Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers drops May 13.
On April 18, Kendrick Lamar broke the internet by announcing that his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, will drop this May. Lamar’s last album, DAMN., dropped in 2017. He’s largely kept a low profile for the past five years, slowly coming back to the limelight this year. Lamar co-headlined the 2022 Super Bowl alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Mary J. Blige.
That same day, a user on Twitter said, “Kendrick Lamar is officially retired.” Over two months later on April 18, Lamar responded to the tweet by sharing a link to oklama.com, where he revealed through a cryptic press release that new music is finally coming.
Lamar referred to himself as Oklama on the website and said his next album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, will drop on May 13. He also said, “All factual information for this release will come directly from this source only.”
Oklama is the same alias Lamar used when talking about producing his “final TDE album” in a statement from August on his site. In the same statement, Lamar said his next album would be the last under his record label, Top Dawg Entertainment.
“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,” he wrote. “May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling.”
TDE’s co-president Punch addressed Lamar’s departure in a February interview with Mic, saying the artist is interested in “building” his own brand. “That’s a grown man right now,” Punch said. “We watched him grow from a teenager up into an established grown man, a businessman, and one of the greatest artists of all time.”
Lamar’s return is highly anticipated. DAMN. was a massive success. It debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and garnered hits with “Humble,” “Loyalty,” and “Love.” DAMN. also won Best Rap Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards and made history as the first non-jazz or classical work to earn a Pulitzer Prize for music.
Lamar is sure to leave TDE on a high note with the release of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.