Kendrick Lamar’s Instagram feed seems to have entered the pre-release cocoon phase — when a tellingly cryptic post is unleashed, and then everything goes blank as people await…something. Lamar’s Instagram account has now totally been cleared, but for a newly added post, simply of the Roman numeral, IV — which is the number his upcoming album would be (following To Pimp a Butterfly, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and Section.80.)
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Lamar’s new album (if we can even jump to conclusions and consider it anything beyond what it is: an Instagram post with a (loaded) Roman numeral, given no context). The rapper was featured in a long T Magazine piece (alongside Beck and Tom Waits) about the nature of artistic creation in 2017. He’d said of the type of work he was doing for his upcoming music:
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.
Here’s the Instagram post: