Kendrick Lamar's New "DNA" Music Video Is Powerful

by Jordana Lipsitz

Just when I think that Kendrick Lamar can't possibly top his past music videos he drops a low-key masterpiece that proves me wrong. The video for "Humble" features religious subtexts and showcases a beautiful model, Carter Kim, showing off her natural stretch marks. It's gorgeous, to say the least. But Kendrick Lamar's powerful new "DNA" music video is a collaboration you don't want to miss.

Where should I begin in describing the perfect nature of this video from director Nabil Elderkin? Do I start by describing the on-point dramatic performance by critically-acclaimed actor Don Cheadle, or the short snapshots of Lamar's life that are interspersed towards the end of the video? Or maybe even his crisp all-black outfit as "Kung Fu Kenny?" Truly, I don't know where to begin.

So I suppose I'll start at the beginning. The video starts with Lamar rocking his all-black everything look in a warehouse space while handcuffed to a table. A lie detector sits nearby at the ready. Suddenly, in strolls Don Cheadle as some sort of police investigator-type who dives right into mocking his captive. "Kendrick Lamar. Two first names, huh? The f*ck is up with that?" Officer Cheadle says, and takes a seat while an audio clip of Fox Anchor Geraldo Rivera slamming Lamar's police brutality-based lyrics from his song "Alright," plays. When Cheadle turns the lie detector on it's like he is possessed by Lamar's rapping essence. He sits for a second as if in a trance before beginning to dramatically lip sync to "DNA." The two men fire back and forth and mirror each other's actions until Cheadle's character seems to have had enough. He releases Lamar from the handcuffs. After his release, Mr. Duckworth meets up with a large crew, including rapper ScHoolboy Q, and they begin to throw dice while he continues spitting his heated fire.

"DNA" comes from Lamar's latest album released on April 14, DAMN, which was described by Itunes Review as "a grab-you-by-the-throat declaration that’s as blunt, complex, and unflinching as the name suggests." The music video for "DNA" proves true to that sort of declaration, and if his past habit of constantly one-upping himself is any indication, there's sure to be more "complex and unflinching" work from Lamar in the future. I can't wait to see what King Kendrick does next!