Hip-hop and high art have a rich history together – from Fab 5 Freddy’s Soup Can graffiti, to Jay-Z’s Picasso Baby, to the Wu-Tang Clan’s single copy album museum tour. The latest rapper to make the jump from the street to the white cube is Compton’s native son Kendrick Lamar.
Lamar’s debut album good kid, m.A.A.d. city was one of the breakout hits of 2012, signaling the arrival of a major new force in hip-hop. Last year, the rapper enlisted filmmaker Kahlil Joseph to make a short film based around the album. This makes perfect sense, since Lamar conceived of the album in cinematic terms, scrawling “good kid, m.A.A.d. city, a short film by Kendrick Lamar” on the album’s cover. The 14-minute film, simply titled m.A.A.d, premiered last August at the Ace Hotel Theatre in Downtown LA as part of the Sundance NEXT Fest. According to the Source, the film will get a longer run when it will screen at MOCA from March 21 to July 27 of 2015.
“From barbershops to marching bands, from homeboys drinking in the streets to the iconic carpet of shimmering lights, the camera in m.A.A.d sinuously glides through predominantly African American neighborhoods in Los Angeles catching a dizzying array of quotidian moments suffused with creativity, joy, and sadness,” reads the film’s official description. As with the album, the film will borrow heavily from Lamar’s life, including home movie clips from his childhood, and featuring amateur actors from the neighborhood he grew up in. Still, the Fader notes, “the film will truly be a Kahlil/Kendrick joint: autobiographical without sacrificing the enigmatic symbolism that has defined Joseph’s work to this point.”
Correction: This post originally listed LACMA, not MOCA, as the venue where m.A.A.d. will be screening.