Kendrick Lamar surprises fans by releasing The Heart Part 5

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Mikail Mirza

Kendrick Lamar’s new song, The Heart Part 5, sets the stage for his new album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers.

Amidst the album drop on Friday, Kendrick Lamar released a surprise song, “The Heart Part 5” as a preview of what’s to come. Fans are ecstatic about the new project, as his significance in the hip-hop industry has been said to have revolutionized music. 

“Apparently, this album was supposed to drop over a year ago, but complications with Lamar’s label delayed the drop. Fans, including me, have been waiting years for his next project to drop. It’s finally here,” said Michael Hu (‘23)

Deep fakes

There were mixed reviews online about the song, many of which praised Lamar for his illustrative and insightful use of deep fakes in his music video. Deep fake technology involves utilizing synthetic media from an existing photo or video which is visually or audibly modified to say or do something that is not real.

“I wasn’t familiar with the abilities of deep fakes, and how real they look. I was surprised when I watched the music video and saw virtual figures of Kanye and others rapping out Kendrick’s song. There’s definitely some meaning behind that course of action, which is likely related to the controversy regarding modern culture towards African Americans,” said Ali Ulusu (‘23)

Kendrick and his media team included deep fakes of African American influencers that have contributed drastically to modern culture, including figures such as Kanye West, Will Smith, and O.J Simpson.

“People have taken deepfakes to the next level. I believe there’s an entire TikTok account that’s dedicated to Tom Cruise deep fakes, and many people believe that he is the real creator behind those videos, when in reality he is not. It seems like deep fakes are just an expansion of what Photoshop does,” said Amir Salehifar (‘23).

Lyrical significance

Some backlash received from the media corresponded to the use of deep fakes to represent these influential figures in correlation with the lyrics of the song. Figures that were displayed in the music video have made public actions that have generated controversy from society. 

“I think it was pretty cool that Kendrick incorporated some of the most famous black influencers of our time, especially ones that have had a major impact on modern culture. I think that speaks to Kendrick’s incredible creativity and passion for African American advocacy through his music,” said Ulusu.

Another notable observation, Lamar’s new song is a sample to singer Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” hit in 1976, an attribute to his appreciation for various genres of music from older projects. The significance lies in the story told behind Gaye’s 1976 classic, which Lamar mimics in his new single. 

“My vague understanding of Kendrick’s tie to Marvin Gaye’s song is that he wants to represent the struggles of being a black figure in our modern culture today, which is what Gaye had advocated for,” said Keaton Lai (‘24)

Lamar’s new album

After taking a 5-year hiatus from music, hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar has unveiled his new album: Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, set to come out on May 13th, 2022. The record will follow up his 2017 hit album “DAMN” which topped Billboard charts within weeks, and was the first album ever to win a Pulitzer prize. 

“Every single album that K-Dot (Kendrick Lamar) has produced has been a hit for me, and I will most definitely be staying up to listen to the entire album, which has been hinted by Kendrick to be a surprise double-album,” said Hu.