Watch Kendrick Lamar Put On For His City—And Tame an Owl—in the Video For “Not Like Us”

Kendrick Lamar’s victory lap continues. A little over a week after footage surfaced of him filming a music video for “Not Like Us” around different locations in his native Compton, we finally have the finished visual and it does not disappoint.

The video also comes shortly after his Pop Out concert in Inglewood, where he brought out dozens of LA hometown heroes—like Russell Westbrook and DeMar DeRozan, his TDE Black Hippy crew, rappers both locally beloved and globally known, factions from street cliques that would otherwise be at war with each other, and hip-hop adjacents like Steve Lacy—for a show of unity and neighborhood pride. The “Not Like Us” video follows in that spirit, with many of those same people popping up for cameos, including Tommy the Clown (who got a lot of attention online during his appearance at the Pop Out) as well as locations like Tam’s Burgers (the beloved spot he shouts as a go-to hangout on “Element”), and the Compton courthouse, a local landmark where he filmed one of his older videos way back when. Much like the Pop Out, “Not Like Us”—despite its origin as the apparent knockout blow in Kendrick’s back-and-forth with Drake—quickly became bigger than beef. It’s a Song of the Summer contender, and a new LA anthem, a sentiment Kendrick and director Dave Free lean all the way into.

And yet, in no way were the two pgLang co-founders going to just gloss over that it is still, first and foremost, a diss track. The visual is heavy on owl motifs, with Kendrick beating a piñata shaped like an owl and later, flexing with a live owl in a cage. The owl, of course, is Drake’s de facto mascot and the symbol of his OVO label and crew, whom Kendrick refers to as “birds” on the track (which, for the uninitiated, has a much less wavy ornithological connotation in hip-hop culture).

The video also continues Kendrick’s trend of refuting Drake’s scandalous claims about him in slightly subtler fashion than the strategy his opponent has taken. On his song “The Heart Part 6,” Drake responded to Kendrick’s accusations of being a sexual predator with lines like “this Epstein angle was the shit I expected” and “If I was fucking young girls, I promise I’d have been arrested/I’m way too famous for this shit you just suggested,” outright denials that many rap fans saw as a win for Kendrick for putting Drake on the defensive. By contrast, Kendrick addressed Drake’s allegation on “Family Matters” that he physically abused his partner Whitney with lines like “put the wrong label on me”—”label” as in the label of abuser— “I’mma get him dropped,” and “The family matter and the truth of the matter/It was God’s plan to show y’all the liar.”

In “Not Like Us,” Kendrick’s family is front and center—note Kendrick standing behind his son Enoch, whom Drake has insinuated isn’t biologically his. And if their appearance, plus some strategic blocking, wasn’t enough to get the point across, Whitney steps out and hits a mean cripwalk to Mustard’s beat. (Speaking of Mustard, don’t look past him wearing a Toronto Blue Jays hat.) Drake’s diss tracks tried to paint a picture of a family in disarray; the scenes here (with Dave behind the lens) are intended to portray unity. The same can be said for TDE label head Top Dawg’s appearance, another relationship of Kendrick’s that Drake claimed was strained.

Now that the video is finally out and sure to extend the song’s lifespan that much longer, will this reignite the beef? Or will Drake just respond with a slick IG story? Is there a new Kendrick Lamar album on the horizon? Only time will tell, until then cue the video and do your best Whitney-walk to the reigning Song of the Summer.

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