Kendrick Lamar morphs into Will Smith as commentary to black on black violence

After four years, Kendrick Lamar drops a new single with epic commentary on gang violence over a jazzy, Marvin Gaye instrumental.

 
 
 
 
 
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This morning African- American rapper Kendrick Lamar released a new single, The Heart Part 5, after a four year hiatus. Lamar’s 5th part uses lyricism to comment on gang culture, black on black crime and adopting perspective. As well as paying homage to the late rapper Nipsey Hussle.

The release of the song came accompanied with the music video, which is trending at number one on YouTube. And just 21 hours later it sits at over eight million views. Lamar’s video sees him morph into black celebrities using deepfake technology, including; O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.

The Heart Part 5, is fifth in the series that is known as ‘the heart series’  started in 2010 with The Heart Part 1. Black excellence runs through this single with a tribute to the ‘Prince of Motown,’ Marvin Gaye.

Marvin Gaye’s 1976 hit single ‘I want you,’ backs the track as an instrumental. In the chorus the rapper plays on the words of Gaye’s song. Taking them from what was a romantic line to a plea for the ‘hood’ to take him back. Lamar has been open about his childhood growing up in Compton surrounded by gang culture and violence.

Genius contributor Aaron C. Williams says the lines “I want the hood, Look at what I’ve done for you,” “signify a desire for the hood to love and respect him; asking them to recognize how much he and all the characters he portrays in the track’s music video have given to their respective communities.” 

At one point of the music video Lamar morphs into disgraced American actor, Jussie Smollett. Who was sentenced to 150 days, in March of this year, for making false police reports alledging a racist and homophobic attack in 2019. It was determined in court that he had actually orchestrated the attack with two Nigerian men he knew, in an attempt to generate publicity.

Whilst presenting as Smollett, Lamar makes one of his first references to the late Nipsey Hussle who was a victim of black on black crime, shot outside his clothing store, Marathon, in 2019. Lamar’s lines read “make amends, then find a n***** with the same skin, do it.”

Keeping to the topic of black on black violence, the rapper uses this video to comment on an important moment that happened in March at the 2022 Oscars. As Lamar speaks the lyrics “hurt people hurt more people” the deep fake technology morphs into Will Smith. Referencing Smith slapping Chris Rock at the televised awards ceremony.

In verse three we hear Lamar speak from the perspective of Hussle. “To the killer that sped up my demise, I Forgive you,” he goes on, “I completed my mission.” Seemingly, a recognition of the good work Hussle did whilst alive. 

Genius contributor who goes by ‘Emptysaturn’ says; “Nipsey left behind a legacy of seemingly endless philanthropy: combating gentrification in his neighbourhood, founding an “open-air” Black history museum, providing jobs and shelter for the homeless.” 

Closing off The Heart Part 5, Lamar raps, “And Sam I’ll be watching over you, make sure my kids watch all my interviews.” This is a direct link to Hussle’s older brother Sam Asghedom.

With earlier testimonies to the structure of gang culture, homage paid to black celebrities and a heartfelt tribute to Nipsey Hussle, this was a really impactful comeback for the 34 year old rapper and a refreshing release for the 2022 music scene.

A Youtube comment by Homagebeats reads “We are about to be blessed with a fantastic album.” Let us know what your favourite parts of the song were using the comments section below this article.

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