The Heart Part 5

2022 promotional single by Kendrick Lamar

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"The Heart Part 5"
Kendrick Lamar - The Heart Part 5.jpg
Promotional single by Kendrick Lamar
ReleasedMay 8, 2022 (2022-05-08)
Genre
Length5:32
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Beach Noise

"The Heart Part 5" is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was surprise released on May 8, 2022, through pgLang, Top Dawg Entertainment, Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records, as a promotional single to help anticipate the release for Lamar's fifth studio album Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.[1] It is the fifth part in his "The Heart" song series following "The Heart Part 4" in 2017, and his first solo release in over four years.[2]

Background

On August 20, 2021, Kendrick Lamar revealed through a blog post on his website that he was in the process of producing his upcoming fifth studio album; his final project under Top Dawg.[3] He shared the album's name and release date through a pgLang-headed letter on April 18, 2022.[4] Following the announcement, his website was updated with a new page entitled "The Heart", which contained 399 empty computer folders.[5] News of the song's release was accidentally leaked by music streaming service Spotify, who teased the song through a description of Lamar's playlists before being changed.[6]

Lyrics and composition

"The Heart Part 5" is a conscious hip hop record driven by soul and jazz influences.[7] Lamar wrote the song alongside its producers Johnny Kosich, Matt Schaeffer and Jake Kosich (known collectively as Beach Noise).[8] Leon Ware and Arthur "T-Boy" Ross received posthumous songwriting credits for the interpolation of the 1976 single "I Want You", as performed by Marvin Gaye.[9]

Lyrically, "The Heart Part 5" follows in the footsteps of its previous parts, and Lamar's third studio album To Pimp a Butterfly (2015), by offering social commentary on the climate of African-American culture and institutionalized discrimination. The song also delves into personal themes of empathy, death, and depression from different perspectives.[10][11]

Music video

The music video for "The Heart Part 5" uses deepfake technology.

The music video for "The Heart Part 5", directed by Lamar and Dave Free, was released alongside the song on May 8, 2022.[12] In the video, Lamar performs the song against a red wall, while using deepfake technology to transform himself into six modern Black American figures: in order, they are retired football player and convicted felon O. J. Simpson, rapper Kanye West, actors Jussie Smollett and Will Smith, the late basketball player Kobe Bryant, and the late rapper Nipsey Hussle. The deepfakes were made by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's studio Deep Voodoo.[13]

Each of the six deepfakes perform a verse from the song that reflects on their own perspectives.[14] Simpson's verse, which addresses itself as being done "for the culture", mentions a "bulletproof rover" as a reference to his 1994 Ford Bronco chase.[15] West's verse reflects on his battle with bipolar disorder, and how often he has been taken advantage of.[16] Smollett's verse reflects on the hypocrisy surrounding the media coverage of his 2019 hate crime hoax and subsequent arrest.[17] Smith's verse reflects on the backlash he has received following his slapping incident with Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards.[18] After a moment of silence from Lamar, Bryant's verse reflects on being an influential figure through hard work and dedication.[19] Hussle's verse, the longest in the video, takes the form of a soliloquy in the aftermath of his 2019 murder, saying that he forgives his killer but that his "soul's in question".[20]

Critical reception

"The Heart Part 5" was met with widespread critical acclaim, with Lamar's tribute to Hussle, a lifelong friend, receiving universal praise amongst critics and his peers.[21][22] Hussle's longtime partner, actress Lauren London, described the music video as "powerful art."[23] Pitchfork crowned the song with its "Best New Track" honor, with Dylan Green writing, "The convincingness of the deepfakes is mixed, to say the least, but they amplify Lamar's words and serve to visualize a complicated lineage through Blackness and the pressures of celebrity. [...] Perspective constantly changes the playing field of life and Lamar is preparing us for what feels like his biggest shift yet."[24]

In a five-star review, Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian called the song "a heartstopping call for uplifted humanity", adding that Lamar's "flow is as charged and acute as ever as he lays out a manifesto of radical empathy." Highlighting Lamar's "own love for his community", Beaumont-Thomas praised how he "divines" Marvin Gaye's "innate social conscience, changing the title line from one of lust to one of hope, using the urgent disco rhythm to perfectly impart the seriousness of his feeling."[25] Kyann-Sian Williams of NME writes that "In the final version of his form (he's said this will be his last album on the Top Dawg Entertainment label), Lamar – or Oklama – is taking ownership of his elder role in the rap world. He sees his influence and now wants to be a voice of reason and morality, not just a coveted rap star."[26]

Personnel

Adapted from Jaxtsa.[27]

Musicians

  • Kendrick Lamar – vocals
  • Bekon – violin
  • Johnny Kosich (Beach Noise) – percussion
  • Kyle Miller (Aeris Roves) – violin, cello
  • Matt Schaeffer (Beach Noise) – guitar, mellotron, Rhodes, bass, drums

Technical

  • James Hunt – recording engineer
  • Johnathan Turner – recording engineer
  • Johnny Kosich (Beach Noise) – recording engineer, mixer
  • Matt Schaeffer (Beach Noise) – recording engineer, mixer
  • Ray Charles Brown – recording engineer
  • Rob Bisel – recording engineer
  • Kaushlesh "Garry" Purohit – assistant recording engineer
  • Marco Echeverria – assistant recording engineer
  • Sedrick Moore II – assistant recording engineer
  • Thomas Warren – assistant recording engineer
  • Michelle Mancini – mastering

