Kendrick Lamar Has A Battle Of Wills & Raps With Don Cheadle For His DNA (Video)

Over the last 3 weeks, Kendrick Lamar has dominated Rap discourse, but since the release of his latest album on Friday, the conversation has reached a fever pitch. Over the weekend, there was intense speculation that Kendrick would drop yet another album on Easter Sunday and, his headlining performance at Coachella was the highlight of the event, for many. And, just today, Billboard Magazine reported that the Compton MC will secure his third number 1 album when the sales are tallied this week.

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Not letting up, Kendrick has now released his second video from DAMN. As with “HUMBLE.,” the first video released from the LP, the visuals for “DNA.” are jarring and compelling. Similarly, the songs for both of the lead videos were produced by the red hot Mike Will Made It. The beginning of the video finds Kendrick in an interrogation room, as Cheadle, who is playing a detective, walks in to question him. Kendrick is hooked up to what looks like a polygraph machine, and seems in a trance. After Cheadle asserts that “DNA” stands for “Dead Ni**er Association,” the two enter a violent tug of war, both literally and figuratively.

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Kendrick’s DNA seems to be transferred to Cheadle, who does a wicked impersonation of the animated MC, as he recites his lines. The energy flows back to Kendrick who picks up where Cheadle leaves off and, from there, they have a battle of wills and raps, as they trade off one another. As is the case with many of the songs on DAMN., there is a radical beat change on the record. That comes with a scene change as well and, after a shot of some people in a car engaging in hood politics, and  a quick glimpse of Kendrick in a coffin–his death is a recurring theme on the album–we see him embracing the thuggish part of his DNA. He and the homies, including ScHoolboy Q, are seen together in the streets, and they are not looking to make friends.

As with everything about Kendrick’s new album, the video for “DNA.” is certain to be littered with fodder for decoding, for weeks.