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.