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Hip Hop Awards 2022: Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free Bring Art to Life

The two recently launched their multi-disciplinary creative collective, pglang.

Grammy Award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free have been friends since childhood and attended high school together. After graduation, Free became a computer technician as he simultaneously helped his friend establish his rap career. The pair have worked on countless projects and directed many videos under The Little Homies moniker.  One of their earlier collaborations—a music video for the emcee’s single “Ignorance is Bliss”—has received over 4 million views on Youtube. Meanwhile, their latest project, a visual for “N95,” has been viewed over 46 million times on YouTube. Their work has captured the attention of veteran rappers and producers in the business, including Dr.Dre, who reached out to work with the two.  Ahead of the BET Hip Hop Awards hosted by rapper Fat Joe, here are some of Kendrick and Dave’s best work.

  • “The Heart Part 5”

    “The Heart Part 5” is Kendrick’s first solo release in nearly five years. The song and its corresponding music were released last May and feature heavy usage of deepfake technology, allowing Kendrick to several controversial industry figures, including Kanye West, O.J. Simpson, Jussie Smollett, Will Smith, and the late Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle. All of them rapped a verse on the song, discussing the varying matters that made them into headlines. The experience was brought in with the help of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone's studio, Deep Voodoo, who were behind the tech used in the visual.

  • “N95”

    “N95” is the lead track from the West Coast emcee’s highly anticipated fifth studio album Mr. Moral and the Big Steppers. The visual is another collaboration between Kendrick and Free released just a few weeks following the music video “The Heart Part 5.” The video begins with a sign that reads "This S—t Hard" in big red capital letters and appears a few more times throughout the video. There are also several references, including Lamar in a Jesus-like crucified pose floating over ocean waves and the rapper doing workouts on the roof of a rundown building, a reference to the 1999 film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai with actor Forest Whitaker.

  • “Ignorance Is Bliss”

    Dave co-directed the video for “Ignorance Is Bliss” along with O.G. Michael Mihail. Although the project is some of Kendrick and Dave’s previous work—released in August 2010—their efforts were enough to garner the attention of West Coast legend Dr.Dre who later reached out to the then-burgeoning rapper to collaborate.

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