When Kendrick Lamar dropped the primary quantity of his “The Heart” single collection in 2010, he declared himself “only a lil’ nigga from Compton.” This was one 12 months earlier than the discharge of his 2011 breakout album Part.80, but he was already evaluating himself to rap legends with a hearth and urgency that implied his destiny amongst hip-hop gods was already sealed. Twelve years later, his respect throughout the trade is unparalleled and he’s the primary and to this point solely rapper ever to win a Pulitzer Prize. However gold can’t erase the bloodstains of the previous, a proven fact that Lamar brazenly grapples with on his newest single “The Heart Part 5.”
Every new installment in “The Heart” collection is a standing replace, a palate cleanser to organize for no matter route Lamar is heading subsequent. “Part 5” has barely extra meta tendencies than typical. “As I get a little bit older, I notice life is perspective,” Lamar mutters over funky piano stabs and shuffling hand drums sampled from Marvin Gaye’s “I Need You.” His perspective swings from harrowing tales of the street-to-prison cycle to society’s tendency to numb ache with medication to his recollections of performing in Argentina on the night time of late California rapper Nipsey Hussle’s dying. Throughout the third verse, Lamar speaks from Nipsey’s perspective, positing what he would possibly’ve thought for the time being he was shot and telling his household and his brother, Black Sam, that he’s watching over them. It’s a robust and haunting second.
The themes and lyrics are dense and sophisticated even by Kendrick requirements, and the music’s accompanying video provides much more layers. From its second verse on, Lamar’s face morphs into deepfakes—created by an organization based by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker—of various Black celebrities of various levels of notoriety: O.J. Simpson, Ye, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey. The convincingness of the deepfakes is blended, to say the least, however they amplify Lamar’s phrases and serve to visualise a sophisticated lineage via Blackness and the pressures of movie star (Ye on “Mates bipolar, seize you by your pockets,” Smollett on “The streets bought me fucked up,” and so forth.).
“Part 5” is the second “Heart” entry to be paired with a video, and this time, the intrinsic hyperlink between music and visible is a double-edged sword. Lamar’s cautious cross-references between societal points and movie star controversy really feel much less urgent when you may’t see the faces change in actual time, deflating the music’s momentum and putting it close to the again finish of the “Heart” collection. That’s the chance of tying the 2 components too shut collectively, but it surely additionally speaks to Lamar’s ever-expanding ambitions, and it goes with out saying that he’s nonetheless the most effective rappers alive. Perspective continuously modifications the enjoying discipline of life and Lamar is making ready us for what looks like his greatest shift but.