Kendrick Lamar Shape Shifts into Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith and More in New Video
Kendrick Lamar kickstarted the rollout for his much-anticipated album this weekend, dropping new single and music video “The Heart Part 5.”
In the video, Lamar uses several deepfakes to shapeshift into prominent Black celebrities including OJ Simpson, Will Smith, Jussie Smollett, Kanye West, Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey Hussle.
The video begins with a quote attributed to “Oklama,” which reads, “I am. All of us.”
“As I get a little older, I realize life is perspective/And my perspective may differ from yours,” Lamar proceeds to rap in the intro. “I wanna say thank you to everyone that’s been down with me/All my fans, all my beautiful fans/Anyone who’s ever gave me a listen, all my people.”
Lamar continues to rap with his face turned away from the camera, but around the 1:43 mark, the rapper faces the camera before morphing into O.J. Simpson.
“I said I’d do this for my culture/To let y’all know what a n**** look like in a bulletproof Rover,” he raps, referencing a Jay-Z lyric. “In my mama’s sofa was a doo-doo popper.”
The reference is likely a nod to Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” as Lamar’s lyrics seem to match each figure he shifts into throughout the video.
When morphing into West, for example, Lamar raps about bipolar disorder:
Friends bipolar, grab you by your pockets
No option if you froze up, always play the offense
Niggas goin’ to work and sellin’ work, late for work
Workin’ late, prayin’ for work, but he on paperwork
That’s the culture, point the finger, promote ya
As Lamar’s face changes from West’s to Smollett’s as he raps that “another peer’s been executed,” and then Smith appears later during the lyric, “In the land where hurt people hurt more people.”
But Lamar’s video does not just reference those in the news for problematic behavior, as he later transforms into late icons Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.
The song’s third verse seems to be entirely from Hussle’s perspective, as Lamar raps about being in heaven and references Hussle’s fatal shooting:
But didn’t change me starin’ down the barrel of that gun
Should I feel resentful I didn’t see my full potential?
Should I feel regret about the good that I was into?
Everything is everything, this ain’t coincidental
I woke up that morning with more heart to give you
As I bleed through the speakers, feel my presence
To my brother, to my kids, I’m in Heaven
To my mother, to my sis, I’m in Heaven
To my father, to my wife, I am serious, this is Heaven
To my friends, make sure you countin’ them blessings
To my fans, make sure you make them investments
And to the killer that sped up my demise
I forgive you, just know your soul’s in question
“The Heart Part 5” was produced by Matt Schaeffer, Johnny Kosich, and Jake Kosich’s Beach Noise. The single will appear on Lamar’s upcoming album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers — his final LP for Top Dawg Entertainment.
Deep Voodoo, the studio run by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, was also credited for the video’s deepfake work.
Watch above, via YouTube.
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