Kendrick Lamar morphs into Kanye West, Will Smith and Kobe Bryant in new single: The Heart Part 5

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The Kendrick Lamar drought is officially over.

On Sunday night, the rapper dropped a new single, just days before his fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers, comes out on May 13.

Called The Heart Part 5, the five-minute long music video shows Lamar’s face morphing into that of dead and controversial figures.

The song is the fifth installment of Lamar’s ongoing project The Heart, the first part of which was released in 2010.

Kanye West, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson, Jussie Smollett and Nipsey Hussle – who was killed in 2019 and was a close friend of Lamar’s – all feature in the video for The Heart Part 5, which shows Lamar by himself, rapping in front of a red backdrop as his face changes.

He also appears to attribute lyrics to each of the faces that appear, referencing a “friend’s bipolar” for West and a “bulletproof rover” for Simpson.

Though Lamar has been characteristically coy about the inspiration behind his video, it opens with a cryptic statement: “I am. All of us.”

The quote is attributed to Oklama, a pseudonym of Lamar’s that he also used to announce the name and launch date of his new album in April.

Responding to a fan’s tweet saying, “Kendrick Lamar is officially retired,” Lamar quote-tweeted the article with a link to his website and the announcement of Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

At the time, his statement read: “May the Most High continue to use Top Dawg as a vessel for candid creators. As I continue to pursue my life’s calling. There’s beauty in completion. And always faith in the unknown.”

He also announced that it would be the last album from his current label TDE, or Top Dawg Entertainment.

The Heart Part 5 marks the first solo song for the rapper in nearly four years. Lamar’s last album was DAMN, which was released in 2017 and scooped a host of awards for the rapper, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Though he has teased fans with collaborations, 2022 looks set to be Lamar’s return to the music scene: earlier this year, he made an appearance at the 2022 Super Bowl half time show, appearing alongside Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eminem.