If you thought you heard the last from Kendrick Lamar's fourth studio album, DAMN, think again. Because the rapper dropped yet another gem from the project that is sure to have fans on the edge of their seats. In his latest music video "LOYALTY," Kendrick Lamar and Rihanna find themselves in the thick of a risky companionship, proving that being "loyal" may not always be as great as it seems.
The newest music video, which is the fourth track to be released from Lamar's newest body of work, shares an undeniable and important message. Exploring the topic of devotion, the entertainer makes it a point to express that loyalty, while seemingly good on the surface, could very well become a detriment to your own well-being.
Directed by Dave Meyers and Little Homies (Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free), the "LOYALTY" cinematic identifies the perils within temptation and toxic relationships. As the video gets underway, Lamar's character finds himself in a street fight in an attempt to defend Rihanna's honor after she spits into the face of a man that she seemingly antagonizes. The pair appear to visualize themselves as being invincible throughout the entire video as a gang of people on the street capsize in the concrete whenever they get remotely close to the duo. Midway through the visual, the featured track cuts to make way for a snippet of the intro from Lamar's song, "PRIDE," which features the lyrics:
"Love's gonna get you killed
But pride’s gonna be the death of you and you and me"
The line becomes a befitting breakaway as the "LOYALTY" melody resumes with Lamar and Rihanna holding hands atop a skyscraper. Their situation becomes precarious as Lamar tells Rihanna, "Trust me," as he then smilingly dangles her from the building by one arm.
In the next scene, Lamar comes face-to-face with himself. While rapping to his restrained clone, he seemingly questions his own piety to the allure of earthly vices as well as his own ego. He interrogates,
"Tell me who you loyal to
Is it money? Is it fame? Is it weed? Is it drink?
Is it comin' down with the loud pipes and the rain?
Big chillin', only for the power in your name
Tell me who you loyal to
Is it love for the streets when the lights get dark?
Is it unconditional when the 'Rari don't start?
Tell me when your loyalty is comin' from the heart"
Following the inquisition, the alter-ego is asphyxiated while Lamar walks away, seemingly pleased with the execution of his former self. Meanwhile, both he and Rihanna have been slowly sinking into the asphalt together throughout the video, seemingly a symbol that their joint toxicity or "loyalty" is taking them under. As Lamar continues to rap, sharks begin to loom in the blacktop, serving as an additional threat to his well being.
However, the most disturbing visual comes when the pair appear to be joyriding and speeding around in circles as another vehicle crashes into them. The moment is initially shocking as viewers may perceive the impact as disastrous, but the more vexing issue becomes the laughter that ensues between the couple following the accident.
In the end, Lamar and Rihanna appear completely content in their lethal behavior, while they lie happily with one another atop a building ledge and eventually find themselves ears deep into the earth in another clip.
Kendrick Lamar never disappoints when it comes to combining music and message. And as both the artist and co-director for this song and accompanying video, he's able to spread the word loud and clear that with "loyalty" comes huge responsibility.