Kendrick Lamar wrapped 2015 with a fiery short film called God Is Gangsta, featuring his songs u and For Sale? (Interlude). The seven minute video depicts Lamar in various states of agitation: drinking alone, exhaling underwater, dancing with scantily clad women under fluorescent red lights, and then finally walking away from it all.
The two songs are the latest to be promoted from Lamar’s monster hit To Pimp a Butterfly, the politically-charged fusion album that seems to be the gift that keeps on giving.
God Is Gangsta is split into two parts, dividing up the two songs. A maddened Lamar raps and drinks in a room during u, an emotion-filled song delving into his failures. Then the film segues into the temptation-filled track For Sale? and depicts a trippy baptism scene blended with the more familiar hip-hop theme of dancing with scantily clad women in a nightclub. The latter half of the video was shot in David Lynch’s club in Paris called Silencio, according to Pitchfork.
Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly has solidified his position as one of contemporary hip hop’s finest artists. The record topped Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Pitchfork’s 2015 album of the year lists and was a No. 1 record in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Lamar received 11 Grammy nominations on the strength of To Pimp a Butterfly, including Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Rap Album.
“I wanted [To Pimp A Butterfly] to be that body of work again the same way I did with my first record,” he told the New York Times in a year-end interview. “This time around, I wanted to make sure that not only were the lyrics appreciated or the beats, but the musicianship, as far as my writing skills, my arrangements.”
He explained further that creating such a politically-charged record was simply a reflection of what was happening in the world and where he was at mentally. “And this is where we’re at. When you look at other artists doing the same thing, it’s of the times. And it’s much needed.”