Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart Part 4" hinted that his fourth studio album will be released on April 7th, which means it is time to flesh out an album wishlist, not unlike the wishlist a 8-year-old writes to Santa in the weeks before Christmas. A list filled with hope. Admittedly, there isn't much we specifically desire from the next Kendrick project, other than to be completely blown away.
This article assumes that the tracklist that surfaced over the weekend, and has already been disavowed by Cardo, is fake. Click through the image gallery to read our wishlist for Kendrick's next album.
Plenty of Digi+Phonics production
Kendrick Lamar's first three albums have leaned heavily on the abilities of the Los Angeles-based production collective Digi+Phonics, comprised of Sounwave, Tae Beast, Dave Free, & Willie B. They have been been with Kendrick since the beginning, and he would be foolish to stray too far from their steady beatmaking hands.
Sounwave in particular has been instrumental in the construction and evolution of Kendrick's sound. He spoke on his artistic rapport with Kendrick in an interview with HNHH last summer: “Kendrick is very hands on. Eighty percent of the beats I did were literally with him from scratch in the studio. He’ll say things like, “Change that, change that, change that, change that.”
A departure from the sounds of To Pimp a Butterfly
To Pimp a Butterfly was kaleidoscopic in scope, forged by the fearless, experimental spirit of Kendrick, Digi+Phonics, and virtuosos like Terrace Martin, Thundercat, Kamasi Washington, Flying Lotus, and Knxwledge. The album even had Robert Glasper doing his best McCoy Tyner impression. The album's explosive blend of jazz, funk, & soul aligned perfectly with its prevailing theme of black empowerment.
We hope that Kendrick has spent the last two years boldly exploring new territory. He has demonstrated that when he takes risks, they pay off in spades.
A Black Hippy posse cut
ScHoolboy Q explained why a Black Hippy album will never happen in an interview with HNHH last summer:
"Everybody in they own creative space now, back in the day we used to always be together all the time. We used to be in the studio all the time together, now more so, we all busy, man. Kendrick just performed with Beyonce yesterday. You know how many times you gotta go to rehearsal to perform with Beyonce?"
Kendrick has hosted only one Black Hippy feature over the course of his last two albums, and he has less to gain from a Black Hippy posse cut than, say, Jay Rock, whose "Vice City" is his most popular song ever. But that doesn't mean it wouldn't be a good idea. It'd be a great idea.
Dr. Dre's guiding hand
It is unlikely that Dre and Kendrick regularly have the sort of sessions like the one portrayed in that one Beats commercial, which is fine. Dre executive produced Kendrick's last two projects, and it felt like he took more of a backseat role on TPAB, which is also fine. But given his status as probably the greatest hip hop producer ever, we hope his role on Kendrick's next album has been not insignificant.
Song(s) about life in Trump's America
In a recent interview with New York Times Style Magazine, Kendrick described his forthcoming album as "very urgent":
“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. To Pimp a Butterfly was addressing the problem. I’m in a space now where I’m not addressing the problem anymore. 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.”
This is a tricky comment to decipher. At any rate, Kendrick has established himself as an important and even vital mouthpiece for marginalized Americans. We hope he spends time unpacking his "The Heart Part 4" claim that "Donald Trump is a chump" as it relates to black folk and other minorities.