—a title that provides more questions than answers. It adds yet another identity, group, or ego, into our conception of the Kendrick Lamar universe.
Will Kendrick Lamar Tour in 2022?
This past November, Kendrick Lamar performed a headlining set at the Day N’ Vegas Festival. After his 27-song set that spanned all 4 of his major LPs, Kendrick Lamar made an exciting promise to his fans. Following his encore with cousin and hometown hero Baby Keem, Kendrick bowed to the crowd and said, “Vegas, till next time—”
—And when I say next time, very soon,”
You can check out Kendrick Lamar’s full Day N’ Vegas performance. The set list was stacked and proceeded chronologically, the first six songs performed from Section.80. and the end of his set coming from DAMN. The concert gave us a taste of what might be coming in 2022: a Kendrick Lamar headlining tour. Quite possibly, with support from his cousin and protege rapper Baby Keem.
Not to mention, the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show Performance
The 2022 Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show performers included: Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and, none other than Kendrick Lamar. We cannot believe the talent, the players of hip-hop history, that gathered to make SoFi Stadium into hallowed rap grounds.
Kendrick Lamar has performed two giant moments, two iconic stages, this past year. We are optimistic it means he is getting ready to deliver on a full-scale, headlining tour. With his new album confirmed to be on the way, we think our Kendrick Lamar tour dreams will come true very soon.
When Kendrick Lamar released DAMN. in April 2017, he announced a 17-date tour ten days later. If Kendrick Lamar even comes close to following his last tour announcement trend, we could know about his Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers tour by May 2022. The “DAMN.” Tour began July 2017, three months after the release of his fourth studio album. Which means, Kendrick Lamar’s 2022 Tour could begin as soon as this upcoming August.
Kendrick Lamar’s new album will be his last with TDE
According to his “nu thoughts,” the only file that can be found on the oklama website, this upcoming Kendrick Lamar album will be his last with TDE. The artist stated, “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.”
Coming from a man who has made a Pulitzer prize-winning career out of being good with words, it’s only fair that we don’t take any of his lightly. Though we are sad to see Kendrick Lamar depart from TDE, he’s made this much clear: this will not be his last rap album, period. Where will Kendrick pursue his life’s calling next?
We think it has something to do with an earlier breadcrumb. The allusive, “multi-lingual” arts production company Kendrick announced back in 2020. Could Kendrick Lamar be stepping out of TDE in order to put himself fully behind pgLang? It’s very, very possible.
Kendrick goes without a phone for months. He remains private, but is working with family.
Throughout most of his fame, Kendrick Lamar has chosen the route of privacy, allowing all of his projects to bake without media attention. Rarely do Kendrick Lamar songs get leaked. Rarely, do we ever really know what he’s been working on. But we think there’s a clue here, from “nu thoughts”:
“I go months without a phone.
Love, loss, and grief have disturbed my comfort zone, but the glimmers of God speak through my music and family.“
Not long after Kendrick signaled his imminent return, his cousin Baby Keem teased his new single “Family Ties,” out Thursday night (8/26). The internet went into a frenzy over this announcement because Baby Keem’s cousin, Kendrick Lamar, will be featured on “Family Ties.” This makes Kendrick’s first feature since Busta Rhymes’ “Look Over Your Shoulder.”
Is this what Kendrick meant, by the “glimmers of God” speaking through his music and family? We anticipate that Kendrick’s fifth album, written partially during a pandemic, with Kendrick taking long breaks from his phone, will feature mostly himself and his real/TDE family.
Anthony “Top Dawg” Tiffith, CEO and founder of Top Dawg Entertainment, is fully behind Kendrick’s departure. He wrote, “With this being Dot’s last album on TDE, this is more of a VICTORY LAP, a celebration. I know he will be successful in whatever it is he decides to do and will have our FULL support.”
Rumors About Kendrick Lamar’s New Album
In April 2021, Grammy award-winning producer Fredwreck sparked rumors on Twitter by posting an old photo of Kendrick with Dre and Eminem. The caption was open, but suggestive, allowing the Twittersphere to run with all of the fantastic possibilities of those rappers/producers being in the same room.
