Don Cheadle stars in the video for Kendrick Lamar's "DNA" (VIDEO).

Watch Don Cheadle Rap Kendrick Lamar in the Video for “DNA”

Watch Don Cheadle Rap Kendrick Lamar in the Video for “DNA”

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
April 18 2017 3:49 PM

Watch Don Cheadle Rap Kendrick Lamar in the Video for “DNA”

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We’ve only had a few days to process the greatness of Kendrick Lamar’s Damn, and now he goes and hits us with the mind-blowing video for the album’s “DNA.” It starts off provocatively, with Don Cheadle’s police detective interrogating a shackled Lamar, making fun of his “two first names” and suggesting an alternate explanation for what “DNA” stands for. (Hint: The N is not nucleic.) But when Cheadle turns on the lie detector, it sends a surge through his body, and suddenly he’s possessed by the spirit of Lamar’s song, breaking into a surprisingly compelling lip-sync. Cheadle has clearly studied up on Lamar’s stage moves, which he copies so well that when the two of them start trading verses, it’s like a modern riff on Duck Soup’s mirror scene.

Like the shape-shifting song, the video takes some even crazier turns from there; it even features a different ending to the album version. We won’t spoil it, except to say that the Chinese characters apparently translate as “Kung Fu Kenny.”

Sam Adams is a Slate senior editor and the editor of Slate’s culture blog, Brow Beat.