To me, Kendrick Lamar is the greatest rapper of our generation. His music is different unlike other rappers who rap about money, fame, etc. In 2017, Lamar released, what seems to be his best album, “Damn”. The album tackles on issues that the African American race face such as police brutality and discrimination. One of the hit songs in the album “DNA” shows us how DNA is powerful. Kendrick soon released the music video a couple months after which is racking up over 200 million views.
The video starts off with Kendrick being cuffed to a lie detector inside what seems to be an interrogation room. A couple seconds later, famous actor Don Cheadle walks in to interrogate Kendrick. He then states, “You know what D.N.A. stands for? Dead Nigger Association.” Cheadle’s interpretation of the acronym DNA speculates on how society target black people. This relates to society issues like police brutality and discriminating African Americans. In the next scene, Cheadle turns on the lie detector and seems to be possessed. Once the lie detector was turned on, we can see it going crazy without Kendrick even saying a word. This can maybe represent African Americans in real life society being accused of anything without even getting a chance to say anything. Cheadle then returns back to normal but he looks like a whole different person. He then starts to rap the first verse and Kendrick soon joins in. Kendrick raps in one verse “I know murder, conviction, burners, boosters, burglars, ballers, dead, redemption, scholars, father dead with kids.” This shows us that Kendrick knows people of his race that are murderers, criminals, or been murdered. This verse tells us how the world views the African Americans in society.
They continue to rap in sync since the lie detector has now linked them together. Their, hence the title,“DNA” has been connected. Cheadle and Kendrick are both connected by their past experiences since it is shown that they are rapping as if they were one person. Kendrick wraps up the first verse with “Salute the truth, when the prophet say”. Cheadle then sees the truth which leads to him setting Kendrick free from the handcuffs. He is then greeted by a group which looks to be Kendrick’s group of friends. The second verse then begins with Kendrick stating “You mothafuckas can’t tell me nothin. I’d rather die than listen to you.” As he says the second line, it shows a priest yelling at Kendrick while he is lying in a casket. This can mean and be a message to his race that they shouldn’t care what society says about them. The verse ends with “Sex, money, murder our DNA”. Kendrick wraps up with this showing us that society views his race with sex, money, and murder built inside their mind and DNA.
Kendrick’s visuals in the music video shows us the meaning behind his lyrics very well. Kendrick shows us throughout the video that his race is being portrayed as the villains in society. Kendrick told us an amazing message through this video which I would have never found out without this assignment. Being able to analyze a video this deeply really shows us the meaning in the visuals and lyrics.
Link to DNA music video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NLZRYQMLDW4