Music Video Running Diary: Kendrick Lamar – “Backseat Freestyle”

Kendrick Lamar is arguably one of the hottest hip-hop artists around today.  Following his incredible 2012 album, good kid, m.A.A.d city, Lamar released a music video for the single “Backseat Freestyle”.  Today we’ll give this video a watch in order to analyze its artistic merits, as well as understand what it means and what artistic message Kendrick is trying to send us.

Here we go!

For the direct link, CLICK HERE.

0:03 Paris, France.  Thanks for that.  I was confused by the Eiffel Tower as to where we were.  I sense some foreshadowing here…

0:06 Wait, Kendrick Lamar, in Paris?!?  This video is already delivering as promised!

0:09 Backseat Freestyle. Check.

0:10  By the way, LOVE the black and white.

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0:14 Wait a minute!  Now we’re in Compton?  I much rather prefer Paris, but I’m keeping an open mind.  Go on, Mr. Lamar.

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0:21 “Kendrick have a DREEEAM!”

0:29 Ladies and gentlemen, the Los Angeles Kings are officially ‘in the building’.

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0:34 “I pray my d*$% get big as the Eiffel Tow” – so THAT’s why the Eiffel Tower was in the opening scene!

0:38 DOMINOES!!

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0:46 Wait, who is this?  Is this baby Kendrick?  I would be able to get some idea if his hat weren’t covering half his face, thus making it utterly impossible to figure out who this is.

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1:06 If, in 20 or so years, one of these four women is my daughter, I’m going to be upset about my parenting abilities.

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1:15 Kendrick’s ability to rap while getting his hair trimmed is absolutely insane.

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1:20 YES! The steps in the side of the head. As someone who has rocked more Steps-In-The-Side-Of-The-Head than I can remember, I can show some love.  Waiting for a lightning bolt next.

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1:35 Damn, this dude is getting WAY high! (Some later research has confirmed that this is, in fact, Kendrick Lamar’s father.  Play on, sir.)

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1:39 EXACTLY.

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1:47 Kendrick’s dad is very upset about his dominoes.

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1:51 It’s been three or four days? Do people really steal their dad’s dominoes and keep them for three or four days at a time? On the other hand, if the dominoes have been missing for three or four days, and this is the first time Papa Lamar is getting upset about it, how much do they really mean to him in the first place?

1:56 Weed gut, anyone?.  Anyone???

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2:03 Oh man, did NOT see this coming!  Kendrick’s dad is from Chicago?  But he’s wearing a Compton hat?!?

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2:04 “Yeah, but you got a Compton hat on though.” – Kendricks mom.  Thank you!  Right?

2:06 “So what?” – Kendrick’s dad.  Okay, I’m officially confused.

2:10 Let’s stop with this complicated nonsense of where everyone is from, which hat everyone is wearing, and why that man is not wearing a shirt.

2:19 Oh my God, this just keeps getting better. Kendrick’s dad channeling his inner James Brown.

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2:30 Ummmmm, what?

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2:33 Apparently her name is ‘Sherane’.

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2:38  This goes on for 25 full seconds.  That’s like 9% of this entire video.  I have no words.  Sweet car though.

2:43 (…………………………)

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2:46 Kendrick with an amazing poker face.  He’s got pocket aces and wants to go all in, but he is doing everything he can to keep a straight face and not give away his hand.

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2:51 (…………………………)

2:55 Phew, and we’re back.

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3:11 Wait, does that woman only have one arm?!?

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3:13 False alarm.

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Totally thought the woman on the left only had one arm.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  Just wondering what story Kendrick would be trying to tell by having a one-armed woman follow him throughout what looks like a department store.  I think Sherane had me rattled there for a minute.

3:17 What is Kendrick contemplating here?  Is he reflecting on the fact that he didn’t act on his impulses during the car scene? Or is he trying to decide which of his four women is truly the one for him?

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3:24 Oh baby, back in Paris!  LET’S DO THIS!

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3:45 Congratulations to Kendrick Lamar for breaking the Guinness World Record for ‘Longest / Greatest Rap Verse from a Song That References the Eiffel Tower as a Phallic Object and is Performed in the Shadow of the Eiffel Tower Itself.’

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3:53 Oh, he’s still going.  World record and counting…

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4:00 The dude holding the pole is probably getting paid Monopoly money for this.  At the very least, I bet he gets a date with ‘Sherane’.

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4:10 Wait, so if all his life he’s wanted money and power, and he wants to f@$% the world for 72 hours, how many days would he need?

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Oh, thanks.  Three days.  I’m glad Kendrick is kind enough to convert his ideal world-romping time of 72 hours into days for the simplicity of the viewers at home who were wondering how many days it would take to f*$% the world for 72 hours.

4:17 In general, how do you think the people of Paris feel about this shot? Kendrick better get to the U.S. Embassy.

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4:28 Now I get it.  Kendrick have a DREAM.  He was never actually in Paris, it was all just a dream.  In that case, who is ‘pole man’?

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4:35 I guess we’re back in Compton.  Well, that was fun.

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