Kendrick Lamar’s New Video From His Album Is Filled With Symbolism

Earlier this week, Kendrick Lamar released a video for “The Heart, Pt. 5,” the fifth installment of a series of songs Kendrick uses to launch his albums. The video featured Kendrick rapping by himself as he morphed into several people, including OJ Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey Hussle. The last verse of the song was rapped from the perspective of Hussle, after his death.

Now, following yesterday’s (May 13) release of Kendrick’s new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, Kendrick has released the album’s first official video. “N95” is the second song on the first volume of the album and finds Kendrick attacking several of society’s current ills, from social media posing to false prophets to the exploitative music industry to the intrusions of fame to cancel culture, and more.

Kendrick Lamar Just Released His 1st New Song In 5 Years

In the stunning new visual for “N95,” the video reflects many of the themes discussed in the song. Kendrick is first shown dressed in all white and floating above water, a nod to the savior image that has been foisted upon him, and likely a reference to the false prophets he derides in the song. He’s then shown dancing with a scantily clad woman, while sporting jewelry, a familiar trope found in many of today’s formulaic Hip-Hop videos. When Kendrick says “take off your idols,” an image of him in a mirror is shattered. Later, he is shown running from people in the hood, possibly a reference to his line on “The Heart, Pt. 5,” about no longer being welcomed there. Further into the video, Kendrick is shown in bed with another woman, as a wall filled with crucifixes surrounds him, a nod that God is always watching, even when he may be up to no good.

Toward the end of the video, Kendrick is shown in non-flammable gear rapping about cancel culture, as sparks fly. As with most of Kendrick’s work, the video is loaded with symbolism.