He stands in front of single red backdrop. He opens his mouth to a sample of classic Marvin Gaye track. And then … art happens. The consistent shapeshifting is a visual embodiment message’s delivery. Kendrick done did it again.
Kendrick Lamar is evolving into a bit of an enigma. After the Pulitzer Prize winning, DAMN. and claiming credit for the Black Panther Soundtrack, we haven’t heard much from the Grammy Award winning emcee. When high profile artists blend into the shadows, fans naturally wonder where they are. More specifically, what they’re doing. Even more specifically, when the music will come out. Then the message would appear. In the summer of 2021, Kendrick Lamar would announce his departure from Top Dawg Entertainment. Fans knew, an album is on the way. And then … Mother’s Day 2021 happened. Kendrick released the fifth edition in his series of songs titled, “The Heart,” with a video to match.
We won’t go through everything here, but the rapper’s message is crystal clear. The video begins with a quote reading, “I am. All of us.” It is pretty evident that this quote ties directly into the video. Throughout, Lamar’s face shift into the likes of OJ Simpson, Kanye West, Will Smith, and Jussie Smollett. Each of these men have been publicly scorned for one reason or another. They each would become the center of some sort of controversy, that would result in dirt being thrown on their names. Perhaps, Kendrick is looking make a larger statement about the perception of black men. Maybe, in connection with the quote, Kendrick is making a statement that when one goes down, we all go down.
He also makes several lyrical plays on the term “culture.” He uses the term with the phrase “that’s the culture.” Lamar always puts out timely music, so in light of the rise of issues plaguing black community, namely gun violence which has seen a national surge, he could be making a statement here. It comes off as if he is playing upon the idea people have accepted many of the issues in black communities, writing them off as “the culture.” His first verse opens with, “I come from a generation where murder in minor…” This points to a desensitization, something that is at an all – time high in particularly in black communities.
Whatever the take, Lamar is making a political statement digestible for all. The emcee’s new album Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers was released today, May 13. If you follow Lamar, then you know the music will be as timely as it is good.