Kendrick Lamar, one of the modern day’s greatest rappers, recently released his 4th studio album, “DAMN”. Now he’s dropped the video for one standout track from the album, “ELEMENT”. The American rapper is known for his hidden messages and double meanings in his music videos and this one directed by Jonas Lindstroem and The Little Homies (aka Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free) is no different. It’s packed with powerful imagery and pop culture references watch the video below and see what you notice.
Some things you might have missed
At 0:56 in the video you see a man drowning (or being drowned). But looking closer at this guy he looks really similar to Big Sean. It may even be him or at least just represent him as the two have had beef for a while and Kendrick even roasted Big Sean in his video for “Humble”
A vicious cycle
Around 1 minute into the video, we get a scene where Kendrick is standing over another guy and they seem to be fighting the next clip shows and an older man teaching a boy to fight. This part feels as though it’s the little boy is Kendrick and he is having a flashback whilst he fights the fist guy. This could be seen as a reminder of the vicious cycle of violence.
Kendrick Lamar is often compared to 2Pac as one of today’s best rappers and storytellers. There are actually several references to 2Pac in Kendrick’s video, one of the more subtle could be at 2:01 when Kendrick says “Fake my death, go to Cuba, that’s the only option”. Now there are alot of conspiracy theories surrounding 2Pacs death and one of the more popular ones is that he faked his own death and is living in Cuba hence Kendrick’s line in this song.
Another nod to 2Pac is the line “Just say his name and I promise that you’ll see Candyman, Because it’s all in your eyes, most of y’all tell lies” As this line plays the video shows the little boy lining his eye up with the smashed window. Whilst this is a reference to the film “Candyman” implying that if another rapper disses him he’ll destroy their career like Candyman, It could also be a connection to 2Pacs song “Troublesome” and the line “Say my name three times like Candyman Bet I roll on yo’ ass like an avalanche”
Kendrick pays homage to Gordon Parks in his video by recreating some of the famous photographer’s work. Parks was an American photographer and film director, prominent in US photojournalism in the 40’s, especially in issues of civil rights, poverty and black lives movements. In his video, Kendrick recreates shots such as these