Every so often the universe seems to align - or at least the internet. This week we posted stories on both unreleased music videos and the incredible amount of music Kendrick Lamar has stashed away, and then today a short film Kendrick Lamar allegedly shot for GKMC is making the rounds on the internet after a thread blew up on Reddit. The only problem is that it's not actually a Kendrick Lamar short film, not really.
During the lead-up to GKMC director Khalil Joseph approached Kendrick about making some videos, even writing three video treatments, but they were all rejected. But when Kendrick was slated to perform on Kanye West’s Yeezus tour he reached back out to Joseph and the result was a short video that played onstage during Kendrick's performance. However, in the course of making that video for the performance Joseph shot hours of footage and he spent the last two years turning it into a 15-minute short film he titled M.a.a.D. City that, to the best of my knowledge, was only ever shown during an exhibit at L.A.'s MOCA art museum in 2015. (It briefly surfaced on the site of cinematographer Chayse Irvin who shot the film with Joseph, hence the Reddit thread, but it's since been removed.)
According to The Verge, who covered the video's release at the art museum and did the original reporting I'm drawing from here:
m.A.A.d. is gorgeous but unsettling, meant to reflect the underlying instability that threatens erupt any day or moment in the infamous city. His camera gracefully travels through a public pool where teenagers sun themselves on hot concrete, to a house party where a baby sleeps on a red sheet under a yellow blanket. Joseph wanders across a hair salon's worn linoleum floor and lingers on a close-up of a young man's heavily tattooed face. There are eruptions of gunfire and flashes of a horse racing through the nighttime streets. In old camcorder footage time-stamped March 23rd, 1992 — about a month before the Rodney King verdict — Lamar's father is shown in the street with his friends, goofily posing with his pistol grip pump shotgun. Then there are the moments of magical realism, like when the bodies of young men hang like bats from street lamps and storefronts. At one point a car pulls up for a drive-by casket viewing. - Kahlil Joseph's m.A.A.d. gives new visual life to Kendrick Lamar's breakout album
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So yes, there is a short film that was shot with Kendrick Lamar that also uses music from GKMC, but no, it's not a Kendrick Lamar GKMC short film, not really, not in the sense that Kendrick was involved in making it or intended on ever releasing it.
UPDATE: Because the internet, Joseph's short film just got uploaded to YouTube, but expect it to be removed any minute now. Watch while you can.
I've reached out to both Irvin and Joseph (who's a bit notorious for declining interviews) and will of course update this piece if I hear from them, but in the meantime the only story is that there's no story. Although I would still love to see that video, and it gives me another opportunity to point out that the short film Jospeh made with Flying Lotus for "When the Quiet Comes" continues to be one of the most powerful videos I've ever seen period. Enjoy.