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Why is Kendrick Lamar calling himself “Oklama?”

K-Dot has come a long way. One of the biggest stars in hip hop drops his last album for Top Dawg Entertainment this week. But what’s with the new moniker?

Kendrick Lamar performs in support of his Good Kid in a Mad City release at the San Jose State Event Center on March 10, 2012 in San Jose, California. Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

Kendrick Lamar brings his fifth studio album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers to audiences on May 13, and fans are already speculating ahead of its release. Lamar is frequently mentioned as one of the greatest rappers in the industry not only for his writing and curation style but also for the significance behind his lyrics. The exploration into his writing carries over to many aliases he’s donned throughout his career: Kendrick Lamar, K-Dot, and Kung Fu Kenny to name a few.

With the release of his latest album comes a new alias, “Oklama.” While not uncommon for artists to debut different pseudonyms, when Lamar signs off with a new name there is a potential rationale for the change. It is likely that the album will inform a new version of Lamar, and after the release of ‘The Heart Part 5’, it’s even more likely that Oklama will be the persona that the rapper embraces in his newest album. Ahead of the drop, there are already theories and speculation that go deeper into the name.

One theory states that Oklama is an acronym that represents what is most important to Lamar. To be “Ok,” Los Angeles is represented by “La,” and “Ma” in reference to his mother. Kendrick Lamar is widely recognized for the significance he places on his lyrics, so this theory is not too far-fetched.

Other speculation hints that Oklama is a subtle reference to Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States. This wouldn’t be the first instance of Lamar’s lyrics having ties to the former president. On the track HUMBLE. from his last album release DAMN, Lamar raps “I blew cool from AC, ayy, Obama just paged me, ayy.” Lamar also called out to Obama on the track Hood Politics, and actually met the former President at the Oval Office back in 2016.

Each theory has its own merit and reasoning, though whether one holds true over the other remains to be seen. What fans can expect is that with Oklama comes a new version of Lamar that will be unique. In order to grasp a better understanding, listening to the album as it drops will be the best move to make.