Kendrick Lamar is one of the greatest rappers alive. His music videos have always pushed boundaries with fish-eye lenses and intense wide shots and insane choreography.
But in his newest video, he deepfakes into the faces of OJ Simpson, Jussie Smollett, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant, Kanye West—all on top of his own face, while he raps. Different lyrics respond to different people at the center of the video.
Check out the music video for "The Heart Part 5" below, and let's talk tech after.
Directed by Dave Free and Lamar, the video is standardly choreographed, with the rapper hanging in the right side of the frame—his left—which is either an homage to a heart beating in the human body, or just a smart use of the rule of thirds.
The deepfake aspect is actually credited to the studio Deep Voodoo, which was founded by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. Those guys made the company to expand on their satire abilities. Parker told the New York Times in 2020, “[Deep fake] really is this new form of animation for people like us, who like to construct things on a shot-by-shot level and have control over every single actor and voice. It’s a perfect medium for us.”
With Lamar, the method here is the ability to embody famous and controversial people while still inhabiting his song. He can be evocative of your emotions seamlessly and slip in and out of the faces he needs to make a point. He can dismantle what you think about identity with an AI application that is eerily polished and realistic.
Let us know what you think in the comments.