After a string of damn near unimpeachable videos from Kendrick Lamar
's magnum opus To Pimp A Butterfly
-- the near religious fervor of "i," the police brutality undertones of "Alright," the 90s hip-hop danceability of "King Kunta," the surrealism of "For Free" -- we're sad to report that Kendrick has finally fallen flat with the first disappointing video release of this record cycle which is a shame because it's paired to one of the album's best tracks, "For Free."
"For Free" was arguably one of the most dense and lyrically complex tracks on an album overflowing with multi-layered allusions and metaphors. It was a haunting meditation on "walls:" the walls of the mind, the walls of prison, the walls of a vagina (inre to the addictive but empty nature of sex without an emotional component). And the video fails to capture any of this at all except in a vague sense in the video's final minutes. At nearly 8 minutes long, "These Walls" qualifies as a short film. And it's funny. Watching Kendrick Lamar and Terry Crews do the "Hit the Quan" dance is hysterical. And even the prison interludes made us chuckle. But none of this matches the depth and nuance of the track itself. This video would work with probably any other track by a different artist, but Kendrick deserved something better...something with a visual insight and pull to match the intensity of his vision.