Kendrick Lamar Ends 2015 With 1 Of The Most Emotionally Raw & Visually Stunning Videos
When we look back at 2015 years from now, the annum for Kendrick Lamar will be viewed as one of the most complete for any artist in any genre or medium. Lamar achieved levels of success by any metric–commercial, critical, social importance–with the release of his album To Pimp A Butterfly. The LP was not only a radical departure from Lamar’s past work, and the likely expectation that he would follow up his highly-regarded good kid, m.A.A.d city album debut with more of the lyrical bombast featured during his infamous verse on Big Sean’s “Control,” it also defied the conventions of how today’s Hip-Hop, R&B and Pop music sounds. Kendrick forsook samplers and beat machines, for music produced by real people, many of whom are some of the finest musicians of today (Thundercat, Terrace Martin) and years past (George Clinton). And, lyrically, instead of talking about material wealth, women and what a baller he was, Kendrick chose to talk about the state of his people and face his own inner demons.
He did not stop with the bold music, however. He supported his sounds with equally rich, vibrant and courageous visuals. Many saw “Alright” as the video of the year, and visuals for “These Walls,” “For Free?” and “King Kunta” were no less powerful and creative. Now, on the last day of the year, he closes 2015 with his most emotionally raw video to date.
“God Is Gangsta” is a 7 minute short film that combines visuals for his songs “U” and “For Sale.” “U” is a powerful song about self-loathing, focusing on Kendrick’s much discussed inner-conflict about how he feels about his success while those close to him from Compton are literally still dying in the streets. The visual picks up where one would imagine Kendrick would be in life had he taken a different direction after “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and succumbed to substance abuse. “For Sale,” Kendrick’s song about the temptation of “Lucy” (i.e., Lucifer), shows a descent into hell, complete with all of its temptations (warning: there is some nudity in this portion of the video). However, as Kendrick has alluded in past videos like “Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe,” his spiritual relationship is strong, and in the end, God prevails.
Take a look and tip your hat to the year Kendrick Lamar has had.