Kendrick Lamar is a man of many different faces.
The 34-year-old musician surprise-released a new song and accompanying music video on Sunday night, titled “The Heart Part 5,” which sees his face morph into the likes of other famous Black men.
Lamar also takes on the appearances of the late Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle towards the end of the video, where Lamar seemingly raps from Hussle’s perspective during several lines that are featured in the song.
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The surprise drop arrived ahead of the release of Lamar’s fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, which is scheduled to drop Friday.
The rapper previously revealed that his long-awaited album would be released last month through a document posted to his cryptic “oklama” website, which is seemingly titled as a play on his name.
“The following statement was released today by oklama, through his company pgLang at 11:00 a.m. PT in Los Angeles, CA,” reads the document, addressed from “The Language Enterprises,” before revealing the album title and release date. “All factual information for this release will come directly from this source only.”
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“Appreciate your patience,” reads the bottom of the PDF, posted to the same website as an August 2021 note from Lamar about the forthcoming, then-untitled record — which will mark his last with longtime record label Top Dawg Entertainment following the 2020 launch of his own record company pgLang, co-founded with manager Dave Free.
“As I produce my final TDE album, I feel joy to have been a part of such a cultural imprint after 17 years. The Struggles. The Success. And most importantly, the Brotherhood,” wrote the performer. “May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling.”
“There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown,” continued his letter to fans. “Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I’ve prayed for you all. See you soon enough.”
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Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers is Lamar’s first full-length studio album since 2017’s DAMN, which earned the rapper a Pulitzer Prize for Music as well as five Grammy Awards and his first chart-topping solo single, the seven-time platinum-certified “Humble.”
Lamar’s other LPs include 2011’s Section.80, 2012’s Good Kid, M.A.A.D City and To Pimp a Butterfly from 2015.