Kendrick Lamar has opened up about the creative process behind We Cry Together. The short film—attached to the song of the same name from his Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers album—is eligible to be nominated at the 95th annual Academy Awards. The Compton rapper and Dave Free, the co-director of the cinematic visual, shared with Variety how it all came together.
“It challenged me to actually live in what I was writing, and really be there and be present with Taylour [Paige],” the “Sing About Me” rapper remarked. “And I remember us going back and forth and feeling like, damn, I understand this character even more because I’m evoking the energy from it and the passion from it because it’s alive, and it’s direct.”
Free added, “When we went into this project, Kendrick was telling me about how he wanted the room to feel thick, and the room to feel intense.” He continued, “He wanted to really address topics that we, as a society, kind of shy away from.”
K-Dot also explained how We Cry Together gave him more freedom as a person. “Being able to run toward my fear and say the things I want to say and do it in an artistic way — it allowed me to live my truth even deeper,” he expressed.
The short film was co-directed by Lamar, Free, and Jake Schreier. With a 6-minute run-time, We Cry Together brings the troublesome toxicity of a tormented couple to life. The visual was filmed in one take with live vocals in March 2020 ahead of the initial coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Together, Kendrick Lamar and Taylour Paige star in the feature.
“I think beyond being a short film, it’s an experience; you’re like a voyeur in this couple’s life but it also reflects what the world sounds like. Whether it be arguing with your sibling or people on the internet … I don’t think there’s a container for it, it just is,” Paige said of the story.
The song “We Cry Together” is one of 18 tracks on the acclaimed rapper’s May 2022 release Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers. Featuring Blxst, Kodak Black, Summer Walker, Baby Keem, Sampha, and more, the album explores themes of infidelity, lust, identity, fatherhood, addiction, and more.
Watch the We Cry Together short film above and check out Kendrick Lamar’s latest album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers below.