9 Reasons Why Kendrick Lamar's 'i' Video Makes A Decent Song Great
November 6, 2014 - 2:17 pm
6. It Takes You Back To A Time When Rappers Actually Cared About Their Videos
Remember when hip-hop artists made music videos like this, this, and this? In this Instagram era, it seems like a never-ending cycle of in-da-club/cooking-that-work/making-it-rain-so-twerk clips. Lamar gratefully sidesteps that trend.
5. The Ron Isley Cameo Is Everything
Not sure if the legendary Ron Isley’s appearance in the “i” clip personifies the spirit of the wise, all-knowing guide who leads Kendrick Lamar back to the safety of his loved ones or the man below who literally takes the youngin’ out on a dangerous ride. Whatever the meaning, a supremely suited-and-booted Mr. Big delivers a memorable cameo during the cut’s sneaky epic breakdown, no doubt a heavy nod to the track's Isley Brothers sample. Word to Ernie.
4. Also…George Clinton!
Oh, and don’t blink at the 1:10 mark or else you will miss the iconic Funk master bobbing his head as he reads a book outside the dance hall. Dr. Funkenstein getting some love from K-Dot? The OGs respect real talent when they hear it.
1. The Visuals Make You Really Listen To K-Dot’s Lyrics
Sometimes we need a little push to really dig deep inside an artist's lyrical frame of mind. And the "i" video effortlessly achieves this. In an era when rhymes are constructed as merely the aftermath to a slick punch line, Lamar's wordplay is pretty heavy for the first single of an artist who now carries the burden of following up a platinum major label debut.
Now when you listen to Lamar spit lines like, “I done been through a whole lot/Trial, tribulation, but I know God…Pray that the holy water don’t go dry …” against the somewhat eerie backdrop of the short film, it all clicks. Kendrick Lamar is no preacher. He’s just trying to get through this “ghetto with big guns and picket signs” like the rest of us.
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