After five years of waiting following the release of his 2017 album DAMN, the legendary rapper Kendrick Lamar has finally released his fifth project, titled Mr. Morale And The Big Steppers. The album had been under wraps until about a month ago when Lamar responded to a Twitter account that called him “officially retired,” with a link to a website called oklama, which appears to be a new persona Lamar is embodying for this album.

The site included the album’s cover art, a statement confirming the May 13 release date, and a statement apparently from Lamar musing about the upcoming album dated months ago to August 20, 2021. In part, it reads, “As I produce my final TDE [Lamar’s record label] 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. 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 seems to be a sense of finality with this album, and Lamar also wrote, “There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown.” The rapper also signs off this statement as oklama.

After DAMN, Lamar was still working and helped to curate the soundtrack for the film Black Panther the following year but was silent on his own solo projects for a while. It has been the longest wait between albums in Lamar’s career since he made his Top Dawg Entertainment debut in 2011 with Section.80, but the instability of the Covid-19 pandemic could certainly be a reason for that.

Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is available to listen to here, and it is comprised of two discs of nine tracks each. The album’s full tracklist is available below.

Disc 1: Big Steppers
1. United In Grief
2. N95
3. Worldwide Steppers
4. Die Hard ft. Blxst & Amanda Reifer
5. Father Time ft. Sampha
6. Rich (Interlude)
7. Rich Spirit
8. We Cry Together ft. Taylour Paige
9. Purple Hearts ft. Summer Walker & Ghostface Killa

Disc 2: Mr. Morale
1. Count Me Out
2. Crown
3. Silent Hill ft. Kodak Black
4. Savior (Interlude)
5. Savior ft. Baby Keem & Sam Dew
6. Auntie Diaries
7. Mr. Morale ft. Tanna Leone
8. Mother I Sober ft. Beth Gibbons of Portishead
9. Mirror

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