Kendrick Lamar Shares 7 Minute Short Film Full of Subliminal Messages About Evils, Rules, and the Vibrancy of Tracee Ellis Ross


2015 was, musically, the Year of Kendrick Lamar; it’s hard to recall a time when music critics were so unified about the excellence and relevance of one album as with Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. And now, in case anyone had forgotten that that was the case, on this last day of 2015 Lamar has released yet another video to remind us of how To Pimp a Butterfly has driven the conversation this year, and to ensure that it continues to do so into 2016.

The video, titled “God Is Gangsta,” is described as a short film rather than a music video, and combines two tracks off the album — “u” and “For Sale?” Each track features footage by a different director. Jack Begert directed the “u” sequence, which sees Lamar dizzied and distorted as he sits alone with a huge bottle of whiskey, and PANAMÆRA directed the “For Sale?” part, which was filmed at David Lynch’s Parisian nightclub, Le Silencio.

This section sees footage of Lamar dreamily wandering through a crowd of topless women in the club, intercut with subliminal text — some political, some poetic, some pop cultural — like “I followed your rules for way too long” and “You’ll buy the mall if lust involved. The evils of it all” and “Tracy [sic] Ellis Ross is vibrant.” If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by all that TPaB provides to lyrically sort through, this text is a. exceedingly hard to read unless you’re an expert at pausing, and b. quite disjointed (mirroring Lamar’s mental state in the first section), and could thus easily provide you with plenty more to contemplate — in case you somehow feel you’ve throughly sorted through the multitudes of TPaB.


And as you sort through all of that, note that Lamar said in a recently published interview with the New York Times that he’s currently “just writing, writing, writing” new stuff. He told the paper:

I keep these tablets on me until I’m inspired to go back in and make the music. I never take a break from my pen, because I pride myself on that. As far as a break from music, yeah, I can’t just go in and force myself. I have to come from an original and organic place. It can come tomorrow; it can come two years from now.

[Via Consequence of Sound]