Kendrick Lamar has unveiled the cover for his new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, which arrives on Friday. Earlier this week, he teased the record with the release of the lead single ‘The Heart Part 5’.
In the new album art, Lamar stands faced away from the camera with his head turned slightly to the side. He’s holding a child and wearing a crown of thorns, a gun tucked into the back of his pants. In the background, a woman holds a baby on an unmade bed. The photo was taken by Renell Medrano, the same Bronx-native photographer who shot the cover for ASAP Ferg’s 2016 project, Always Strive And Prosper.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers will be his first record since 2017’s DAMN, which is the longest gap of the rapper’s career. He first announced his plans for the project last August when he said that it would be his final release with the label Top Dawg Entertainment. Lamar said of this detail, “I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years.”
This album is one of this year’s most anticipated releases. His last record won a slew of awards, including a Pulitzer Prize. Although we’ve only had a single and seen the album art so far, it’s shaping up to be another fine effort from Kendrick.
Although it’s unclear what the different elements of the photo symbolize, and the full tracklist hasn’t been released, it’s clear there’s a solid base of artistic vision which is running through the project.
Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers drops on all streaming platforms on Friday, May 13th.