Kendrick Theory

Fan theories are, if not always accurate or well-thought-out, fun to speculate upon. In an art culture that’s as fan-inclusive as hip-hop, it’s easy to understand why so many people get wrapped up in deciphering layered meanings, finding “hidden” messages, and uncovering truths about the art, or the artist themselves, that aren’t easily apparent. With album release announcements more or less becoming a thing of the past, the “surprise drop” has become a daunting idea that many mainstream artists have latched on to. Following little to no forewarning, a project will appear on iTunes and the culture gets whipped into a frenzy. Two weeks ago, Future announced FUTURE just three days before its release, yet it made an effortless climb to the Number One spot. 

While there are some tell-tale signs that an artist is on the verge of releasing a project (increased social media presence, a loose single here or there), this new practice has fans constantly on the edge of their seats, waiting on baited breath for that moment they log on to Twitter to see that their favorite artist just released his latest work. Most are content with waiting, but some take the extra step and attempt to be prepared. Fan theories about album drops are a dime-a-dozen, and most don’t have too much of a firm foundation. With that being said, it’s both interesting and entertaining when a fan produces a theory that seems to, in all accounts, make sense. Grey Griffith and Patrick McGowan are two Kendrick Lamar fans that have done just that, seemingly cracking the code of TDE‘s release schedule with a litte bit of math and taking a look into the past. TDE and its label president Anthony Tiffith are notorious for their strict, yet thoroughly considered, release schedule. Every release is pre-planned, a major part of this being shown off last year when he tweeted a picture of a white board with a line-up of dates and artists stretching into 2017. With so many eyes and ears waiting for any hint of new K-Dot, Griffith and McGowan brought their brainpower together to figure out when we could expect his new album. Read their theory below.


Simply put, my friend and I compiled a list of TDE artist album release dates chronologically and assigned each individual person a number. As shown on the left hand side, there’s a reoccuring 1,2,3 pattern between ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, and Kendrick, with the albums coming in that order since 2011. It continued to follow this up until the introduction of new artists and their releases (Isaiah Rashad and Lance Skywalker); however, if we’re assuming the same pattern as shown before then Kendrick is set to release next following Soulo’s most recent release in December of 2016.

With that being said, to pinpoint a general timeframe for when Kendrick’s release would be, we calculated the time between Ab-Soul and Kendrick’s albums as well as Q and Kendrick’s. For Soul and Kendrick, the number of days between drops went from 88 to 165 to 265. Since each one went up almost 100 days, we chose to go up another 100 days to use as the time to estimate Kendrick’s new album. After adding 365 to Soul’s Do What Thou Wilt release, it brings us around a full year to December 9, 2017.

When analyzing the difference between Q and Kendrick, the number of days ranged from 173 to 283 to 384. Therefore, since it went up nearly 100 days each time, we chose to add 485 to Q’s last release (Blank Face LP on July 8, 2016), leaving us with the date November 5th, 2017.

Although a month apart, November 5th and December 9th possibly serve as a solid timeframe and estimate for when Kendrick will drop his follow-up to To Pimp a Butterfly. However, these estimates were solely based off the correlation of previous release dates within TDE and don’t take into account the overall tone Kendrick wants to display on the album (a summer or winter vibe for instance) or even just when he feels the album is perfect and complete. Additionally, Kendrick is an artist that writes and creates from inspiration and his inspiration could already be at work. I say this due to a recent interview in which he described the underlying message of his unnamed album, so it’s okay to assume it could come sooner than the estimated timeframe and have a mid-summer release. However, November and December are also great months for sales and he is a man of meticulous effort and perfection, so his albums tend to take longer than others. nonetheless, expect an album from him this year and expect it to be another classic.

Well there you have it folks! According to Grey and Patrick, we may be looking at a fall release for Kendrick. Considering fall of 2016 had a fully-loaded course of hip-hop releases, it seems it may be the perfect time for him to unleash his new vision on the world. For now, we’ll have to see if all that counting paid off and they’re guesstimate was accurate. Follow Grey and Patrick on Twitter (@Grey_Griffith and @SAUCY_03) and let us know what you think of their theory. Thanks for the hard work guys!