WEDNESDAY, JULY 01, 2015 |
Posted by: Niko Demetriou
Kendrick Lamar can do whatever he wants to do right now. With To Pimp A Butterfly rightfully being recognized as an instant classic and one of the top hip hop albums of the past few years [Ed. Note: As the person who reviewed it for the site, I'd go so far as to say that it is either the best or second best album of the 2010s period.], the TDE rapper is in a position to control his career and the direction of the genre as a whole from a safe distance. He's used his rhetoric to attack and defend as well as enlighten and punish, and he isn't letting up. He sees the power in his rhymes and instead of riding it out, he continues to give us more. Showing a little bit of everything, Kendrick just released a video for "Alright" that is unmistakably born from his vision. If this is what he feels like doing, let him do whatever he wants to do.
Directed by Colin Tilley, the video kicks off with a clear direction. Beautifully shot black and white footage of Compton and the surrounding pain, bits of anarchy and a particularly hard to watch shooting don't let up with the self-loathing audio bits of "u" fading in and the powerful spoken word of "These Walls" narrating the scene. But in irresistible Kendrick fashion, he turns it all around when we get to the meat of the video. An unfamiliar freestyle with an absolutely tough groove line plays as the members of Black Hippy bump along in a car being towed by police officers. We know where this is heading, "We gon' be alright." The track starts and Kendrick glides along through the hood, acting as a shining light for those below. Mobbing with his crew and tossing bills at the cops, boomboxes and breakdancing - the video is very much so rooted in hip hop history, much like his video for "King Kunta." Even when he brings it back to the video's powerful purpose and Kendrick gets shot down by an officer, he gives us that sneaky little smirk of his. He knows his position, and he's playing it well.