Wal-Mart seems to know things — things that might go beyond how to make billions of dollars by destroying small-town America. For instance: Wal-Mart may have learned, before the rest of the world, that Kendrick Lamar is about to drop a surprise album on the world. Yesterday, as Section Eighty points out, someone posted an image of a new-release calendar in some random Wal-Mart’s music section. It lists an unreleased Kendrick Lamar album with a release date of 1/27. That’s next Tuesday! Observe:
Now, before we get too excited about this, we should probably acknowledge that it’s not going to happen. Surprise-release albums tend to start out as digital-only affairs before the physical releases come out. If Wal-Mart is advertising the album in a physical store, then it’s presumably advertising the physical version. It seems extremely unlikely Interscope would be able to press up so many copies of a new Kendrick album without alerting the world first. And unless this album was a Wal-Mart exclusive, the store would not be the only entity to know about a forthcoming Kendrick album. Kendrick is not exactly the type to release a Wal-Mart exclusive album. He’s not Garth Brooks, you know? And while that picture doesn’t look Photoshopped, you can’t really trust a random image posted online, can you?
Still, certain elements of this story check out. Kendrick is playing plenty of festivals this spring, and he’s about to appear on the cover of XXL. He’s been working on this new album for a long time. And so soon after D’Angelo and Björk made such glorious surprise returns, it seems like the universe is trying to spoil us, so why not? Also, Wal-Mart seems like the sort of company that’s so big and clueless that it could leak this news by mistake and not even realize what it’s done.