Only a week after his latest release, "The Heart Part IV", Kendrick Lamar drops more fire with his newest music video "HUMBLE." We have been blessed by amazing visuals from director legend, Dave Meyers, who is responsible for essentially every heavy hitter's music video of the 90's. ("B.O.B" by Outkast, "Get Ur Freak On" by Missy Elliot, and "I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)" by Jay-Z to name a few) The legend lived up to his name's sake this time around with visuals referencing many "God complex-like" scenes, as well as literal references concerning "the savior of rap" and his fan given title. Not only did Meyers work on this visual treasure, but received support from The Little Homies, which happens to be a duo of both Dave Free and K. Dot himself. The duo's been flying under the radar, but are certainly qualified with amazing videos such as "i", "God is Gangsta", "Groovy Tony", "Alright", and more under their belt. This visual was bound to be mind-blowing with its team and after a day or so to analyze the video, I think it's time to break some of it down.
Starting with the opening scene, we see Kendrick in a Pope's attire in what looks to be a cathedral with a single light shining on him. This scene can assume that he's the Chosen One. What's actually interesting though, is that Kendrick is not in a church at all, he's in a hotel. The shot was taken in the lobby of The Park Plaza Hotel/The MacArthur in LA, which is shot again at the end of the music video. Whether the directors wanted us to know this is uncertain, but it definitely adds to some of the satirical nature of the God Complex exemplified throughout. As well, it may ask the question of what's a church to a "rap god"? Perhaps it is a hotel where some sort of peace is made. Kendrick did mention in his 2015 release, "To Pimp A Butterfly", that he realized his depression in a hotel room. Maybe it's a reach or maybe I'm looking just deep enough.
The next couple of shots feature Kendrick in the middle of a room where women who are nearly naked count his money, and in the middle of a hair shop where women are getting their hair done. This is an interesting juxtaposition of his stance as a rapper. At one end, he's objectify-ing women and their bodies, but on the other he's just like any one of the women trying to look fly. It makes you wonder if the scenes are connected since neither are really seen again in the video. Nonetheless, this is a flaunt of Kendrick's money. He's got more money than all these rappers, and he's flyer than them too.
Coming back to the God/Savior references, a reoccurring shot is one of K. Dot biking around different parts of LA looking as if he's bigger than the world or that it revolves around him. This is followed by a scene of The Last Supper, a hugely known reference to Christianity and Jesus Christ. This once again doesn't seem to be a reference taken hugely serious though, since all of them surround the table in hoodies and some in sunglasses. Considering the topic of The Last Supper, it's also known as the last meal Jesus had before being betrayed by one of his disciples, Judas. Perhaps this is a shot at the fact that two of his biggest beefs, Drake and Big Sean, started out as friendships.
The bible references continue, as the next scene features Kendrick and a few others with their heads on fire. This can be in connection to the "baptism by fire" that John the Baptist mentions in the book of Matthew. The phrase has been translated as many things that may be applicable to the video. It could mean the trials and testing of Kendrick's disciples (who are his real friends?) or the destruction of his enemies. It could be the latter considering the ropes wrapped around the heads of those surrounding him could nod to hanging.
One of my favorite shots has to be the one speaking of Photoshop, that features a video vixen in her makeup mask and her natural look. As Kendrick passes through both lens, he doesn't change. This is leading to the fact that he's perfect (only God is perfect) and doesn't need Photoshop. The shot could be both another savior reference or taking shots at rappers whose rhymes aren't real. (does Drake still have that ghostwriter?) If it is at these other rappers, the next scene fits perfectly as Kendrick stands in front of a window that has guns locked to shoot at it. It's an obvious reference, but a funny one.
These references continue through the video, whether it's Kendrick flashing how much money he has in shots of him golfing (a known "rich person sport") or his grey poupon commercial parody (grey poupon is a reoccurring symbol in Hip-Hop of oppulence). As well as the references considering himself a rap god with shots of his disciples' shaved heads bowed in prayer like monks. Listening to the actual lyrics though, there is some discrepancy on whether K. Dot is taking shots or humbling himself. Some believe that this "God" revolving topic may be taking shots at Big Sean, who uses the ad-lib "oh god!" and Drake, who refers to himself as "The 6 God". At an opposing end, some believe that he's simply telling himself some words of advice, and considering some of the lack of seriousness in his God references, they may be right.
It's still hard to tell, but all can agree that the video has definitely impressed many and we can only hope what we may see April 7th. We'll just have to wait, but til then watch "HUMBLE." posted above on repeat.