I just watched Kendrick Lamar’s new video (I know, please give me the late pass), and I must say if nothing else, it’s effective. “B*tch Don’t Kill My Vibe” was one of my favorite songs on Lamar’s amazing major label debut, so I wanted to check out the video sans expectations.
At first I thought it was just your garden variety somber, great looking clip. I noticed he was in all white, then I noticed he was in a church. Then I noticed he was at a funeral. And then it got really interesting. Lamar leaves the church after paying his respects to a closed casket, goes into a limo alone, raps a little, and then, all of a sudden….
There’s a raucous party. The vibe hasn’t been killed. Or has it? Is it a vibe that’s been killed or a person? Is this a last celebration for a fallen comrade? What (or whom) are we mourning here? As the clip progresses it gets better, and very funny at times. Comedian Mike Epps makes a hilarious cameo wherein he baptizes Lamar in a “bathtub full of liquor”, nodding to the “Swimming Pools (Drank)” and “Poetic Justice” videos.
Anyone who is familiar with Lamar’s music and especially his “Good Kid, Maad City” album know there is a prevalent theme of death in his work. Even though Lamar isn’t the first artist to employ a funeral backdrop for his video, it is very cleverly done. In the black community, many times funerals are called “celebrations”, and I appreciated it in the video. I could have been happy with it ending with these themes in place, but, right at the end, Lamar leaves us with the text..
“Death To Molly”.
Wow. Spark the debate. So what are we mourning here? Has the vibe been killed by Molly? Is the MDMA fad over? If nothing else, having someone as popular as Lamar even hint at a popular drug needing to die? That’s a step in the right direction. Kudos for this video. Very timely and thought-provoking.
Kendrick Lamar plays Lollapalooza in Chicago this Summer.