Spot 7 Easter Eggs in Kendrick Lamar's “The Heart Part 5” Video
Kendrick Lamar knows exactly how to create a polarising cultural moment. On May 8, the rapper surprised fans with the “The Heart Part 5” video – a continuation of a series of non-album singles he’s been dropping since 2010 – ahead of his highly anticipated “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers” album. For the newest instalment of the “The Heart” series, Lamar employs a sample of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” as the baseline for his introspective song, which reflects on his life and the lives of other well-known Black men.
Thanks to deepfake technology, Lamar morphs into folks like O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, Kobe Bryant, and Nipsey Hussle in the provocative visual. Like everything that stems from K.dot, “The Heart Part 5” is filled with a ton of deep messages you might miss the first time around. We broke down every major moment in the video that deserves a deeper dive. Ahead, read up on all the Easter eggs in “The Heart Part 5.”
Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” Sample
“The Heart Part 5” uses an easily-identifiable sample of Gaye’s “I Want You” single – the leading track off his 1976 album of the same name. Similar to the classic song, the lyrics from Lamar’s track allude to giving love and wanting it to be reciprocated, too – specifically, from his own people. “(I want, I want, I want, I want) / But I want you to want me too (I want, I want, I want, I want) / I want the hood to want me back (I want, I want, I want, I want),” he raps.
The message behind the sample connects to the deepfake technology Lamar employs to portray the select famous Black celebrities in his video. In reference to the quote Lamar shares at the start of the music video (“I am. All of us.”), he represents these figures while seemingly calling for more compassion to their complex circumstances. In a time where vulnerability in hip-hop, especially among Black men, is not often widely-represented, Lamar’s use of Gaye’s sample alongside these figures calls for more love for those who may need it most.
Another hidden meaning inspired by Gaye’s song is the deep shade of red used as the backdrop for the music video; it’s a nod to the same colour used for Gaye’s “I Want You” album cover.
Kendrick Lamar on the Desensitization of Community Violence
Lamar starts by rhyming about his circumstances. “I come from a generation of pain, where murder is minor / Rebellious and Margielas’ll chip you for designer,” he raps. “Desensitised, I vandalised pain / Covered up and camouflaged / Get used to hearin’ arsenal rain.” Lamar has often touched on life growing up in Compton, CA, and the violence he encountered in his youth. But the remainder of his first verse opens up a dialogue for all his listeners to relate to the feeling of numbness to everyday community violence. “I done seen n*ggas do seventeen, hit the halfway house / Get out and get his brains blown out, lookin’ to buy some weed / Car wash is played out, new GoFundMe accounts’ll proceed / A brand-new victim’ll shatter those dreams, the culture,” he continues.
O.J. Simpson, Kanye West, and Jussie Smollet’s Deepfakes Reflect Their Controversial Situations
Lamar dedicates his second verse on “The Heart Part 5” to speak from the perspectives of Simpson, West, and Smollett, all with histories rife with controversy. First up, the rapper tweaks the opening lines from Jay-Z’s second verse of “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” to speak on Simpson’s celebrity status and how that affected the public scrutiny around his 1995 murder trial that resulted in an acquittal. “I said I’d do this for my culture / To let y’all know what a n***a look like in a bulletproof Rover,” Lamar raps.
Next, the rapper morphs into West while he raps, “Friends bipolar, grab you by your pockets / No option if you froze up, always play the offence.” His lyrics appear to be a reference to West’s mental health struggles and previous claims he’s made about his trust issues. “You feel everyone wants to kill you, you pretty much don’t trust anyone, and they have this moment where they handcuff you, they drug you, they put you on the bed, and they separate you from everyone you know,” West said on David Letterman’s “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” speaking of his involuntary psychiatric hold in 2016. “That’s something that I’m so happy I experienced myself so I can start by changing that moment. When you are in that state, you have to have someone you trust.”
Lastly, Lamar morphs into Smollett during the latter half of his second verse – his lyrics allude to the actor’s recent hate crime trial. “The streets got me f*cked up, y’all can miss me,” Lamar says, nodding to Smollett’s 150-day sentence in jail and 30 months probation for allegedly lying to police about staging a hate crime attack against himself.
The Will Smith Oscars Slap Hint
Lamar’s use of Smith’s deepfake matches up to lyrics that allude to the motive behind the actor slapping Chris Rock at the 2022 Oscars. “In the land where hurt people hurt more people / F*ck callin’ it culture,” he raps as a reference to Smith expressing hurt over Rock’s joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her buzzcut (a result of her hair loss and alopecia). Lamar remains as Smith’s deepfake as he raps part of the song’s chorus: “Look what I done for you (Look what I done for you)” – a reference to how quickly people turned against Smith despite how much he’s contributed to the entertainment industry and pop culture.
The Kobe Bryant Tribute
Around the four-minute mark of “The Heart Part 5” video, Lamar morphs into Bryant. “Reflectin’ on my life and what I done / Paid dues, made rules, change outta love,” he raps as a nod to Bryant’s outstanding NBA achievements and contributions to the sports world – such as The Mamba Sports Academy and Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
The Ode to Nipsey Hussle’s Legacy
The majority of Lamar’s third verse on “The Heart Part 5” is a tribute to Hussle, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his legacy as a community leader. From one West Coast icon to another, Lamar changes in and out of Hussle’s deepfake for the remainder of his music video to address the late rapper’s killer, leave messages to his fans and family, and encapsulate all of what he meant to the world.
“To my brother, to my kids, I’m in Heaven / To my mother, to my sis, I’m in Heaven / To my father, to my wife, I am serious, this is Heaven,” he raps. “To my friends, make sure you countin’ them blessings / To my fans, make sure you make them investments / And to the killer that sped up my demise / I forgive you, just know your soul’s in question / I seen the pain in your pupil when that trigger had squeezed / And though you did me gruesome, I was surely relieved / I completed my mission, wasn’t ready to leave / But fulfilled my days, my Creator was pleased.”
He adds: “I can’t stress how I love y’all / I don’t need to be in flesh just to hug y’all / The memories recollect just because y’all / Celebrate me with respect / The unity we protect is above all.”
Lamar also ends his verse with yet another touching message to Hussle’s fans rapping as his deepfake. “And I can’t blame the hood the day that I was killed / Y’all had to see it, that’s the only way to feel / And though my physical won’t reap the benefits / The energy that carry on emits still / I want you.”
Kendrick Lamar’s Message to Nipsey Hussle’s Brother, Blacc Sam
Hussle and his older brother, Blacc Sam, were close when the rapper was alive. After his 2019 death, Sam vowed to carry on his brother’s legacy, known as “The Marathon Continues” mantra. Lamar leaves a message to him from Hussle’s perspective. “And Sam, I’ll be watchin’ over you / Make sure my kids watch all my interviews / Make sure you live all the dreams we produce / Keep that genius in your brain on the move,” he raps.