The video for one of my favourites songs of of Kendrick Lamar’s Sophomore album “To Pimp A Butterfly” was released yesterday on the 28th October. This is the fifth video to be released from the album that came out on March 15th. Since the album’s release and it’s reception by fans and critics, there has been much speculation about whether or not Kendrick would be releasing videos to accompany the visually evocative songs. Thus far there have been videos for the album’s lead single “i”, the funk homage “King Kunta”, the politically-charged fan favourite “Alright” and the jazzy interlude “For Free”.
Each of those videos have been shot in Kendrick’s home state of California as a backdrop and taken place at different times of day to match the mood and settings of the songs themselves. The storylines of the videos have closely followed that of the songs and (in my opinion) have successfully recreated the environments Kendrick so vividly raps about.
Due to the subject matter of “These Walls” there was a good deal of speculation about how this would translate into a video. For those yet to listen, RapGenius says:
““These Walls” show the good and evil of the human mind. If walls could talk, what would they say?
In this song, Kendrick discusses the vaginal walls of a woman he’s having relations with before juxtaposing it with a man (discovered to be the baby daddy of the woman) who is behind prison cell walls, the subject of the third and final verse. He also talks about the walls of our inner conscience in the third verse as well. Kendrick uses this premise to explore the contrasts of sex, emotions, abuse, his own career, that of his enemies, and the human psyche/conscience.”
With such a typically taboo topic and differing interpretations, Kendrick could really have gone in any direction with this video. He opted for an 8 minute visual journey where the location switches up from a prison cell, a house party and an amateur talent show. The opening scene shows us a man in the cell telling fellow inmates how it was Kendrick’s fault that he’s there in prison, followed to a flashback to him arriving at this party we assume is being thrown by the accused. From there we are thrust into a seemingly crazy house-party. There are strippers, cocaine and a good deal of weed and liquor, all staples one could say of a party thrown by a rapper. Pioneered by Directors Colin Tilley and the Little Homies, the video uses some really cool camera techniques which allow us to follow the characters in both first and third person as the madness unfolds. We see cameos from other members of Kendrick’s “Black Hippy” cohort and a hilarious appearance from Terry Crews, as a juiced-up, dancing thug.
After 8 minutes i felt as if I had watched a film soundtracked by one of my favourite songs of the year, I loved it. Kendrick, having proven himself a while ago as one of the best rappers of thus generation, is now establishing himself as talented actor with a great eye for videos that have highly complimented his music.
Check the video out and tell me your thoughts in the comments!