Ahead of the highly-anticipated arrival of Kendrick Lamar’s fifth album “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” on Friday, the Compton-bred rapper is teasing fans about what’s to come with a new single and accompanying music video.
The video for his new single, titled “The Heart Part 5,” features only Lamar against a dark burgundy backdrop in a white T-shirt as he raps: “As I get a little older, I realize life is perspective and my perspective may differ from yours.”
Lamar also thanks “everyone that’s been down with me, all my fans, all my beautiful fans.”
During the second verse, Lamar then morphs into O.J. Simpson, “Donda” rapper Ye, former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, then back to himself.
“In the land where no equal is your equal … in the land where hurt people hurt more people, (expletive) callin’ it culture,” Lamar raps, before transforming into actor Will Smith.
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Lamar also morphs into the late basketball legend Kobe Bryant and the “Marathon” rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was shot and killed in March 2019.
“To my fans, make sure you make them investments and to the killer that sped up my demise, I forgive you, just know your soul’s in question,” Lamar seemingly references Hussle’s death and the legacy he left behind in the song’s final verse.
“I seen the pain in your pupil when that trigger had squeezed and though you did me gruesome, I was surely relieved. I completed my mission, wasn’t ready to leave.”
The new music video was directed by Dave Free and Lamar.
Lamar surprised fans with news of the release of his fifth studio album in April.
Slyly replying to a February tweet that read: “Kendrick Lamar is officially retired,” Lamar linked out to the website Oklama.com, announcing the album’s title “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.”
That wasn’t the first time Lamar used the Oklama alias and website to announce career news.
The Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper posted a lengthy statement on the website in August, indicating that his next album will be his last for Top Dawg Entertainment, the label he’s been with since his 2011 debut, “Section.80.”
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Fans have been anticipating a new record from Lamar for years, even speculating in 2020 that he was about to leave the label. Lamar dismissed the claims and posted a video on the Instagram account of Top Dawg CEO, Anthony Tiffith, to proclaim his loyalty. But an Instagram post from Tiffith later acknowledged Lamar’s impending departure.
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In 2018, Lamar wrote and produced 14 songs for the soundtrack to “Black Panther,” receiving kudos and scooping up another Grammy for “King’s Dead” (best rap performance). But Lamar has not released a solo album since his 2017 multi-platinum smash, “Damn,” which earned a best rap album Grammy.
Lamar headlined the first day of the Day N Vegas weekend festival in November and appeared alongside hip-hop heavyweights Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg at the Super Bowl halftime show in February.
Contributing: Melissa Ruggieri, Edward Segarra