Kendrick Lamar releases new album soon

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Photo by Finn Geary

The song “The Art Of Peer Pressure” from the album “good kid, m.A.A.d city”

Finn Geary, Staff Writer

Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar’s next album appears to be right on the horizon, with multiple sources claiming it will include more musical influences from the rock genre than any of his previous albums. Based on reports from High Snobiety, the album may have been finished for a few months now, but has delayed its release for unknown reasons.

“I already knew off the top I can’t make ‘good kid m.A.A.d city’ Part Two’,” Lamar said in an interview with i-D. “The second I’m making that, it’s corny bro. That takes the feeling away from the first.”

Lamar’s first big hit album “good kid, m.A.A.d city” was released in 2012 to worldwide success and stayed on the U.S. Billboard 200 for 358 weeks, making it the longest running rap album in history. The album went platinum three times, with several songs like “Swimming Pools (Drank)” going multi-platinum. 

“good kid, m.A.A.d. city” focused on the realities of growing up in Compton, California and the ironic glorification of a hedonistic lifestyle that killed a few of Lamar’s close friends. In songs like “Sing About Me, I’m Dying of Thirst,” he tells the stories of people he knew in Compton, and in songs like “m.A.A.d city,” he uses a tone of desperation to express the constant state of fear in which he lived. The album spoke to those who lived in similar situations while also enlightening the minds of those who have not.
“It blew my mind in a different way every time I listened to it,” sophomore Connor Kentfield said. “There were so many aspects of poverty I hadn’t even considered, and this album opened my eyes in a way I didn’t expect.”

The influence of Lamar continued to grow with his next album release, “To Pimp A Butterfly” in 2015. The album focused on utilizing jazz and funk to bring light to topics such as racial oppression in America, a self reflection of his own impact, wealth and greed and the pursuit of worldly pleasure, and it’s more fleeting nature. Songs like “The Blacker the Berry” focused on the struggle of identity POCs in America often face, while songs like “I” and “Alright” paint a more optimistic picture that America will rise above racism and that, as Lamar says, “We gon’ be alright.”  

“To Pimp a Butterfly” arrived right at the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement, and was considered by many to be the protests’ anthem album. The album gained notoriety in political circles; for example, former President Barack Obama said that Lamar’s song “How Much a Dollar Cost?” was his favorite song of 2015 while Fox News harshly criticized his music.

Lamar’s latest album is “DAMN.,” which was released in 2017.

“DAMN.” was a practice in self reflection and morality. Songs like “HUMBLE.” and “LUST.” focused more on the materialistic and prideful aspects of Lamar’s psyche, while songs like “FEEL.” and “PRIDE.” acted more as a meditation on Lamar’s flaws and fears.

“This album was…the soundtrack of 2017,” sophomore Christian Ford said. “Everybody was listening to songs like “HUMBLE.” and “DNA.,” but even the less popular songs were really relevant to 2017, and it really meant a lot to me.” 

The album doubled down on the religious overtones often found in his music, with songs like “YAH.,” which is short for Yahweh, the Hebrew name for the Abrahamic God. The album reached further success than the previous two by a sizable margin, as “HUMBLE.” alone reached over one billion streams on Spotify. The album reached even greater heights when it won a Pulitzer Prize, the first music album to attain this award.

With all this in mind, one might wonder what the next album could hold in store for listeners and what the message would be about this time. A lot has changed since “DAMN.” was released, both in the context of American society, and in the rap industry, all of which could be potential topics for the songs in the album. The hiatus between “DAMN.” and this upcoming album is the largest gap ever seen between Lamar’s works, as we approach the four year anniversary of “DAMN.”’s release.

“I just can’t wait to see what’s next,” Ford said. “I mean that literally, like it’s killing me the album isn’t out already.”