A staple in his catalog since 2010, “The Heart” is a series of one-off releases in which Kendrick Lamar bares his soul in a seemingly endless string of bars that give insights into his life, as well as his mission to attain immortality within Hip-Hop culture. Over the years, each new edition in the series has become indicative of the rapper’s plans to release his next body of work, whether it be a mixtape, such as Overly Dedicated, or albums like good kid, m.A.A.d. city and DAMN. This has resulted in “The Heart” becoming one of the more popular song series in recent memory, with each drop feeling like a cultural event.
When reports of Kendrick’s forthcoming 2022 LP first surfaced, the celebration of its impending release was tepid, as Lamar is notorious for being mum on details regarding his rollouts, preferring to show rather than tell. Even when confirmation came from the reclusive artist himself that his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, was due for arrival, fans were still skeptical, as there remained one traditional piece of the puzzle: the unveiling of a new edition of “The Heart.”
So, when Lamar released “The Heart Part 5” this past Sunday (May 8), it was instantly apparent that he was officially back out of hibernation. Accompanied by an enthralling music video, “The Heart Part 5” provided the evidence needed for listeners to rest assured that we’ll be able to enjoy his latest collection sooner rather than later. And with a May 13 release date for Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers set in stone, all signs point to summer 2022 as K. Dot season.
In light of their continued impact and significance to Kendrick Lamar’s journey as an artist, we broke down each song in the rapper’s “The Heart” series as time-markers annotating his storied career.