Kendrick Lamar Announces Long-Awaited Fifth Studio Album 'Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers' for May Release

On Monday, the rap icon revealed his highly anticipated fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, will be released on May 13 through a document posted to his cryptic "oklama" website

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar. Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty

Kendrick Lamar's five-year solo music hiatus is coming to an end.

On Monday, the 34-year-old rapper revealed his long-awaited fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, will be released on May 13 through a document posted to his cryptic "oklama" website, seemingly titled as a play on Lamar's name.

"The following statement was released today by oklama, through his company pgLang at 11:00 a.m. PT in Los Angeles, CA," states the document, addressed from "The Language Enterprises," before revealing the album title and release date. "All factual information for this release will come directly from this source only."

"Appreciate your patience," reads the bottom of the PDF, posted to the same website as an August 2021 note from Lamar about the forthcoming, then-untitled record — which will mark his last with longtime record label Top Dawg Entertainment following the 2020 launch of his own record company pgLang, co-founded with manager Dave Free.

"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," wrote the "All the Stars" performer. "May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life's calling."

"There's beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown," continued his letter to fans. "Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I've prayed for you all. See you soon enough."

Things We're Looking Forward to in 2022 - Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar. Joseph Okpako/Getty Images

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is Lamar's first full-length studio album since 2017's DAMN, which earned the rapper a Pulitzer Prize for Music as well as five Grammy Awards and spawned his first chart-topping solo single, the seven-times platinum-certified "Humble." The following year, he lent his musical skills to curating a star-studded, Grammy-winning soundtrack for Marvel's Black Panther complete with songs featuring Lamar, The Weeknd, SZA, and Khalid, among other artists.

In February, Lamar performed alongside Mary J. Blige, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and special guests 50 Cent and Anderson .Paak at the Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show, which took place at the California musicians' native SoFi Stadium.

Two months later, the rapper earned a best rap performance Grammy Award for a collaboration with Baby Keem — who's signed to pgLang — titled "Family Ties" from the 21-year-old artist's debut album, The Melodic Blue. "I feel like often it's hard to find someone to look up to that you actually care about, so having that in my corner is huge for me," Keem said of his collaborators backstage, per Variety.

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