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ANALYSIS BY

Katharina Meyer

Social Psychology

University of Westminster

London, UK

 
Katharina Meyer

Profile
MSc in Psychology and currently developing my PhD thesis.

 
Joined On:
July 03, 2017
Last Active:
July 05, 2017
 

Artist

Kendrick Lamar

Year Released

2017

PsY Rating

The analyst's overall summary, as applicable, of the accuracy of the psychology and the subject's potential to be psychologically influential or manipulative.

A higher rating means the psychology is more accurate and positive.

07/05/2017
Analysis of Humble: How Religion, Power and Polarity Can Play Together

The new music video by Kendrick Lamar has been providing a lot of space for an analysis. Everybody is wondering and debating the psychological message of the HUMBLE video from Kendrick Lamar.

Kendrick Lamar
Photo by Pedro A. Pina, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

A deeper psychological analysis will give more insights into the message of the successful hip-hop sensation.  

The video begins with the artist dressed like the Pope, then the scene converts into Kendrick lying on top of a pile of money. This jump of scenes can be interpreted as a concept of opposites.  

In the first scene, the artist is portrayed as the highest man of the church and then he lay in a bragging position on a pile of money. Those two scenes can be interpreted as the psychological display of the good and bad in every individual.

In the next scene, Kendrick plays again with religious symbols as he is rearranging the picture from Leonardo da Vinci's painting, The Last Supper.

Kendrick is placed in the middle as Jesus with some bread and wine. There is a strong use of religious symbolism to outline his importance in the world of hip-hop. He visually positioned himself as the sole savior of hip hop when he created a duality between himself and Jesus. On a psychological level, this could be interpreted as him using his present status to manifest a certain belief system in the minds of the viewing audience. The use of religious elements in the video can have the psychological context of the unproven. Religion is without proving the existence and builds on human belief systems. It provides the individual with stability and moral guidelines in a changing environment. On the other hand, a very dogmatic approach can undermine the positive psychological effects of religion. 

Another important psychological message in the video is the concept of beauty standards. The visual contrast of a model with a full face make-up in contrast to a natural and makeup- free version of the same model shows the artist's preference for the natural version of females. 

The artist is mentioning that he prefers natural women over the "Photoshopped" version. It can also be an argument that even as the portrayal of the women is more natural, the main concept of females here is how they are perceived and judged by males. Therefore, there is no real female chance of empowerment as it is still about how women look over anything else.  

The whole "Humble" video contains many controversial topics that point towards opposites within the human condition. On the one hand, the holy and good side of the artist is portrayed on a level that is compared to the Pope and Jesus. On the other hand, he is on top of a pile of money, relaxing and giving into his lower self. 

Another scene has a tremendous psychological message. The shoot where Kendrick is shown with his cornrows between only bold heads makes him stand out. The importance of being an individual in a very conformist society is reflected here. 

Studies show that creativity has a significant correlation to non-conformist behavior. Nonconformity is defined as the deliberate and conscious choice of an individual to challenge the existing guidelines or positions of a group. The internal motivation is to change or disrupt the current group/social status quo. 

A very captivating scene is when flames come out of Kendrick and the other men's heads. The flames could be interpreted as a transformational state. The fire has been associated with power, inspiration, and fertility. It is also one of the four elements and therefore an essential element in human life. The fact that flames are coming out of the artist's head and him being quite unimpressed by that can symbolize his growth and ongoing transformational state. This scene can symbolize his unfulfilled desire to become more humble but the artist leaves this question open for individual interpretation. The scene can be interpreted as his desire to transform to another state, but it is not confirmed into which direction he desires to transform.

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