It’s been a year since Kendrick Lamar released Untitled Unmastered, a collection of eight singles recorded over the course of five years. From earlier interviews, and the fact that Kendrick remains tightlipped about most of his projects, no one expected that we’d see a new album from Compton’s best rapper currently in the game.
Kendrick Lamar has been anything but quiet and inactive since its release, and before that, the release of To Pimp a Butterfly. Since his last full album release, Kendrick has worked with pretty much everyone. A Tribe Called Quest, Thundercat, Snoop Dogg, Sia, Anderson Paak., Maroon 5, and BJ the Chicago Kid–just to name a few. And though collaborating with Kendrick makes pretty much every song better, we are pining for the To Pimp a Butterfly follow-up.
Back in October, from his interview with GQ, Kendrick made it seem that there would be a long wait before his next album would be ready for release. This news was hard to swallow, but now, it looks like we don’t have to. We’re still near the beginning of 2017, and according to a recent interview with T Magazine, the New York Times Style Mag, Kendrick is officially back in the studio with a vision for his upcoming record.
Our Men’s Style issue, featuring not one, not two, but three cover stars — @KendrickLamar (seen here), @Beck and Tom Waits — is out on newsstands inside the @nytimes this Sunday, March 5. For more on these three generations of musical genius, read Wyatt Mason’s story on tmagazine.com. Photo by Craig McDean (@craigmcdeanstudio), styling by @JasonRider.
They chose Kendrick for the cover of their annual Men’s issue and conducted the interview in a recording studio suite. In regards to the philosophy and mentality behind the highly anticipated album, Kendrick states: “I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork,” he said. “To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore.” He added, “We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God.”
There you have it. Kendrick Lamar has a compelling concept to bring into the studio with him, a vision that is a natural place for him to be in given the current state of affairs in this country. He continued on, addressing the way he writes music and the feeling he wants to generate in the world with it. He delved in after the interviewer revealed he has a newborn daughter.
“One day, I may have a little girl. And it’s a girl in particular—funny you said that. She’s gonna grow up. She’s gonna be a child I adore, I’m gonna always love her, but she’s gonna reach that one point where she’s gonna start experiencing things. And she’s gonna say things or do things that you may not condone, but it’s the reality of it and you know she was always gonna get to that place. And it’s disturbing. But you have to accept it. You have to accept it and you have to have your own solutions to figure out how to handle the action and take action for it.
When I say “the little girl,” it’s the analogy of accepting the moment when she grows up. We love women, we enjoy their company. At one point in time I may have a little girl who grows up and tells me about her engagements with a male figure—things that most men don’t want to hear. Learning to accept it, and not run away from it, that’s how I want this album to feel.”
You can check out the full interview here.
Kendrick Lamar is headlining this year’s Coachella music festival, further leading us to believe that his new album will becoming out around that time or shortly after. If the TPAB follow-up doesn’t arrive until later in the year we’d still be satisfied, considering how seriously Kendrick takes his art form and that he wouldn’t release an album until he’s completely happy with it. So, will Kendrick Lamar release a new album in 2017? We think it’s looking pretty good. Until then, be sure to get your Coachella tickets before its too late. It is, after all, Kendrick’s only scheduled performance this year so far.
Need a reminder of his greatness? Check out one of Kendrick’s incredible late night TV show performances below.