When Kendrick Lamar dropped “i,” the much-anticipated follow-up single to his 2012 Grammy-nominated, million-plus selling, breakthrough album good kid…m.A.A.d city in September, it was met with a somewhat mixed reaction. While many of the Compton MCs fans praised the lyricist’s strong-willed positivity, others pointed out that K-Dot was taking the easy route by jumping on the music from a well-known ‘70s soul hit—the Isley Brothers’ “Who’s That Lady.”
But even “i’s” most ardent critics will want to click the rewind button after watching the visuals for the doggedly socially conscious statement. The stunning video for “i,” directed by an in-the-zone Alexandre Moors and the Little Homies, is the type of bar-raising clip that delivers new light on a song that was perhaps too deliberate to take in at first listen. Yes, you are welcome to debate whether or not Lamar has just dropped the video of the year (at the very least he’s running a close second to Flying Lotus’ extraordinary clip for the Lamar-featured “Never Catch Me“). As you do that, VIBE presents nine reasons why Kendrick Lamar’s new video elevates his opening salvo to greater heights.—Keith Murphy (@murphdogg29)
9. It’s Shot Like A Prime Spike Lee Film
There’s a smoky, atmospheric feel to “i’s” grounded visuals. Moors brilliantly fills the camera lens with plenty of deeply rich colors that don’t pop off the screen so much. They bubble then explode with controlled aggression. It’s a throwback to the glowing cinematography and unapologetically black energy of Spike Lee’s most gorgeous work Mo Better Blues. Bleek Gilium would dig it.