When Kendrick Lamar dropped his single i back in September, a lot of his fans were confused by the direction he took. While critics praised the song for it’s uplifting message, much of his core fanbase was deeply divided by it. Some loved the song for its throwback sound and positive themes, while others called it corny or weak for a first single.
In the months following it, Kendrick and the TDE camp played the album close to the chest, not revealing any concrete details regarding the album, its direction, or even when it’d drop.
Until Kendrick tweeted out the iTunes pre-order link for it last week.
Since then all eyes have been on him, with anticipation for what he’s been working on reaching an all-time high. Details have slowly been revealed about the album, with Kendrick unveiling the cover on his Instagram, with a quote the title is derived from.
With the singles that have been dropped, the album artwork, and the powerful title, it’s become apparent that Kendrick is bringing a level of social consciousness to mainstream music that hasn’t been seen in years. His two singles alone are powerful statements that speak to the perspectives of young Black men in America. They also turn societal norms on their head, influencing listeners to deeply examine opinions on race and self-esteem.
The album cover could be taken as a visual interpretation of the title. A reflection of the culture Kendrick chooses to uphold in a positive light, but has been “pimped” and as a result, reduced to something measured by money and materialism. Things that contribute to the very ills of society that Kendrick writes about in his music.
We won’t know exactly what he has planned for this album until it drops, but it’s now obvious that Kendrick has his mind set on sparking monumental changes to not only Hip-Hop, but how people think as well.