Kendrick Lamar transforms into Will Smith, Kanye West, OJ Simpson and more in The Heart Part 5 video

the season of Kendrick Lamar has officially started. The long-awaited fifth album from the rapper, Mr Morale & The Big Steppersfinally arrives this Friday, and on Sunday kicked off with a new song and video, The Heart Part 5the latest installment in a series of tracks that began in 2010. The video starts off simple, with Lamar rapping while looking slightly off-camera against a maroon background: “As I get older, I realize that life is perspective”. That, and a message before the images that says “I am all of us”takes on a different meaning around 1:45, when Lamar turns to the camera and his face transforms into… OJ Simpson’s.

This idea continues throughout the rest of the video, in which he becomes Kanye West, Jussie Smollett and Will Smith, all of them very much in the news for their recent problematic behavior. The transformations seem to be related to the lyrics of the song: OJ appears when Lamar inserts a mythical line from Jay-Z, which he did The Story of OJ; there is a mention of bipolarity when Ye appears; and the lyrics “in the land where hurt people hurt more people” plays as Smith exits.

In the last stanza, Lamar takes on two fallen Los Angeles giants: Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle. The third verse appears to be written entirely from Nipsey’s perspective, with lines like: “Should I be resentful that I didn’t see my full potential?”, telling his family that he is “in heaven”, and addressing his brother Black Sam, the morning he died, and the “murderer who caused my disappearance”. The song credits include a special thanks to the creators of South ParkMatt Stone and Trey Parker.

In the rest of the song Kendrick Lamar deals with the evils, hypocrisies and dualities of “the culture” about a subtle samples from I Want You, by Marvin Gaye, which basically functions as a cover letter and pre-album appetizer. Which makes all the sense in the world, since most of the topics of The Heart precede a new project. An image Lamar posted last week hinted that this work is actually a double album, but we’ll surely know a lot more in the days leading up to its release. You can see The Heart Part 5 then.

This article was originally published on the US version of GQ.


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