Kendrick Lamar is best known for his skills on the mic, so a film debut is surprising, but welcome news. One of the top rappers in today’s hip-hop arena, his massively successful Good Kid, M.A.A.D City album of 2012 solidified his presence as an immensely talented conscious rapper. His second studio album’s album cover billed it as a “short film by Kendrick Lamar”, and followed the story of Lamar’s teenage life in the drug-infested and gang-ridden streets of his hometown in Compton, California. The “short film” aspect of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City may have been a hint at future projects way back in 2012, because Lamar is set to premier a film at Sundance Film Festival simply titled m.A.A.d. The short film is inspired by Kendrick’s debut album, will be about 14 minutes long, and highlights performances by Kamar Bailey, Shenelle Bullock, Bijan Faby, Chris Lewis, Rykeis Tyson, and Amir Zimmerman.
The Sundance Film Festival website proclaims: “Commissioned by Kendrick Lamar for his good kid, m.A.A.d city concert tour, director Kahlil Joseph creates a kaleidoscope of storylines and ideas that defy typical categorization to explore new languages and new forms.” Director Kahlil Joseph also photographed Lamar’s South Central neighborhood for the stark montages featured in Lamar’s concerts while he was on tour. Joseph will speak at a panel discussion following the film screening.
m.A.A.d. will premiere on August 9 at the Ace Hotel Downtown at Sundance’s NEXT Festival in Los Angeles. If you’re interested in attending you can purchase tickets to the festival here. The NEXT festival is a showcase that celebrates the marriage of film and music, a self described “new breed of festival experience.” Each film marked by unfettered creativity will be partnered with music performance or a speaking panel of filmmakers with those who inspired them. Tinashe is also expected to perform following a screening of Sundance winner Imperial Dreams. Other acts include film-music parings for Warpaint and Father John Misty of Fleet Foxes.