Kanye West, Will Smith, O.J. Simpson… In the clip for the new track The Heart Part 5, the Californian rapper uses the technique of morphing to take on the physiognomy of African-American figures, including several controversial ones.
A few days before his highly anticipated new album, the famous Californian rapper Kendrick Lamar has released a new track and a clip where his face takes on those of other African-American figures, including several controversial ones like O.J. Simpson.
The Heart Part 5 is the fifth installment in a series that Kendrick Lamar, known as the only Pulitzer Prize-winning rapper, began releasing in 2010. On a sample of the song I Want You by Marvin Gaye, the child from Compton, a disadvantaged suburb of Los Angeles, evokes social themes that are dear to him such as racism and poverty. He does this by taking on several faces, using the technique of morphing, as the clip kicks off with the words “I am. We all” (“I am. All of us”), obviously intended to assume the controversial stories of these characters.
Among the greatest rappers
He first turns into O.J. Simpson, former glory of American football accused and then acquitted of double murder in the 1990s, after a trial that had stirred up racial tensions in the country. Then he takes on the figure of rapper turned businessman Kanye West, but also actor Will Smith, in turmoil since he slapped comedian Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, or basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who tragically died in a helicopter crash in early 2020. Also appearing actor Jussie Smollett, sentenced in March to prison for having staged a racist and homophobic attack of which he claimed to be the victim, as well as the Californian rapper Nipsey Hussle, shot dead in 2019.
The track landed on streaming platforms on Sunday evening, as his new album Mr Morale & The Big Steppers is due out on Friday, five years after his last opus, DAMN, which won him a Pulitzer Prize in the music category. A first for a hip-hop artist and more broadly for modern popular music. Kendrick Lamar, 34, has already won fourteen Grammy Awards, the awards of the American music industry. He is considered one of the greatest rappers of all time.