Last week, Kendrick Lamar surprised fans when he resurfaced to announce he was releasing a new album called Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.
My first thought? “Oh sh*t, we’re about to get ‘The Heart pt.5!'” And sure enough, just days before the album arrives (5/13), the pride of Compton has come through with a fifth installment to the series he’s upheld his entire career where he’s released an original piece of music ahead of each album in his discography.
(For those who aren’t caught up thus far, you can press play on a mix of the first four volumes that Meka put together back when DAMN was released in 2017. Yeah… it’s been that long.)
Flipping Marvin Gaye’s 1976 classic “I Want You” (which is a whole flex in itself), “The Heart pt.5” was released with a matching visual – directed by Dave Free and Kendrick – that truly brings the song to another level with Kendrick Lamar rapping in front of a red backdrop as his face transforms through a variety of iconic and notorious people within black culture. One minute he’s rapping through the guise of Will Smith and the next he’s Kobe Bryant. He’s Kanye West, he’s OJ Simpson, he’s “all of us.”
The real treasured moment arrives in the third verse, as Kendrick relays an extended rhyme through the point of view of the late Nipsey Hussle. “And Sam, I’ll be watchin’ over you/ Make sure my kids watch all my interviews/ Make sure you live all the dreams we produce/ Keep that genius in your brain on the move,” he raps (referring to Nipsey’s older brother, Sam Asghedom) dawning a deep fake of the fallen Crenshaw legend.
Do yourself a favor and watch the visual below.