Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video — maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.
This week’s video: “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar
Lizzie: Near the end of the day yesterday, we thought we had our idea for this week’s “One Video” all locked in, and then Kendrick Lamar went and released a new video. It’s hard to stay mad at him for disrupting our plans though; “Humble” is distractingly easy to watch, and for my money, might be the best “One Video” video yet.
Kaitlyn: Lizzie, you’re right. “Humble” was an easy and obvious choice for this column. If you’re going to watch only one music video every week, it might as well always be a Kendrick Lamar video. It doesn’t even have to be a new one. He always packs his videos with enough fascinating visuals to reward rewatching. (Think of him as the reverse Terrence Malick.)
This one, directed by Dave Meyers (who has done videos for everyone from Britney Spears to the Notorious B.I.G. to Aerosmith to Rihanna), has Kendrick Lamar as a young pope, Kendrick Lamar as Steve Jobs, Kendrick Lamar doing a short advertisement for Grey Poupon mustard, and uh, this:
What’s special about “Humble”:
Lizzie: You could say it’s special for the sole fact that it’s a Kendrick Lamar music video, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2016’s “God is Gangsta.” While that one featured Lamar sitting alone with a bottle of liquor, questioning his faith and his success, “Humble” sees Lamar donning papal robes and taking that center seat at the Last Supper.
But there’s still an uneasiness to this power, which you can see in the video’s little aesthetic quirks, like the jittery camera angles and that dizzying fisheye view.
an easy choice and an obvious choice
Kaitlyn: “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar is also special because this is his second new song in as many weeks, and also his second song in a row that’s explicitly about how he’s better than everyone else alive at rapping. And that’s a statement which is objectively true. It’s not an uncommon thing to claim in a rap song, but listening to Kendrick Lamar say it feels like watching Bob Dylan finally deign to collect his Nobel Prize. He didn’t need to tell us; he’s just doing it for our comfort.
Speaking of comfort: “Humble” makes reference to hanging out with President Obama, while last week’s “The Heart Part 4” had some words for President Trump. I sort of think Kendrick Lamar’s continued willingness to rap about the United States is the only thing convincing me that this is still a real place and we still live here and there’s still something to say beyond loudly calling it quits.
How long everyone should watch “Humble” by Kendrick Lamar:
Lizzie: Until every time you watch The Young Pope you see Kendrick’s face instead of Jude’s.
Kaitlyn: Until you’re so humbled that you sink to the floor, spread out, face-down, and take a nap for the rest of the day. You can rest easy knowing that a new Kendrick Lamar album will be here in one week.
Bonus One Video: “1 Night” by Mura Masa ft. Charli XCX
Kaitlyn: While this may be hard to believe, Lizzie and I do think about the recurring feature “One Video” basically all week. As she mentioned: before Kendrick Lamar’s big ol’ Thursday night drop, we had a great video picked out to share with you. This video has it all — gym class choreography, young love, steel drums, ramen. Nice. It’s called “1 Night” by Mura Masa and Charli XCX, and it’s embedded below.
This is a special two-video week for “One Video,” and it’s okay. In case you hadn’t noticed, we took last week off from “One Video” due to a shocking dearth of necessary music videos. So: two videos, two weeks, none of your business when the videos came out or how many posts they’re in. It’s still one video a week, and that’s math. We haven’t broken any rules.
Lizzie: Personally, I love the idea of two videos, because I abide by the classic adage, “two videos are better than one.”
“1 Night” is more interested in gym class and having sex than being the figurehead of the Catholic Church, but everyone needs to exercise and try out an athleisure look at least once in their lives. This video pairing is a good reminder that choreographed dancing is a nice chaser to heads on fire.