Will Smith, Kanye West, Kobe Bryant Deepfaked Into Kendrick Lamar Music Video
By Mikelle Leow, 09 May 2022
Video screenshot via Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar’s latest music video is a star-studded one featuring figures both living and departed. Paradoxically, it’s also a one-rapper show, thanks to deepfake technology.
Lamar stands alone as he raps the lyrics of The Heart Part 5, before his face realistically morphs into the likenesses of Will Smith, Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant, Jussie Smollett, and even OJ Simpson.
Video screenshots via Kendrick Lamar
The rapper makes references to the characters as he shape-shifts—mentioning “friends bipolar” as he becomes West, as well as spitting the lines “and Sam I be watching over you” and “I’m in Argentina wiping tears full of confusion” when he channels Hussle, remembering the murder of the late rapper, who was killed the day Lamar performed at Lollapalooza Argentina. “Sam” is a nod at Samiel Asghedom, Hussle’s brother.
The track, which samples Marvin Gaye’s 1976 I Want You, was released on Sunday, just days ahead of when Lamar’s forthcoming Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers album is scheduled for launch (May 13). Deep Voodoo, the studio of South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, is credited for the deepfake effects.
Digital techniques are evolving as the world adapts to an era of hybrid work. Not only are celebrities licensing their faces to virtually appear in projects, but we are also seeing more holograms that simulate the dearly-departed or transport people from faraway places.
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