Kendrick Lamar's next album 'Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers' comes out tomorrow night and we are hyped. The Compton-born rapper has already released so many fire albums and if his latest single, The Heart Part Five, is anything to go by, this next one is going to be another game-changer.
A huge part of the appeal behind Kendrick Lamar, apart from the fact he just makes great music, is the deeper meanings and messages he seems to hide in his songs and albums.
The music video for the new single is full of social and political commentary.
Using deep-fake technology, Lamar shapeshifts into Black celebrities who have been part of iconic pop culture moments - OJ Simpson; Kobe Bryant; Kanye West; Will Smith; Jussie Smollet; and Nipsey Hussle.
It's a very obvious example of how Kendrick’s music is more than just music, he wants to make the listener/viewer think. He sends a message within his songs.
Some hardout Kendrick fans actually believe a theory that his whole field of work, all four albums, are part of a bigger message.
Just one Google or YouTube search of ‘Kendrick Lamar album theory’ and you are bombarded with articles and videos, so let us break it down for you.
Basically, there is evidence to suggest that each album is a different story telling device. Section.80 being a book, Good Kid Maad City (GKMC) is a movie, To Pimp A Butterfly (TPAB) is a poem or a letter, and his 2017 album, DAMN, is a magazine, or a satirical play.
Section.80 (Book): The album starts with a narrator telling everyone to "gather 'round" as a fire crackles in the background. There are also two songs named after chapters in a book; 'Chapter 6' and 'Chapter 10'.
GKMC (Movie): This one's pretty straightforward, the album cover says ' A SHORT FILM BY KENDRICK LAMAR'. If you need more evidence after that, there are plenty of skits at the end of songs, and there is a linear story told throughout the album.
TPAB (Letter/poem): Throughout the album there are lyrics that are repeated and featured in the intros and outros of some of the songs. "misusing your influence/sometimes I did the same/ abusing my power, full of resentment/resentment that turned into a deep depression/found myself screaming in the hotel room/ I didn't wanna self destruct/the evils of lucy all around me" These lyrics are part of the final track 'Mortal Man' which is more of a poem than a traditional rap song. Therefore, the whole album is structured around this poem. Some believe that 'Mortal Man' is actually a letter rather than a poem, but the evidence remains the same.
DAMN: The two main theories surrounding DAMN are whether it is a magazine or a play. The evidence supporting the magazine theory is that the font on the album cover is the exact font used on the TIME magazine cover. Also, the songs are all catchy, touching on feelings and themes that have somewhat come to define what magazines are about nowadays.
The evidence that DAMN is a play is that the title of songs are in all caps with a full stop at the end, which is exactly how scenes in a script are introduced.
Therefore, every song is a different scene in a play. There is also vivid imagery and storytelling throughout the album - such as Kendrick being killed by a blind woman, plusthe album ends on a bit of a plot-twist. What helps this theory is that Kendrick's 2018 Grammy performance, in which he performs multiple songs from DAMN, ends with 'This Is A Satire' appearing in big letters on the screen behind him.
So, yeah. We know that's a lot to digest but Kendrick is one of the deeper artists out there right now and his albums are not purely music - he adds skits, characters and other elements outside of beats and lyrics that add so much more.
As you can probably tell, we can't wait for this album to drop tomorrow. We'll have to wait until then to see if this theory runs true, but if not, it was a ride.