Kendrick Lamar Uses Menace II Society In A Brilliant Video For These Walls
Kendrick Lamar has released several statement videos in his young career. However, today’s (October 28) “These Walls” may just be his biggest. The To Pimp A Butterfly single that loves multiple entendres about boundaries, femininity, and sex in its most poetic portrayal, is conveyed in a totally different tone than one may expect.
Leave it to King Kendrick to channel some Menace II Society in making a song about sexuality. Early on, the heavily stylized, symbolic, and distinctive red and blue lights from the film are recreated, amidst an incredible and similarly referential unbroken tracking shot of an overcrowded and hyper-sexual party.
The seven-minute short film stars Kendrick Lamar, Isaiah Rashad, and NFL player-turned-actor Terry Crews. A protagonist recounts a night from a prison cell. As the flashback begins, set inside a bunny ranch, Heads catch K-Dot in rare form. It becomes clear that this is a plot-driven story about a party gone terribly wrong. Ninety seconds in, Terry Crews and K-Dot conjure up some MC Eiht acting chops (as shown beneath the video) in a heavy allusion to one of Menace‘s most gripping scenes.
However, the music video moment quickly goes from menacing to silly, immediately. Terry and K-Dot “Hit The Quan” for a different kind of jacking. As Drake is doing in his “Hotline Bling” video, another A-1 MC in the culture can also poke fun at himself.
The point seems clear though. As Kendrick Lamar chronicles his environment in the 2010s, Menace is a fitting illustration. It’s been an ambush on stagnant Hip-Hop ever since Section.80, and Lamar never fails to open up new dimensions in his artistic repertoire. For one of T.P.A.B.‘s most literary moments, ’90s pop culture and humor can be the perfect visual vehicle for an MC that doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Notably, for a song about sex and sex organs, the video features no nudity—save for a few old prison pin-ups (a clever Shawshank Redemption) allusion. This Colin Tilley-directed TDE video is incredibly ambitious.
#Bonus Beat: Never forget the original scene, starring the good kid, m.a.a.d city O.G., Eiht:
Although it is “to be continued,” is this possibly the best Rap video of 2015?