Kendrick Lamar put the internet on notice Thursday morning with a cryptic Instagram post hinting at a new album.
The iconic Compton rapper deleted his entire Instagram history, replacing it with one solemn post proclaiming “IV.” Most interpreted that as a reference to his long-awaited follow-up to 2015’s cultural touchstone To Pimp a Butterfly.
Lamar hinted at some of the themes of his imminent fourth record—not counting last year’s untitled unmastered, a holdover collection of tracks from the To Pimp a Butterfly sessions—in a recent New York Times Magazine profile, suggesting that it will deal with issues of community, redemption, and civic engagement:
“Been thinking about my little brothers. One little brother, he bigger than me, he’s 22. Another brother, he just turned 11. Family. 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.”
Lamar went on to say the record would be “very urgent.” We’d expect nothing less.