There’s no Don Cheadle or street sharks and Rihanna, but per usual Kendrick Lamar’s latest video, for the Zacari-assisted “Love,” is stunning to look at. Collaborator Dave Meyers—who also directed Lamar’s “Humble” and “Loyalty”—brings a soft touch to the imagery of one of Damn’s standout tracks: a sunset-kissed beach, a painted woman’s sparkling, metallic body presented in kaleidoscopic form. Interspersed throughout are tableaus of Lamar surrounded by women of color dressed in black, and scenes depicting the rapper’s relationship with a significant other, which is sometimes tender, at other times tense.
Lamar has been private about his real-life relationship with high school sweetheart and fiancé, Whitney Alford, though that hasn’t stopped fans from speculating that the song is explicitly about her. (Perhaps notably—or not—one of the women in the video appears to be pregnant.) That sort of interpretation is less interesting than the song itself—with its introspective take on the twists and turns of a romantic partnership—and how it fits into his oeuvre more broadly, however. “Love” is certainly one of Lamar’s gentler tracks to date—even when he’s comparing his skills in the bedroom to Mike Tyson in the boxing ring—and to see him exploring this side of himself both lyrically and visually is nothing short of fascinating.