Audio

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?

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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