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Kendrick Lamar Raps From Atop a Golden Throne In Compton In “King Kunta”

Fans of Dr. Dre’s era-defining The Chronic may have been left unclear about its references to the Compton swap meet (and to a lesser extent, the Slauson swap meet). Rap Genius did not exist in 1992, so those not in the know just had to nod their heads and perhaps infer that these hip-hop-heavy flea markets must be a vital part of social life in Compton, or that Dr. Dre was a secret antiquer. One person the cultural significance of these gatherings was not lost on, however, is Kendrick Lamar, who filmed his latest video at one of them.

Heavy is the head of Lamar, who is currently wearing the crown of expectations that was thrust on him in the months after major label debut good kid, m.A.A.d city became a widely agreed-upon classic. Now that the follow up, To Pimp a Butterfly, is upon us, Lamar is promoting it by solidifying his roots. He filmed a video for the new song “King Kunta” at the Compton Swap Meet, which is something the Dre-affiliated rapper can do with impunity because Lamar is from Compton, and he’s done more to shout out the city than anyone since NWA. (Not counting The Game, because let’s not.)


“King Kunta” finds the rapper surveying his domain, alternately from what I feel slightly uncomfortable referring to as a hoopty, and on a golden throne in a sea of Comptonites. In an act that shows how Lamar is bringing his hometown to the center of the world, the video premiered on Wednesday night, Kanye-style, on the Beats by Dre billboard in Times Square.

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