Kendrick Lamar reasserted his cultural importance this year by releasing To Pimp A Butterfly, which not only earned 11 Grammy nominations but also soundtracked the Black Lives Matter movement. To close out the year, Kendrick has released a short film for two tracks off To Pimp A Butterfly, and like much of his music, the visuals are dense with meaning.
The first half, for “U,” was directed byJack Begert and the little homies and shows Lamar drinking by himself in an enclosed room, becoming increasingly more erratic the drunker he gets. In a recent interview with NPR, Lamar expounded on the meaning of the song, saying that he had promised a friend that he would watch after his little brother but the brother had since been shot and killed. The experience has clearly weighed on the rapper, who turns to the bottle here in order to cope.
The latter half, for “For Sale?,” was directed by PANAMÆRA and the little homies and splices together footage of Kendrick at a party with that of the rapper being baptized. The women at the party are all nude and in between cuts, short messages like “If I blame you for a loss, I’ll be giving you all the credit” and “I made money. I lost money. I did it again.” appear on the screen in a flash. The final message, “God is Gangsta,” lends the short film its name.
In that same NPR interview, Kendrick said that he likes all rap music, “But as long as I’m doing it right now, I’ma continue to say just a little bit more that pertains to what’s going on.” That effort pertains to his videos as well, as the above clip will confirm. The Grammys will air on Feb. 15 where Kendrick is up for Album of the Year and Song of the Year for “Alright.”