Again, this info could potentially be speaking to another project in the works. Dr. Dre’s long awaited Detox has been on the minds of fans since actor/MC Page Kennedy tweeted last November, “This Dr. Dre album sounding [fire]. Hope y’all get to hear.” He also revealed that Eminem will appear on Detox—though we are never surprised to see Em and Dre together.
As is custom with Kendrick Lamar between album drops, very little has been leaked about the rapper’s forthcoming project. What fans have gathered about his fifth LP doesn’t date any further back than January 2020, when music reporter / former Billboard editor broke the silence.
What, a year later, should be taken from Bill Werde’s tweet? Could the new album have been complete at that time, if fans have yet to hear a new Kendrick Lamar single? We think, back in January 2020, anything was possible when it came to album releases for that year.
Then, come March, when reality took a turn towards illness, quarantine, protesting, survival, many artists—including Kendrick Lamar—decided that perhaps 2020 wasn’t the year to drop new music. Especially for an artist such as himself, whose albums are verified art, often literary masterpieces, which require exhaustive thinking and process in order to become great.
He said a much in an i-D interview that dropped October of last year. Kendrick, who conducts an interview with his cousin, rapper, and fellow TDE label mate Baby Keem, defends the time it takes to grow into yourself, the time he takes between projects. He says, “I spend the whole year just thinking about how I’m gonna execute a new sound, I can’t do the same thing over and over. I need something to get me excited. I see you get frustrated sometimes because you want some new shit.“
Kendrick is speaking abstractly, about his career as a whole, in an attempt to get Baby Keem to open up about his rapid and remarkable growth since 2019’s Die for My Bitch. But we can’t help but connect his word with Werde’s. Could the “new sh*t” Kendrick is referring to in i-D be the “rock sounds” Werde mentioned in January?
Because of 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly, we know Kendrick has demonstrated interest and ability in working across rap, towards influences outside of the genre, to emerge his own. Rock would be the furthest stretch Kendrick makes from a classic rap album. But we know, if anyone can do it successfully, if anyone is going to be the rock-rap revolutionary, it’s him.
The new Kendrick Lamar album will likely feature appearances from top to bottom. Based on who we’ve seen Kendrick collaborate with in the past, and who he’s recently been seen with, we think the artists we’re most likely to see on the DAMN. follow-up are: Baby Keem, Thundercat, Jorja Smith, and SZA.
Busta Rhymes and “Waiting for Kendrick”
Kendrick is one of the few living artists who can remain astonishingly mysterious while an eager and roaring crowd forms around him—his silence, his absence. When “Look Over Your Shoulder” arrived in October, Busta Rhymes spoke on behalf of his collaborator. “There’s a great deal of mystique around Kendrick,” Busta Rhymes told Vulture. “You don’t see him posting things on the ’gram. Very rarely do you find him being caught on camera, being out anywhere. I really appreciate that about him.”
We think, if not for the Covid-19 pandemic, Kendrick Lamar and other TDE artists were going to tour in 2020. What else to make of the pgLang marketing push? That ginormous L.A Times ad? Considering the new “multi-lingual, at service” company launched at the beginning of March, before we knew the whole year would be cancelled, we think pgLang was the hopeful beginning of something that never fully came through.
Hopefully, until this year.
In “Waiting for Kendrick,” author Clover Hope reminds us of the multi-layered and emotional concepts Kendrick wrestles in his albums, how each of them strive to answer a different question, and though we know they all come from the same man, they are simultaneously proof of Kendrick’s ongoing evolution.
We think Hope leaves us with the best piece of advice we could relay to Kendrick Lamar fans as they wait for the fifth album, the rock sounds, to finally hear from the man who gave us “Alright” and “DNA.” and countless other tracks that lifted and defined us. He will return, he will, but: “Fans would be smart to let him simmer.”
We are much, much closer to a Kendrick Lamar album release than the last time we speculated over the artist’s new material. The other good news: Considering that Kendrick Lamar is releasing a new album this summer, the odds are looking really good for a 2022 Kendrick Lamar Tour.