Since Kendrick Lamar released one of the surefire contenders for album of the year in fourth studio album DAMN earlier in 2017, its visual accompaniments have been nothing short of spectacular. Humble saw traditional themes of Catholicism (including a #lit Last Supper) intertwined with gritty urban scenes and a torrent of dollar bills. DNA told a more cohesive story, Don Cheadle guest starring in a lie detector interrogation of Lamar. The latest video released today for fourth album track Element is at once as gripping and symbolic as Lamar’s previous two efforts.
Co-directed by Jonas Lindstroem and the Lil Homies (the duo of Lamar and President of TDE Dave Free), the video for Element is far more deliberate and slower-paced than the previous two. The track itself, featuring production from James Blake, Sounwave and Ricci Rivera, was speculated to be a subtle diss at any combination of Drake, Big Sean or Jay Electronica, but it’s physical violence providing the broiling undercurrent to the video with shots featuring brawling gangs, a father instructing his son in boxing and even Kendrick himself throwing hands (and pool cues) at one point. Watch it below:
The video is mostly slow-motion shots beautifully compiled together, adding so much more malice to the more visceral scenes and juxtaposing it with utter tranquility for the more harmonious shots like the small child playing with a bug in the grass and the silent group of nuns and ramping up the menace for the more disturbing images, including a small child aiming a revolver and a bloodied victim coming to on the pavement.
Element is must-see music cinematography, and goes a long way to sitting an artist like Kendrick Lamar on an entirely different level to his contemporaries.
DAMN is out now via Top Dawg Entertainment.