Just a few months after releasing his excellent, chart-topping album, DAMN., Kendrick Lamar has shared a new music video for one of the LP’s standout tracks, “ELEMENT.” This is the third DAMN. music video, coming in after the visually-mesmerizing “HUMBLE.” and Don Cheadle-featuring “DNA.”
Directed by Jonas Lindstroem and the Little Homies (AKA Lamar and Dave Free), the video is dark, tense, and arguably his most violent visual yet. The opening scene features a sinking body reaching a lone hand out of the ocean, a burning house, and a blood-covered man on his knees. It’s immediately gripping. Lamar raps with his hair tucked back, sporting a white t-shirt with blood stains and a loose chain with dog tags. In once scene, the man who was previously covered in blood appears to be teaching his son how to fight. Later we see presumably the same man being hit by a furious Lamar. But it isn’t all bleak. There are also visuals of religious nuns and children in school, providing a contrast between war and peace. However, the overall theme of the video is violent and angry, based on the bars, “If I gotta slap a pussy-ass n*gga, I’ma make it look sexy / If I gotta go hard on a bitch, I’ma make it look sexy.”
While K.Dot certainly does not shy away from depicting violence in his music and videos, this “ELEMENT.” video sees him embracing it more than ever before. On To Pimp A Butterfly, Lamar more-or-less became a symbol for peace and wokeness. On the album version of “i,” he stops the song mid-performance to break up a fight, preaching, “How many n*ggas we done lost bro? This, this year alone? Exactly. So we ain’t got time to waste time my n*gga.” On “ELEMENT.,” he is the one taking on the fight. It’s an intriguing contradiction.
As always with the TDE star, there are layers and layers of meaning in this video, and we already know that the more we watch it, the more we’ll uncover. Once you’re dong watching, revisit DAMN. below, and check out Lamar’s upcoming tour dates here.