Kendrick Lamar treated us to the rambunctious video for his To Pimp A Butterfly cut, “These Walls.” In typical Kendrick fashion, he manages to create a playfully comedic story with serious undertones. As the viewer, we follow the camera from room to room through an house party while we’re introduced to ridiculous, over-the-top visuals and side plots told by actor Terry Crews and a second tale set up by a man in prison. Following the opening sequence of dialogue, Thundercat‘s futuristic jazz sounds floats over the continuous two-minute tracking shot as it guides us through the party, until we’re blocked by a hulking Terry Crews. A jump cut takes us both out of the scene and the song into a dance sequence that could rival Drizzy‘s “Hotline Bling” in terms of gif-ibility.
It’s interesting how Kendrick parodies his own beliefs in the plotline of the video. His song about women, lust, social and mental boundaries, prison and fame is encased in these layers of overtly stereotypical tropes and aesthetics, playing itself off as a nod to popular rap’s overproduction (but in a good way, like Kanye‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). The song itself has many allusions to drowning in fame, or about how he can’t last much longer in “These Walls,” and those themes are deftly reflected in the video as well. It gives the impression of Kendrick letting loose despite all the seriousness, embodying the theme of falling into desire, a lifestyle that hip hop typically celebrates and encourages. He spends a good amount of the video grinding on some woman and appears again doing a synchronized dance with Crews. We even see rapper Isaiah Rashad handcuffed to a bed in underwear.
All in all, “These Walls” is a great video that manages to display hilariously entertaining acting while subtly appealing to some of his more serious themes. The end of the video has an after scene that twists the story, giving a hint about Kendrick’s view on the level of honesty he’s surrounded by.
Check it out below, and grab Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly on iTunes now.