Watch: Kendrick Lamar Has Everybody Talking About His New NSFW Video For ‘BackSeat Freestyle’

Hmmm... What To Say About The Infamous 'Sherane'???
Meet NSFW Sherane... In All Her Glory

Okay. So I’ve been sitting on this video for a few days, trying to think of the best way to present it. As y’all know, I’m a big Kendrick Lamar fan (so is Lady Gaga… even though she acted ridiculous over their collaboration), and his debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city is absolutely one of my faves right now. I was patiently awaiting the release of his video for Poetic Justice (featuring Drake) when this video dropped– BackSeat Freestyle! First off, I think it’s an awesome video. All black and white, shot in Kendrick‘s hometown of Compton as well as Paris, France– the visuals are great. The song is great, the beat is great, the NSFW moments are great! And then there’s Sherane. Très NSFW Sherane. Sigh. What to do with this girl, lol?!?! Peep the video for more and click inside to help me break down the booty-poppin’ moment heard/seen round the world.

Now this is what I lurve about Kendrick Lamar. His works begs for multiple interpretations. When the video first dropped, folks over at the HuffPost lamented over the fact that he’d chosen to make a video for this song first; this more prototypical rap song, with all sorts of rap cliches in it. Kendrick has other more ‘introspective’ songs and I get that people want to hail him as rap music’s Great Savior. Hell, I’ve even seen people write that on his Youtube videos; it’s hilarious.

And I get it! I kinda couldn’t believe Kendrick had Sherane booty popping like that in the video! Agh! So typical, I thought. And a lot of casual viewers have just written the song/video off as garbage. But then I realized, that’s what makes Kendrick an awesome rapper. You sooo want to put him in one particular box, but he won’t allow it. He can only be himself, and Sherane is a character (and presumably a real-life person) that appears all throughout his album. So when he had her in the video like that, his fans went wiiiild! It was really a cool moment, if you’ve listened to his music.

I also thought of Frank Ocean‘s epic video for my favorite song of 2012 (and beyond) Pyramids. Set in a strip club, riddled with big booty, NSFW skrippers, it was in many ways a typical hip-hop video. And then again it wasn’t. Because that’s what a little art-fart (and some very powerful lyrics) can do! I guess I’m saying I see Kendrick and Frank being a little bit ironic in their depiction of women in their videos… but maybe it doesn’t matter in the end, if we wanna get political about it. And we certainly can.

Anyway, I love Kendrick! And I’m very curious to hear what y’all think about this video. Does it strike you as artistic, or standard fare for another rap act? (Don’t you dare say standard fare, Kendrick is brilliant!) LOL :)

 

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  1. Ahila

    Shannon, as a long-time fan of pinkisthenewblog, I just wanted to say that I’m REALLY enjoying your blog posts, especially the ones with an anti-oppression tinge. Keep ‘em coming!

  2. Yeah, I felt a lot of things about this too. On one hand I get that people are disappointed that Kendrick released this because it’s more “stereotypical.” A big part of the reason that I love Kendrick is that he’s NOT like that. But on the other hand… have you HEARD this track? It’s dope and Kendrick’s flow on it is INCREDIBLE.

    And it’s true, you can’t put Kendrick in a box, and he’s not gonna disown parts of himself or his story just because they’re not in line with a certain image.

    So then I started watching this video, and was really into it. And then Sherane appeared. And I definitely had that excited moment… so THAT’S the famous “Sherane”!! But then that scene kept going on and I was like… Kendrick… come on. I thought you were different, so why are you using a woman like this?

    But then I looked at Kendrick who is just standing there, a bit away from Sherane, just staring at the camera. And I thought… you know what? This IS a bit different. Why is he looking at the camera like that? That’s not how rappers usually play it when there’s a woman like Sherane dancing in their videos… they’re either not in the shot or they’re standing right next to her, interacting with her in some way. Kendrick is creating a different dynamic.

    And it kinda reminds me of the juxtaposition in the lyrics of the song. The song says things like “damn I got bitches, wifey girlfriend and mistresses” and “I wish my dick get big as the Eiffel Tower, so I could f*ck the world for 72 hours,” but at the beginning and the end of the song he says “Martin had a dream, Kendrick have a dream!” And the stark contrast between Martin’s dream and the dream Kendrick is talking about in this song makes me think that this song is NOT adult Kendrick’s dream, and he’s forcing us to hear those juvenile sentiments in a completely different light just by slightly changing the dynamic when he brings Martin into it.

    So is that what he’s doing in the scene with Sherane? I don’t know. I’m not sure what statement (if any) he’s trying to make, but he definitely made me think about it differently.

    Or I could be over-thinking it ;)

    • ella, I definitely think this is not your typical rap video, as much as it appears to be on the surface. And I’m glad you brought up the lyrics– especially the ‘Martin had a dream’ bit. Like I said, I think there’s some irony here but I think he’s ultimately saying that he’s alos not completely different from other rappers/men. His aspirations are the same… even if he is aware of how problematic they are.

      It’s absolutely possible that we’re both over-thinking it, lol! But we’re theorists and that’s what we do :) Thanks for joining me in on this one. I’m really looking forward to his next video, so we can do it all over again!

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