Kendrick Lamar is out to show that deepfakes are useful for more than misinformation and creepy porn. The rapper has shared a music video for his “The Heart Part 5” single that revolves exclusively around deepfake celebrity faces superimposed on Kendrick’s body as he spits bars. The clip seamlessly transitions between AI-based visages of famous and occasionally notorious figures in recent Black culture, including Kanye West, OJ Simpson, Will Smith and late icons like Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.
Deep Voodoo, a studio formed by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, was responsible for the deepfake imagery. The video was directed by Kendrick and Dave Free.
As with the lyrics themselves, the overlaid faces serve as commentary on the Black experience. They represent different aspects of a common voice, and appear alongside key verses (such as Kanye for bipolar disorder, and Nipsey for murder). In that sense, Kendrick’s video is a reminder that deepfake technology is just a tool, and can be useful for artistic expression in the right hands.