On Sunday, hip-hop artist Kendrick Lamar won six awards at the MTV Video Music Awards, including the Video Of The Year for HUMBLE from his album DAMN. Behind the visual grammar of HUMBLE is the genius of a directorial collaboration between The Little Homies and Dave Meyers, and song-writer Dave Free.
Set to the hypnotic beat of rapper Mike Will Made-It, Lamar voices the African-American experience for an entire generation. He thematically dissects the inherent dichotomy in the battle between good and evil, dressed in black and white, in turns real and fake, in humility and arrogance, representing sin and salvation.
Religious imagery (Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” Pentecostal flames) is a recurring theme in all the videos for his multi-platinum record DAMN. With stunning camera techniques, the video also reflects Lamar’s own struggle, and his response to, his arrogance.
“Soprano C, we like to keep it on a high note,” he sings. “It levels to it, you and I know, b*tch be humble.” In an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, he explained the song’s overarching command to be humble: “All I could think of was The Symphony and the earliest moments of hip-hop, where it’s complex simplicity, but it’s also somebody making moves,” he said. “That beat feels like my generation, right now. The first thing that came to my head was, ‘Be humble.’”
Watch his performance at the MTV Video Music Awards below: