God is gangsta: Kendrick Lamar

Leonardo Turrado


God Is Gangsta is a short film released by Kendrick Lamar in the beginning  of 2016, which blends music videos for u and For Sale?. The seven minute video begins with the song u and shows Kendrick Lamar, with a black eye and  a bottle of liquor.

The content of the song u describes Kendrick Lamar’s feelings towards himself, his regrets, and questions his power as a rapper with a voice. The song starts with Lamar’s repeating screams and with Kendrick telling himself “Loving you is complicated”.

The lyric that can put the whole song in a nutshell is in the second verse where he says “Everyone heard it, multiple shots, corners crying out, You was deserted, where was your antennas again? ……..where was your support that you pretend?”  

He tells himself “you was deserted” because a couple years ago a brother of his friend died after Kendrick said he would be there. (He also speaks of this friend and his death through the voice of his older brother on the song Sing about me)

While this friend was shot, he was on tour and he could not see him in the hospital, so Kendrick Facetimed with him. Lamar alludes to this situation when he says “Facetimed with him instead of a hospital visit, Guess you thought he would recover well”.

“Where was your antennas again?” speaks to the idea that rappers have a voice that is heard and can therefore influence people but he doesn’t feel like that after his friend died.

Finally, he asks “where was the support that you pretend?” because  he was not there when it seemed people needed him most.

All of these negative thoughts about himself and his actions have led him to drinking liquor as he does in the music video where he is alone. He’s “breaking on marble floors” and screaming because his self worth and confidence is at an all time low.

Kendrick Lamar continues to drink his liquor in the dimmed room because of things he can’t seem to control. The video shows him reciting  the powerful verses in the camera and when the songs ends, the video switches to Kendrick getting baptized.

Kendrick is dressed in  white and the melancholy beat of For Sale? is setting in. He comes up from the water and then the video turns to Kendrick Lamar in a Paris nightclub with smoke and strong lights.