Kendrick Lamar Slaps Down His Foes & Makes It Look Sexy (Video)
Throughout his career, Kendrick Lamar has made some truly incredible music videos. Today’s release of “ELEMENT.” takes things to a whole other level. The third DAMN. video comes to life as the ultimate visual companion to the song’s spirit. Moreover, attached to an album that has prompted many fans to attempt decoding Lamar’s theme, message, and artistic intent, this visual is an apparent feast of symbolism.
Directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies, this video uses a slower motion of frames. The images deal with violence, poverty, rebirth, hatred, and many of the items lyrically tied to the #1 album from April. There are shots of burning houses, bystanders filming brutal street fights, young dreamers, kids gun-pointing, pool table brawls, and more. Additionally, all “elements” are represented too (fire, air, water, earth).
One vignette appears to allude to young Kendrick getting boxing lessons from father, Kenny Duckworth. Another sequence shows a line of syncopated fighters in suits aligned. There are multiple fights, from men shooting the fair one to gang rumbles. In several of the settings, K-Dot is featured, including one of him apparently choking an opponent (at 2:48). There are multiple rapping sequences, one with the MC in a white tee spattered with blood. Others feature him atop buildings or alone in the concrete wilderness.
Many have speculated that this Sounwave and Tae Beast-produced track sends shots to rivals (perhaps Big Sean, Drake, or Jay Electronica).” Lines like “I’m allergic to a bitch ni**a, ay / An imaginary rich ni**a, ay / Seven figures hold that slimmer than my b*tch figure, ay / Goin’ digital and physical on all y’all, ay” and “None of y’all f*ckin’ with the flow yeah, the flow yeah / Years in the makin’, and don’t y’all mistake it / I got ’em by a landslide, we talkin’ about races / You know this’ll never be a tie, just look at they laces / You know careers take off, just gotta be patient / Mr. One through Five, that’s the only logic / Fake my death, go to Cuba, that’s the only option,” are specifically barbed.
Fader points out that “ELEMENT.” in fact recreates a number of Gordon Parks photographs. “For his video, Kendrick referenced Untitled, a 1956 photo from Parks’s ‘Segregation Stories’ series, Ethel Sharrieff, a 1963 picture from his ‘The White Man’s Day Is Almost Over’ photo essay about Black Muslims, and 1963 photo Boy With Junebug,” identifies journalist Ben Dandrige-Lemco.
Whether the opponents are real or figurative, Kendrick Lamar makes this moment all about his element and the fight from within to move upward.
There is already a video to official third single “LOYALTY.” reportedly in production.