Visual Studies, Film Studies (BMC)
Visual Essays on the Music Video Archive of Kendrick Lamar
When I was 15 years old, I fell in love with music videos. I developed my passion for music videos as a site of artistic representation, both for the musician and the video director. Since my first gangster rap video shoot in Brooklyn, I’ve directed and edited over 20 music videos, so I came into this project with the unique perspective of someone who appreciates them as art, while also understanding the behind-the-scenes production value; and in this paper, I also add a more academic and visual studies theoretical lens to how meaning is constructed through the interaction of sound and image.
My thesis project is a pseudo-ethnographic approach to archiving and analyzing four music videos from rapper Kendrick Lamar’s work. Through my analysis, I combine anthropological theory with visual studies to better understand how sound and image work together to construct music videos. Music videos represent a unique site of interest for me because of the ways in which we, as lookers, produce forms of knowledge through our interpretations of visual media. In my work, I’ll be archiving the ways in which Kendrick’s locality, politics, and musical ability intersect between the image and music. In an effort to better understand the impacts of music videos on visual culture, this analysis will hopefully guide a discussion of how we, as viewers, learn to see things – and hopefully, we participate in a reflexive process of trying to define how we see ourselves and our own positions in the world in relation to each other.