"DNA." lays out the cards for DAMN. like none other on Kendrick Lamar's new record: "I got millions, I got riches, buildin' in my DNA / I got dark, I got evil, that rot inside my DNA." Dude contains it all, claims it all and doesn't have time for the single-minded platitudes people throw down upon him, heard in the album's second Fox News sample.
Nabil Elderkin — who's made videos for Frank Ocean, Kanye West, FKA Twigs and Bon Iver — co-directs "DNA." with "the little homies." In it, the actor Don Cheadle grills Lamar in an interrogation room. But once Cheadle hits the power on a lie detector test, he's electrified and raps Lamar's proclamation right back to his stone-cold face. It's intense (and a note that Don Cheadle should really be in more music videos).
The video's second chapter, over the song's final-minute swing for the fences, flies in the face of Geraldo Rivera's statement that "hip-hop has done more damage to young African-Americans than racism in recent years." Lamar parties, he flaunts a room full of Grammy awards, living his life that is not any one thing — and making the best damn music out there while doing so.
DAMN. is available now.