While rappers have shot remarkable music videos on beaches, on boats, in mansions and around cartoon houses, architectural landmarks in Fort Worth, Texas, set the stage for a new video by Kendrick Lamar.
The rapper has modern settings for the three-and-a-half-minute video that accompanies “N95”, one of the top songs from Mr. Morals & The Big Steppers, Lamar’s recent album.
In an early scene, Kendrick descends down a long concrete staircase into a cascading fountain.
Those familiar with Dallas-Fort Worth modernism will recognize the backdrop as the wet wall and tranquil pool, part of the Downtown Fort Worth Water Gardens. Designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee in 1974, the 4.5-acre complex pools invite exploration and provide a break from the Texas heat. (The outdoor theme continues with a super-short sunset shot in the lush greenhouse of the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.)
The Kimbell Art Museum also makes an appearance. Lamar raps about personal authenticity and “designer bullshit” while sitting at a piano in a spacious hall. That Hall is the Renzo Piano Pavilion (pictured above), designed by Renzo Piano Building Workshop in 2013 to complement Louis Kahn’s original 1970s museum.
To bring the film to life, Lamar and his team worked with Red Productions, a production company based in Fort Worth, Austin, and Los Angeles, to film on location in both Fort Worth and L. A.
The arty Texas shots” [are] a testament to the fact that we have these awesome locations here and an appreciation of art in Fort Worth, ” Red Sanders, president of Red Productions, told The Dallas Morning News.
The institutions were selected both for their architectural value and recent times compliance, Sanders explains.
Red Productions, Lamar and Lamar’s longtime collaborator Dave Free developed the concept in 2020 when shooting indoors and in public was more of a logistical hassle and safety issue than usual. IMDB names Lamar and Free as co-directors of the video.
As of today, “N95” is the number three trending music video on YouTube and it is Lamar’s most streamed song on Spotify. Although Mr. Moral & The Big Steppers ‘ album sells well, successful releases are not new to the Compton, California-born artist: Lamar has won 14 Grammys and the Pulitzer Prize in music, making him the first rapper to win in that category.