Kendrick Lamar Teases New Album


Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Kendrick Lamar performing at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles on June 28, 2015.

Following the recent trend of unanticipated releases and a mysterious Instagram post, Kendrick Lamar debuted a new song The Heart Part 4 on March 23. The Compton rapper showcases his vocals, production talents, and lyrical mastery on the track, teasing fans for an album drop in the near future.

The first three parts of “The Heart” series have been released throughout Lamar’s career, starting from before his career skyrocketed to a single featuring Jay Rock and Ab-Soul in 2012. True to Kendrick’s usual complex, yet accessible style, The Heart Part 4 is a five-minute track that skims over a wide range of topics ranging from Lamar’s lifestyle adaptation after his success to the current political climate of the United States.

Rising R&B artist Khalid supplies the backing vocals for the song.

Prior to this release, Lamar’s last album To Pimp A Butterfly went platinum in the United States. The album explored themes of institutional racism and inequality that contribute to systematic failure for African Americans in impoverished neighborhoods. Featured artists included Thundercat, Bilal, and Snoop Dogg.  The Heart Part 4 incorporates these themes and how they have influenced Lamar as an individual.

Lamar is a significant artist that gives a voice to communities that feel neglected. He utilizes his platform to draw attention to issues that are often overlooked: on The Heart Part 4, he addresses tensions that rise in social groups as a result of income inequality: “The richer the poorer, the bigger the picture / The more blood pours…”

Hip-hop fans picked apart the lyrics of the song, focusing on lyrics that allegedly target Drake. Drake recently collaborated with DJ Khaled on “For Free,” in which he mentions a “boy from Compton” in the industry. Fans believe that Lamar is referencing Drake’s feature as he knocks an artist that “tiptoe[s] around [his] name.” Kendrick continues to claim his spot on the rap throne throughout the track– and releasing the song after Drake’s album release naturally rose some suspicion.

Fans eagerly await Lamar’s next release: those who have followed his rising career have witnessed a maturation of sound facilitated by collaborations with other established artists, placing him within the ranks of other lauded hip-hop lyrical geniuses such as Jay-Z and Kanye West.