Kendrick Lamar & Rihanna’s 'LOYALTY.' is an Afrofuturistic Love Story on Devotion and Invincibility

“LOYALTY.” is sprinkled with afrofuturistic ideas, which is both delightful and surprising as it blossoms into a sci-fi love story.

“Loyalty” landed just in time for OkayAfrica’s conclusion of our month-long exploration of afrofuturism.

In this dark love story, Rihanna and Kendrick Lamar are untouchable lovers who frolic about in a city of lights, colossal buildings and devious haters.

Kendrick, a power figure who moves swiftly through the night, is surrounded by sensual dancers as he sits blindfolded on his throne. Here, we are foreshadowed to his possible fate: a woman plunges a dagger towards his chest, but we don’t see her succeed in his assassination.

Rihanna and Kendrick rap in a tunnel, surrounded by opponents who try to attack, but are instead engulfed by the quicksand-asphalt beneath their feet. Riri, as playful as she wanna be, loves to toy with the idea that Kendrick will always have her back. She spits her gum at a man in his car, only for Kendrick to brawl with him once he tries to come for Rihanna. She loves to watch him prove his allegiance to her.

Besides loyalty, trust, security and recklessness are prominent themes within the video. Rihanna must trust that Kendrick won’t drop her as he suspends her off a building. It’s a gorgeous, futuristic shot, that showcases Riri and Kenny’s characters as superhuman beings that aren’t of this world. They laugh with each other as they sway on top of the building, as if life, safety and power are trivial aspects of the human experience that they’ve already mastered.

The climax of “Loyalty” arises when we realize there are two Kendricks: presumably, a villainous one, and the other a genuine person. One Kendrick is murdered—suffocated with a plastic bag—but we can only speculate which is whom, and which one is actually loyal to Rihanna—or, if, symbolically, Kendrick had to “eliminate” a part of himself to prove his devotion to Riri.

“Loyalty” is sprinkled with afrofuturistic ideas, which is both delightful and surprising, as I didn’t imagine any of DAMN.’s songs blossoming into a sci-fi music video. But that’s what makes it more interesting: by transforming Kendrick’s lyrics, that question the elements of human nature, blackness, and conflicts with self, into stories where technology, future and magic are the norm, we can interpret his songs through a different lens.

In the end, Rihanna and Kendrick perform two acts of invincibility that prove that their characters are meant to be perceived as immortal. First, they willingly sink into the quicksand-asphalt, together, unafraid of what awaits them beneath the surface. Next, we watch them gleefully spin circles in their ride, before getting into a car accident. The accident itself is even more humorous to them, as they seem completely unfazed or harmed.

“Love’s gonna get you killed, but pride’s gonna be the death of you,” Bēkon sings. But, what if loyalty between two lovers overrides the fatality of love and pride, leading them to true immortality?

Courtesy of Jojo Abot.

Let Jojo Abot's New Afrofuturistic Video Hypnotize You

The Ghanaian artist releases the new video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," an entirely iPhone-recorded track.

Jojo Abot is rounding out a strong year which has seen her tour South Africa, release the NGIWUNKULUNKULU EP and work with institutions like the New Museum, Red Bull Sound Select and MoMA on her art and performances.

Jojo is now sharing her latest music video for "Nye VeVe SeSe," a song featured on her iPhone-only production project, Diary Of A Traveler.

"Nye Veve Sese is an invitation to let go of the burden of pain and suffering that keeps us from becoming our best and greatest selves," a statement from Jojo's team reads. "Asking the question of why pain is pleasurable to both the one in pain and the source of the pain. Often time the two being one and the same."

Watch her new "meditative piece," which was shot in Bedstuy, Brooklyn, below.

Jojo Abot will be playing her final US show of the year in New York City alongside Oshun on October 26 at Nublu 151. Grab your tickets here.

A Nigerian Label Is Suing Nas For Not Delivering a Good Verse

M.I and Chocolate City filed a lawsuit in New York State Supreme Court claiming Nas didn't deliver the verse they wanted.

Nigerian star M.I and his label home Chocolate City are suing Queenbridge legend Nasir Jones.

In the lawsuit, which was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, Nas and Mass Appeal Records' Ronnie Goodman are accused of ripping off Chocolate City after they'd paid the rapper $50,000 for the verse.

According to the lawsuit, back in 2013, Nas and Goodman agreed to contribute a verse to a track from M.I. The stipulations were that Nas was supposed to mention "M.I, Chocolate City, Nigeria, Queens, New York—NAS's hometown—, Mandela, Trayvon Martin, and the struggles of Africans and African Americans" in his verse.

Nas did, in fact, deliver a verse but it didn't mention any of the subject matter Chocolate City had asked for.

The Nigerian label requested that the Queens rapper to re-record the verse, which now three year later, has never happened despite them delivering the $50,000 payment. Hence, that's why they're now suing him, they mention.

It's not all fighting words, though, as Chocolate City is very complementary to Nas in the lawsuit calling him "a highly respected lyricist in the music industry" and writing that they wanted a verse from him "because of NAS's exceptional talent as a lyric writer."

Unfortunately that talent and lyricism was no where to be found in the verse they got, in the eyes of Chocolate City and M.I.

Revisit M.I's "Chairman" above.

Photo courtesy of TEF.

5 Things We Learned From the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum

Over 1,300 African entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers attended the 3rd Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos—here are the highlights.

The Nigerian Law School in Lagos, Nigeria, was transformed into a buzzing enclave of substantial conversation, intentional encouragement, and unbeatable energy.

The third Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum was the most inclusive gathering of African experts in business, entrepreneurship and policy, where all 54 African countries were represented with more than 1,300 attendees. These entrepreneurs and thought leaders are innovators across a diverse array of sectors like agriculture, technology, healthcare, fashion and energy/power generation.

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