Kendrick Lamar unveiled the cover art for his highly anticipated new album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers on Wednesday (May 11).
The art, which Lamar shared via Instagram on Wednesday (May 11), shows the lyricist holding a baby, who some believe is the daughter he welcomed with fiancée Whitney Alford in 2019. The 14-time Grammy winner is pictured wearing a thorny, off-white headband, white T-shirt and khaki pants with what appears to be a gun tucked into his belt. Also pictured is a woman wearing a white top sitting in bed holding a baby, who appears to be getting breastfed. The room appears intentionally grim, with missing paint on the brown wall, a radiator and unmade bed.
Fellow artists Kehlani, Roddy Ricch and actress Yara Shahidi were among those to react to the unveiling. Shouting out Lamar’s California hometown, Ricch commented, “Compton jesus.” Kehlani wrote “beautiful” and Shahidi Commented, “WOW,” while others chimed in saying the work will be Grammy-nominated for album of the year. Photographer Renell Medrano captured the shot.
Ahead of the album-cover reveal, Lamar dropped his tune “The Heart Part 5” and an accompanying music video. The visual, which arrived May 8, is a close-up shot of the rapper spitting bars through the song’s entirety as his face morphs into the likes of O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Kobe Bryant, Will Smith and Nipsey Hussle.
Lamar opens the socially conscious song rapping, “I come from a generation of pain, where murder is minor/ Rebellious and Margielas’ll chip you for designer/ Belt buckles and clout, overzealous if prone to violence/ Make the wrong turn, be it will or the wheel alignment/ Residue burned, mist of the inner-city/ Miscommunication to keep homi’ detective busy/ No protection is risky.”
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers comes after Lamar released three consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200: To Pimp a Butterfly, Untitled Unmastered and DAMN.
See the cover of Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers below: