Kendrick Lamar’s fifth album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers has been hailed by many as one of, if not the best album of the year. The album is nominated for Album Of The Year, and Rap Album Of The Year at next year’s Grammy Awards. Since its release, K.Dot has released visuals for 3 of the songs, including a short film for the Alchemist-produced “We Cry Together,” featuring Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom actress Taylour Paige.
In a new interview with Variety, Kendrick and manager Dave Free spoke about his aspirations for the short film, and the inspiration behind it.
“So in writing, I say, ‘Okay, how can I make this feel personal, but also holding up a mirror as a collective concept, rather than just a personal concept,’” K. Dot said. “I wanted to bring that drama because, at the end of the day, whether we like it or not — the good, the bad and the ugly, the pros and cons — that’s what makes everything evolve.”
Kendrick added that filming the short challenged him to “live in what I [he] was writing.”
“It challenged me to actually live in what I was writing, and really be there and be present with Taylour [Paige],” Kendrick added. “And I remember us going back and forth and feeling like, damn, I understand this character even more because I’m evoking the energy from it and the passion from it because it’s alive, and it’s direct.”
Dave Free chimed in, adding that Kendrick told him that he wanted the atmosphere in the room to feel “thick” and “intense,” and really wanted to address topics that society tends to brush under the rug.
“When we went into this project, Kendrick was telling me about how he wanted the room to feel thick, and the room to feel intense,” he said. “He wanted to really address topics that we, as a society, kind of shy away from.”
“Ultimately, the main thing is people that we can actually identify with,” Kendrick added. “Not only from our culture but from cultures all around the world. So the environment plays a huge role, and that’s something we definitely wanted to bring to life along with the script. It was just as important as the individuals that were actually spewing out the insults.”
Oscar shortlists voting will take place from Dec. 12-15. The 10 films that will advance to nomination voting will be named on Dec. 21, with the Oscar nominations announcement taking place on Jan. 24.