‘King’s Dead’ Music Video Review

A rapper eating elote in a palm tree, interesting camera movements, Jay Rock in a suit; these are just a few of many interesting aspects that make this new King’s Dead music video alluring. In light of the new Black Panther Soundtrack Album that this track makes an appearance on, one would think that the music video would cater towards the release of the new Marvel film. Alas, the music video takes on the cadences of a normal rap video with little changes of details here and there, but does little to make itself a groundbreaking music video that Kendrick Lamar has had in the past with HUMBLE, Swimming Pools, and Alright.

Women, money and expensive clothing should be expected going into the video, and those are some of the first things you’ll see when Jay Rock has his verse early on in the song. Switching between old school VHS style recordings and tracking camera movements sweeping across the setting of the video does help enhance the understanding of this music video. Respect for the individuality of the director, Dave Free and Jack Begert, and what they try to accomplish here.  They do much to keep the video interesting with the style and quick cuts here and there. Plus, the zoom of the main rapper trio on different skyscrapers is really impressive, as the buildings are lined up perfectly to keep the same sweeping and zooming theme perfectly fixated within the video. And later on, where Kendrick Lamar is within the traffic intersection, is also a high point for the video as Kendrick’s verse is very fitting amongst the speeding cars that whiz by. The direction of the video is good where it needs to be, and so the video was entertaining to say the least.

However, whereas the video is entertaining, the song is quite mediocre and surely will not hold up will with however good the directing of the video is. Jay Rock has only arisen his fans from slumber with his verse that needed much more effort from him. His repetition of, “I gotta go get it,” is not a fitting refrain from him, and his rapping abilities that has been showcased in the past does not show up here regarding keeping a song hyped. It is lazy writing for Jay Rock, but as a fan it should be in the best interest to keep an eye on his future works as Jay Rock apparently was caught off guard in making the song, according to an interview from Jay Rock on Power 106 Los Angeles. In which, Jay Rock mentions that he was recoding in his studio and next door was Kendrick, who invited him to do an impromptu feature. (Video of the interview at the bottom of the post)

Jay Rock was by far not the worst verse on this song, as Future should take that honor. At first, Future and Kendrick do well together in starting the chorus off, but as soon as Future hits the weird sounds he makes in the middle of the song, it does well to put a dumb smile on my face. There is no way to take Future seriously when he starts making those silly noises, and I say silly noises as it doesn’t even come close to rapping. All praise to Future for trying something different, but the fact that in the video he is keeping a straight face only emphasizes the ridiculousness of his feature.

In the end, it would be K-Dot that keeps the team on his pack for this one.  His chorus and his final verse make up for the quality lost in the song, making the song at least structured and something to look forward to towards the end of the song. Nearing the end of the video the viewers can also see Kendrick put up a fight in what appears to be a drug deal, which Kendrick ultimately kills the dealer and for a brief moment the words, “(don’t trap),” blinks in a black background for half a second.  Kendrick’s allusion to living a fast life and enabling the fictitious character that is Killmonger in the new Black Panther film does well to paint a good message in the song.  Overall, the song does not hold up well on its own, and the video can really only be as good as the song. This should not take away from the young directors, though, as there were many promising moments in the video that could be of use in their future.

Jay Rock interview with Power 106 Los Angeles: