Hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar is showing a lot of love to Dallas-Fort Worth: First, with an explosive new music video, and now with a tour stop.
The Grammy-winning lyrical genius dropped the music video for his new song "N95" on Saturday, May 14 — and it featured some familiar Fort Worth landmarks, including the Renzo Piano Pavilion at the Kimbell Art Museum and the Active Pool at the Fort Worth Water Gardens.
According to WFAA, Lamar hired Fort Worth-based Red Productions, which scouted locations to match his ideas for the shoot.
"We had collaborated with someone else on their team before on a previous music video and they remembered how film-friendly Fort Worth was...," owner Red Sanders told WFAA. "They sent over like a mood board, and like ideas of what they wanted shots to look like."
The 34-year-old California-born rapper, who is unabashedly proud of being straight outta Compton (the famed L.A. neighborhood), has gained a loyal following for his critique of current societal trends. “Take off them fabricated streams and them microwave memes — it’s a real world outside” he demands in the politically charged “N95.”
As of Tuesday, May 17, the the music video had almost 10 million views and was the No. 2 trending video on YouTube.
But, forget YouTube.
Local fans will get to see him perform the song live when he brings his just-announced "Big Steppers Tour" to Dallas' American Airlines Center on July 23.
The nationwide trek supports his new album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers (on which "N95" appears). He’ll also make Texas stops at Austin’s new Moody Center on Thursday, July 21, and Houston's Toyota Center on July 22.
Lamar will be supported by Baby Keem on all dates and Tanna Leone on select dates.
General ticket sales start at 12 pm Friday, May 20 via Ticketmaster. Meanwhile, presale tickets will be available to Cash App customers via an exclusive ticket presale, beginning at 10 am Thursday, May 19. Get details here and here.
While YouTube views continue to rack up, "N95" — directed by Lamar and Dave Free — is also receiving worldwide buzz and critical acclaim. Billboard calls it "striking" and "explosive" and describes it thusly:
[It] opens with the phrase “This S— Hard” flashing across the screen in red capital letters. From there, the rapper is seen hovering in a Jesus-like crucifix pose over crashing ocean waves while a young child looks on from the beach. The three-and-a-half minute video alters from color to black-and-white, as Lamar takes on several roles with striking imagery, including a piano player surrounded by beautiful women and a man doing an intense workout on the rooftop of a large building.
In the song, Lamar offers a perfect blend of introspection and aggression using the “N95” mask, popularly used during the COVID-19 pandemic, as a metaphor for fake inauthenticity amongst contemporary American society.