I often watch music videos back-to-back only twice: once to criticize the visuals, and a second time to analyze the lyrics. After that, it’s an ears-only experience on Tidal.
But damn! Kendrick Lamar’s latest single “Humble,” which invaded the internet Thursday night, has visuals and lyrics that will keep fans and strangers enchanted for replay after replay after replay after replay — oh, you get the point! I’m addicted.
It’s interesting because I didn’t feel the visuals offered anything too unexpected from the consciousness or metaphorical undertones of his previous music videos, but somehow “Humble” is still refreshing.
I’m not riding his dick, but consider the heightened witticism. The visuals drag the viewer through a series of religious allusions and sociopolitical metaphors — scenes that are immediately contradicted with mediocrity and stereotypes. Which is something that has been done before, but in this case, it was done well.
I say “drag” because the beat alone knocks you out with authentic Kendrick Lamar bravado, and then pulls you in by using a flashing streak of stunning visuals that are seamlessly sewn together through a commitment to centralized framing. You don’t want to go, but you do because the sequences are just so well executed.
Here’s Kendrick dressed like The Pope wearing a beanie while standing under the spotlight of a single church window. And now, here’s Kendrick playing out any basic rapper’s fantasy of counting money in the world’s most lucrative trap house while surrounded with thick-bodied, half-naked women. Turning up with Kendrick’s crew at the Last Super, and then sitting under the beauty salon dryer with a tight, lethargic look on your face.
Dramatic irony coming from an artist who is often criticized for being fake deep? Yaass, I love it! And yes, I know religious symbolism is the most cliche means to shock value! But who are these dudes with burning ropes strapped across their heads?
“Humble” is also one of few video-song parings that creates a collective experience, helping you appreciate both even more. Don’t listen to the song and then pass on the music video.
The bars are blatant in meaning: criticism about society being superficial in its search for altruistic meaning delivered in the most arrogant way possible. Clearly, the video is bringing most of the hype.
Kudos to you, Dave Meyers and The Little Homies. You’ve done it again! It’s a poignant, culturally significant, cohesive and well-executed production.
Ya’ll, this shit is dope.