This song is a collaboration between electronic musician Flying Lotus and rapper Kendrick Lamar. The pair are both located in LA and previously worked together when K. Dot introduced FlyLo to his visual collaborator, Kahlil Joseph. The director then helped the rapper on his Yeezus Tour production, as well as directing the short film based on his 2012 debut, Good Kid, M.A.A.D City.
According to Flying Lotus, Kendrick Lamar showed up at his house alone and in a hoodie, and then he proceeded to write and record his part for the song on the spot. The day he spent recording with Kendrick Lamar, he said, was "one of the most fun days ever."
The vocal layering in the middle and the end were inspired by the British group Queen.
Hiro Murai earned a Best Director nomination at the UK Music Video Awards for this song's music video.
A poignant blend of joy and sadness, the video opens at the funeral for two children, possibly innocent bystanders of gang violence. Unbeknownst to the mourners, the boy and girl - played by Will Simmons and Angel Gibbs - rise from their coffins and dance through the aisles before hijacking a hearse and driving away. "The original idea was to do something extremely joyful that felt like a catharsis compared to the setting," Murai explained in a Fader interview.
Understandably, seeing their children in death's repose was a bit much for the kids' real-life parents. Murai said: "As soon as they got there and they saw them in coffins and they saw the photos lined up on the table, they immediately started breaking down and crying, which is a very strange way to start a shoot day."
Angel wasn't old enough to really drive the hearse at the end of the video, so a car-seat suit was created to hide the production designer who actually drove with Angel on her lap.
Murai, who had struggled to find a girl who was right for the part, found Angel a few hours before rehearsal and rushed to get her from San Diego to Hollywood in time. The kids had about three hours to nail their choreography.
Unlike their parents, Angel and Will were nonchalant about attending their own funerals. They both fell asleep in their caskets during the shoot. "The kids don't have the same relationship to death as their parents do," Jason Colon, the video's producer, noted. "I feel like they didn't grasp how weird the situation was as much."