Rapper Kendrick Lamar has recruited actor Don Cheadle to portray a police detective in the video for his new single DNA.
The hip-hop hitmaker debuted the promo online on Tuesday (18Apr17), two days after performing the material live for the first time at California’s Coachella festival, and in the footage, the two stars go at one another as Kendrick is held in a police interrogation room, handcuffed to the table.
“Kendrick Lamar,” Don states, in character, as he walks into the room. “Two first names. What the f**k is up with that?”
“You know what DNA stands for? Dead N**ga Association!” he quips, before taking a seat at the table to put Kendrick through a lie detector test.
However, Don is electrocuted when he moves to turn the machine on, and he soon begins spitting Kendrick’s lyrics, trading verses with the MC, who celebrates his black heritage and culture on the track.
The song and accompanying video was directed by Nabil and Little Homies, the alias Kendrick uses for his work with collaborator Dave Free.
It also features snippets of criticism from conservative news broadcaster Geraldo Rivera, who blasted Lamar’s performance of Alright at the 2015 BET Awards, where he stood on top of a vandalized cop car to highlight the struggles of his fellow African-Americans in light of a string of police brutality cases across the U.S. at the time of the prizegiving.
Fox News anchor Rivera claimed the set sent the “wrong message” to young fans about authorities, remarks Kendrick took issue with, subsequently questioning Rivera’s logic, telling TMZ, “How can you take a song that’s about hope and turn it into hatred? The overall message is ‘We gonna be alright…’ Hip-hop is not the problem…”
DNA isn’t the only track on Kendrick’s new album DAMN. to feature Rivera’s on air criticism – the news clip also featured at the end of the opening track BLOOD, while the Poetic Justice rapper addresses network bosses and Geraldo directly on the third tune, YAH.