Charts

Chart performance for "The Heart Part 5"
Chart (2022) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA)[28] 31
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[29] 18
Global 200 (Billboard)[30] 25
Iceland (Plötutíðindi)[31] 27
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 18
Lithuania (AGATA)[33] 15
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[34] 83
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[35] 15
Portugal (AFP)[36] 45
South Africa (RISA)[37] 1
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[38] 6
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[39] 50
UK Singles (OCC)[40] 24
UK R&B (OCC)[41] 10
US Billboard Hot 100[42] 15
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[43] 5

References

  1. ^ Iasimone, Ashley (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Drops New Song 'The Heart Part 5': Watch the Video". Billboard. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  2. ^ Hussey, Allison; Minsker, Evan (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Shares New Song "The Heart Part 5," Deepfakes Kanye, OJ, Will Smith in Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  3. ^ Blistein, Jon (August 20, 2021). "Kendrick Lamar Teases 'Final TDE Album' in New Message to Fans". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  4. ^ "Kendrick Lamar announces new album, 'Mr Morale & The Big Steppers'". NME. April 18, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  5. ^ Bustard, Andy (April 20, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Sparks 'The Heart Part 5' Excitement As New Album Rollout Continues". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  6. ^ "Spotify accidentally leaks Kendrick Lamar album information early". Tone Deaf. May 8, 2022. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  7. ^ Aswad, Jem (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Drops New Song, 'The Heart Part 5' — Video Features the Faces of Kanye West, Will Smith, O.J. Simpson, Others Photoshopped Over His". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  8. ^ ""The Heart Part 5" official audio and credits". YouTube. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  9. ^ "Watch Kendrick Lamar morph into O.J., Kanye, Kobe, Nipsey Hussle in new video". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  10. ^ "Breaking Down the Symbolism and Meaning in Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart Part 5"". Complex. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  11. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's new song 'The Heart Part 5' is an emotive glimpse into his latest form, Oklama". NME. May 9, 2022. Retrieved May 10, 2022.
  12. ^ Owoseje, Toyin. "Kendrick Lamar's new video features Kanye and Will Smith deepfakes". CNN. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  13. ^ Aswad, Jem (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar's 'The Heart Part 5' Video Kicks Off Partnership With 'South Park' Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone". Variety. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  14. ^ Wood, Mikael (May 9, 2022). "Watch Kendrick Lamar morph into O.J., Kanye, Kobe, Nipsey Hussle in new video". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 9, 2022.
  15. ^ Adams, Cydney (June 17, 2016). "June 17, 1994: O.J. Simpson white bronco chase mesmerizes nation". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  16. ^ Fitzgerald, Kiana (March 1, 2022). "Bipolar disorder is complicated. So is how we talk about Ye". Vox. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  17. ^ Jacobs, Julia; Chiarito, Robert (March 11, 2022). "Jussie Smollett Sentenced to Jail for False Report of a Hate Crime". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  18. ^ Donnelly, Matt (March 28, 2022). "Why Will Smith Wasn't Ejected From the Oscars After Chris Rock Slap". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  19. ^ "Breaking Down the Symbolism and Meaning in Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart Part 5"". Complex. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  20. ^ Aswad, Jem (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar Drops New Song, 'The Heart Part 5' — Video Features the Faces of Kanye West, Will Smith, O.J. Simpson, Others Photoshopped Over His". Variety. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  21. ^ "LeBron James, Hit-Boy, Denzel Curry, and More React to Kendrick Lamar's "The Heart Part 5"". Complex. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  22. ^ Kenner, Rob (May 10, 2022). "How Kendrick Lamar and Nipsey Hussle's Yearslong Friendship Informed "The Heart Part 5"". GQ. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  23. ^ ""The Heart Part 5": Lauren London Gives Stamp Of Approval To Kendrick Lamar's Nipsey Hussle Tribute". BET. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  24. ^ Green, Dylan (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar: "The Heart Part 5"". Pitchfork. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  25. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar: The Heart Part 5 review – a heartstopping call for uplifted humanity". the Guardian. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  26. ^ Williams, Kyann-Sian (May 9, 2022). "Kendrick Lamar's new song 'The Heart Part 5' is an emotive glimpse into his latest form, Oklama". NME. Retrieved May 11, 2022.
  27. ^ "The Heart Part 5". jaxsta.com. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  28. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  29. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  30. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Global 200)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  31. ^ "Tónlistinn – Lög" [The Music – Songs] (in Icelandic). Plötutíðindi. Archived from the original on May 20, 2022. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  32. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  33. ^ "2022 19-os savaitės klausomiausi (Top 100)" (in Lithuanian). AGATA. May 13, 2022. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  34. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  35. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  36. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  37. ^ "Local & International Streaming Chart Top 100 Week 19-2022". The Official South African Charts. Recording Industry of South Africa. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  38. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 19". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  39. ^ "Kendrick Lamar – The Heart Part 5". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved May 15, 2022.
  40. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  41. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  42. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
  43. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved May 17, 2022.
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