Last month, Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free debuted their We Cry Together short film. The visual was co-directed by Free, Lamar, and Jake Schreier, and is based on the song of the same name from Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers. This project was the latest of many the pair have collaborated on, as their working relationship began several decades ago.
Now, the two co-own their company, pgLang, and continue to create together in many capacities. In a brand new feature in The New York Times Magazine published today (Dec. 27), Lamar and Free delved into how they are pushing themselves “onto unexpected terrain.” The piece is written by journalist Mitchell S. Jackson.
Within the conversation, they shared a memory about one of the earliest videos they worked on together, “HiiiPower,” which came out in 2011. After deliberating about how the visual should be edited, Free decided to take the reigns and learn how to edit it himself because he and Lamar wanted it a certain way. The Compton rapper said that was the moment he knew Free’s dedication was something he would cherish for a long time.
“To see somebody that much devoted to artists’ crafts, where he’s willing to sit with them and edit the video himself, it lets me know what type of not only businessman, but what type of friendship and what type of dedication he has for something he believes in,” Lamar said. “It was my song. Not his song. I go on tour and perform that song and make millions of dollars.”
“So, for him to be willing to sit there and do that, day in, day out, that let me know,” he continued. “Okay, this is a person you want to be around. He got the best interest to really thug it out with you without even thinking about a check at that point. We just thinking about being creative and the best, and from that day forward, everything flipped.”
Back in May, Kendrick Lamar made headlines with his Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers album. The project consisted of 18 songs and saw contributions from Blxst, Cover Drive’s Amanda Reifer, Sampha, actress Taylour Paige, Summer Walker, Ghostface Killah, Baby Keem, Sam Dew, pgLang artist Tanna Leone, Portishead’s Beth Gibbons, and Kodak Black.