Watch Kendrick Lamar Celebrate Compton in 'King Kunta' Video - Rolling Stone
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Watch Kendrick Lamar Celebrate Compton in ‘King Kunta’ Video

Rapper represents his hometown in first ‘To Pimp a Butterfly’ music video

Two weeks after Kendrick Lamar‘s surprise release of To Pimp a Butterfly, the Compton rapper has finally unveiled the music video for the acclaimed album’s first single “King Kunta.” The video premiered on the Beats by Dre billboard in New York’s Times Square as the single was simultaneously broadcast via hip-hop station Hot 97, the Beats by Dre Twitter alerted fans Wednesday.

“King Kunta” was filmed around the rapper’s hometown of Compton, with Lamar performing the track atop the Compton Fashion Center in one scene. In the video, Lamar takes fans on a tour of the streets and the community that are at the heart of both Butterfly and his debut good kid, m.A.A.d. city as the rapper and his fellow natives show off some killer dance moves. 

Other locations include a neighborhood mini-mart and a Westside sideshow. Keeping with the song’s title, plus his nickname “King Kendrick” and his self-appointment as the “King of New York,” Lamar sits atop a gold throne in the driveway of his Compton home.

In late March, behind-the-scenes footage from Lamar’s Compton video shoot emerged:

Director X – who previously helmed videos for Nicki Minaj, Drake as well as Iggy Azalea and Charli XCX’s “Fancy” –  filmed the To Pimp a Butterfly‘s first official music video; Lamar’s Grammy-winning “i” and its music video were different than the version that ultimately landed on Butterfly. The album was also preceded by an audio-only YouTube of “The Blacker the Berry.”

The music of Funkadelic and blaxploitation films inspired the funky “King Kunta,” which takes its name from the protagonist from Alex Haley’s slavery drama Roots. “It’s just [Lamar] expressing how he’s feeling at the moment,” Lamar’s longtime producer Mark “Sounwave” Spears told Rolling Stone of the track. “And right now, he’s mad.”

In This Article: Kendrick Lamar


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