It's been three years, four months and two days—40 months, 174 weeks or 1,219 calendar days (whichever feels longest)—since Kendrick Lamar released a studio album. And while K-Dot's fans have been waiting patiently, he is quieter than radio silence and the internet buzzing for details. Speculation about what's to come from Kendrick hasn't stopped either.
Yesterday (Aug. 18), a leaked Kendrick track with the title "Gotta Love Me" featuring the newly inducted 2020 XXL Freshman Baby Keem surfaced via social media. The good kid, m.A.A.d. city rapper holds down the verses before Keem, who is also Kung Fu Kenny's cousin, jumps in to round out the chorus. With the leaked song, which is apparently a reference track, circulating online, it begs the question of when the fans will get a new project from Kendrick Lamar.
Since releasing Damn. three years ago, Kendrick has been heard on features on SiR's "Hair Down," "Tints" by Anderson .Paak, Nipsey Hussle's "Dedication" and Beyoncé's "Nile" for The Lion King soundtrack. Nonetheless, no song with Kendrick Lamar at the helm of the track has been released since Damn.
It's worth noting that whenever Kendrick delivers an album, it'll join his highly decorated discography, which includes four studio albums—Section.80 (2011), good kid, m.A.A.d. city (2012), To Pimp a Butterfly (2015) and Damn. (2017)—, a compilation record titled Untitled Unmastered (2016) and a soundtrack for the film Black Panther (2018) since getting his start in 2010. All of which were released under the record label Top Dawg Entertainment/Aftermatch/Interscope Records.
While there are only slithers of details surrounding K-Dot's forthcoming LP, XXL breaks down everything we know about the long-awaited return of Kendrick Lamar.
Kendrick Lamar Was Set to Headline Multiple Festivals This Summer
Back in December, Kendrick was slated to appear at Lollapalooza Stockholm in Sweden, Longitude Festival in Dublin, Ireland, Rock Werchter Festival in Belgium, NOS Alive Festival in Portugal and the WOO HAH! Festival in the Netherlands before summer was stolen by the coronavirus pandemic. This added to the speculation that the 33-year-old rapper would be releasing a new album since the last time he toured was when he dropped Damn.
The Album Is Finished With Rock Influences
One month later, in January, Bill Werde, a former Billboard columnist, went on social media to announce K-Dot's album was nearly finished and would be incorporating rock influences. Werde suggests Kendrick would be stepping back from the jazz sounds he incorporated in his past projects.
In March of 2020, Kendrick made an unexpected return to social media to announce his new multi-service media company pgLang with Dave Free, Kendrick's manager and the former president of TDE. According to Billboard, pgLang is a media powerhouse that includes a record label, movie studio and publishing house. Baby Keem is the first artist to join forces with pgLang.
Thundercat Has Worked on the LP
A few weeks after pjLang emerged, Thundercat confirmed he worked with Kendrick on his forthcoming LP in a YouTube interview with Japanese fashion company Neet Tokyo. “I think I worked on the new one a little bit,” he said. “But not as much.” As the interview continues, Thundercat explains how he wishes he could work with Kendrick more often. “I say it every now and again, but I wish I could spend more time around him creating just because he gives off such energy and he knows what he wants a lot of time.”
Music Is Confirmed to Be on the Way
The latest update came in May when TDE's CEO, Anthony "Top Dawg" Tiffith, confirmed in a social media post that Kendrick Lamar will return to music. "Stay patient king Kendrick will return soon," the record label's head honcho wrote in a comment on an Instagram Live.
Kendrick Lamar to Headline Open’er Festival in 2021
On Wednesday (Sept. 16), it was announced that Kendrick is scheduled to perform at next year's Open'er festival in the North coast of Poland. K. Dot is expected to hit the Orange Main Stage on the first day of the festival on June 30, 2021.