Kendrick Lamar, one of the most popular rappers in the business right now, has announced that his new album Damn. is set to be released on Friday, April 14th. He revealed the title, tracklist and artwork for this album on Instagram and Twitter on Tuesday. The big news coming out of the announcement was that pop star Rihanna and legendary rock band U2 are credited as guests on two of Lamar’s tracks. Rihanna will contribute to a song called “Loyalty”, while U2 is listed with the track “Xxx”. Curiously, all the tracks on the album are one-word titles.
Lamar dropped a surprise single, “The Heart Part 4”, a couple of days ago in preparation for this album, which is the long-awaited followup to his breakout, To Pimp a Butterfly, released in 2015. Since that momentous album, Lamar has been busy offering his services to various artists, ranging from Maroon 5 to Sia to The Weeknd to A Tribe Called Quest. He also released a mixtape, untitled unmastered, which holds tracks that were made between the release of his first major label album, good kid, m.A.A.d, and To Pimp a Butterfly.
When Lamar has discussed this followup, he’s highlighted its increased social focus. “I think now, how wayward things have gone within the past few months, my focus is ultimately going back to my community and the other communities around the world where they’re doing the groundwork,” Lamar told The New York Times. He’s also hinted at a religious angle being present in the album. In the same interview, he said, “We’re in a time where we exclude one major component out of this whole thing called life: God. Nobody speaks on it because it’s almost in conflict with what’s going on in the world when you talk about politics and government and the system.”