Kendrick Lamar has, at last, announced his next album (and last for TDE records), Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, via the minimal website Oklama and the release of a powerful new track: "The Heart Part 5." Each release in the "Heart" song series has signaled both an imminent new project and a new artistic beginning for Lamar. Here, Lamar illustrates how he has grown as an artist and as a Black man.
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Enveloped in a sample of the sultry "I Want You" by Marvin Gaye, "The Heart Part 5" addresses relationships – between Lamar and his fans, between the cultures, between a Black person and this country. Kendrick conveys this complexity in a minimalist video featuring only a single shot held on Lamar, his face intermittently deepfaked into O.J. Simpson, Will Smith, Kanye West, Jussie Smollet, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.
Lamar ended the yearslong hiatus last Sunday when he released “The Heart Part 5,” his first song as a lead artist in more than 1,549 days, according to Hip Hop by the Numbers. The single comes just days ahead of his fifth studio album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” which is slated to drop this week. The nearly six-minute song is the fifth installment in his long-running “The Heart” series and is an impressive, emotionally charged return to form.
The accompanying music video, which shows Lamar’s face morph into deep fakes of six high-profile Black public figures — O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle — instantly went viral upon its release. As of press time, it has tallied more than 12 million views on the platform.