Kendrick Lamar made his triumphant return to music ahead of the release of his album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. The album is slated to drop on May 13 and will be his final project with T.D.E. It is his first project since 2017’s DAMN, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and went on to win a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize.
The song was accompanied with a deepfake music video directed by Dave Free and K. Dot himself. It begins with a message reading “I am. All of us. – Oklama.” Kendrick often uses his Oklama moniker and website to launch information about his projects. Last August, he used the site to announce his departure from T.D.E.
Kendrick begins the track with a short monologue, a theme that is consistent with each iteration of his “The Heart” series.
“As I get a little older, I realize life is perspective,” he says in a deadpan tone with a sheepish expression. “And my perspective may differ from yours. I want to say thank you to everyone that’s been down with me. To all my fans, all my beautiful fans. Anyone who’s ever given me a listen. All my people.” He then launches into a high energy performance of his song for the next minute, before his face transforms into that of O.J. Simpson.
The entire video is shot with a singular stationary camera angle adorned with a red background, fitting the title of the track. Throughout the video, Kendrick’s face also morphs into that of Kanye West, Will Smith, Nipsey Hussle, Jussie Smollett, and Kobe Bryant. His lyrics match up with the person being depicted, such as bipolarity with Kanye West and murder with Nipsey Hussle.
Beach Noise produced the track, which samples Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You.” South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Deep Voodoo agency handled the deepfake animations. They are also credited in the “special thanks” at the end of the video. Paramount has confirmed that Lamar is developing a live-action comedy movie with the duo, alongside pgLang’s Dave Free. The film was written by Vernon Chatman and will stream on Paramount+.
Earlier this year, Kendrick performed at the Pepsi Super Bown LV1 halftime show alongside Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Cent. He won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance for “Family Ties” alongside Baby Keem.
Check out “The Heart Part 5” below.