6 Clues About the Arrival of Kendrick Lamar’s Next Album

Anticipation for a new Kendrick Lamar album is higher than ever after TDE's latest cryptic message. Here are six clues about the arrival of a new project.

Kendrick Lamar

Image via Getty/Kevin Winter

Kendrick Lamar

On Wednesday, Top Dawg Entertainment announced that a major release is coming on May 7. 

“The wait is ovah,” the message reads. Fans immediately flocked to social media, sharing their guesses about which TDE artist would be dropping new music. While some people threw out names like SZA, Isaiah Rashad, and Schoolboy Q, a large portion of fans suggested Kendrick Lamar might be returning to rap. 

It’s been four long years since Kendrick Lamar dropped a full-length solo album. And in that time, he’s disappeared from public life. In 2020, he made two notable appearances. In March, he made a rare appearance in the inaugural video for his pgLang company. And seven months later, he issued a PSA on Instagram to playfully address the rumors of him splitting with TDE. 

There’s been a lot of anticipation building around album releases from major artists this year, as we expect more rappers to finally drop new music now that COVID-19 restrictions are beginning to ease. But there seems to be an especially heightened thirst for Kendrick Lamar to share new music. Of course, he’s a mainstream artist with a lot of fans, but the current political and social climate may also play a part in why so many people want to hear from him right now. Last year, when protests broke out around the world to stand against racism and inequality, Kendrick’s protest anthem “Alright” was often played frequently, and fans shared messages like, “We need Kendrick right now.” 

Though Kendrick has stuck to his code of silence, there have been a few hints left behind that would suggest a new album is coming sooner than we think. While you wait, here are some of the most important clues about Kendrick’s next album. 

Top Dawg’s cryptic announcement

View this video on YouTube


On April 28, Top Dawg shared a 19-second clip of a TDE bar loading and the date “5/7/21.” Shortly after the message was posted, fans began speculating which artist on the roster might be releasing music on May 7. It seems likely that the rollout is for a smaller artist on the label (like Isaiah Rashad) and TDE’s marketing team knows that keeping everything mysterious will draw more hype as fans speculate about Kendrick’s return. So far, it seems to be working. Kendrick’s name trended on Twitter throughout the day, as many fans perceived the message to be a signal of his return. Even if the May 7 release isn’t a Kendrick project, though, it does seem to be a sign that TDE is finally ready to release music again, and a K.Dot album could arrive soon after.

He’s performing live this summer

Kendrick Lamar Nike Cortez

Though Kendrick and TDE have yet to announce an album, the rapper is already scheduled to hit the road. Last year, Roskilde Festival announced Kendrick as the headliner for its seven-day event in Denmark. The festival is set to kick off on June 26, 2021 and conclude on July 1.

We are on the threshold of a new year, and we think there is a need and reason to be hopeful. So, here's a big one!

We're thrilled to announce that @kendricklamar will return to Roskilde Festival in 2021 (#rf50).https://t.co/NAMhkzOWgR pic.twitter.com/YbyBR6E37u

— Roskilde Festival (@orangefeeling) December 30, 2020

“We are on the threshold of a new year, and we think there is a need and reason to be hopeful. So, here’s a big one! We’re thrilled to announce that @kendricklamar will return to Roskilde Festival in 2021,” the announcement reads. Many festivals and tours have been cancelled or rescheduled due to Covid-19, but as of April 28, the festival is still moving forward as planned on the official website. This may be just one show, but the concert announcement could suggest that Kendrick will be dropping new music to perform.

The music video shoots

View this video on YouTube


In September 2020, a video began circulating on social media with the caption: “Recent footage of Kendrick Lamar shooting a music video.” In the clip, a video crew is seen standing on a beach while a man, who is believed to be Kendrick, is standing in the water. Then he’s lifted in the air by wires while waves crash in the background. 


— Hiiipower - TDE News (@hiiipowers) September 2, 2020

A photo also surfaced on the internet, showing Kendrick sitting at a payphone in LA on the set of a music video shoot. It’s unclear if he was shooting the video for a new record or for PgLang, but fans have speculated that it could be album-related.

Kendrick Lamar affiliates have spoken on an upcoming album

View this video on YouTube


Kendrick Lamar has been out of the spotlight for some time, and the paparazzi hasn’t even caught him slipping. All of TDE is notoriously secretive about its artists, but some people close to Kendrick have dropped a few hints about his upcoming album. Producer MixedByAli told Complex News that fans can look forward to Kendrick “expressing himself in the most expressive way,” he said. “How he works, I’ve never seen it before, just the recording process, the thought process, piecing an album together and sequencing.” When asked if the album was coming in 2021, Ali said, “It might. You never know.” 

Kendrick’s lengthy album process

Kendrick Lamar

The rumors about his new rock sound

Kendrick Lamar

Latest in Music