Kendrick Lamar, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Launches Something ‘Selfless’

Someone please tell Baby Keem to use protective eyewear! Photo: Courtesy of pgLang & Operator Media

Our most beloved talented musicians are positively obsessed with stringing fans along by releasing every imaginable type of project but new music. The latest to do so? Kendrick Lamar. And his nonmusic passion? It isn’t menswear. It isn’t a fragrance, or a memoir, or making a feature-length kung-fu film. It’s … global, multilingual, creative media solutions. That’s the chic, serifed promise behind Lamar’s latest project, founding an “at-service company” called pgLang. He teased it on Twitter with some logos — one geometric, the other Kara Walker–esque — and a link to the company’s website.

See, it’s not an ad-service company. It’s an at-service company. This either evokes the idea of a firm that’s “at your service,” a firm that promises those coveted @s, or “it’s not delivery; it’s DiGiorno.”

Click through to the website, and the mission statement at the top of the page artily blocks itself out too fast to read, but we used our best de-encryption specialists* (*right-clicking) to capture the whole statement. It reads:

pgLang is multilingual. Our community speaks music, film, television, art, books, and podcasts — because sometimes we have to use different languages to get the point of our stories across. Stories that speak to many nations, many races, and many ages. That is why our writers, singers, directors, musicians, and producers break formats when we build ideas and make them real for the curious.

Putting round pegs through square holes is not a process, but we embrace the idea of anarchy and challenges that make us stronger. pgLang is focused on using our experiences, and nurturing our many collaborators, to build stories that are equally accessible and engaging then fitting them within the best media.

We are creators — pgLang.

Did you get through all that? Welcome back from that walk through the Silicon Valley of the shadow of death. This checks off so many of the creative-agency vague corporatespeak boxes: round pegs, the “idea” of anarchy, which usually just means open-plan offices and some Memphis-inspired graphic design, and the language of accessibility twisted to project exclusivity somehow.

Below the statement, though, is an actually very aesthetically beautiful short video, or “visual mission statement,” starring Yara Shahidi, Baby Keem, Jorja Smith, and Lamar himself, written and directed by Lamar’s collaborator and pgLang co-founder Dave Free. It starts with Baby Keem staring into the sun in an idyllic field, with Shahidi turning off her phone to join him. Like Willem Dafoe staring into the titular Lighthouse, it seems to open up their minds to … something. Images of the “past,” “NOW,” and “future.” Eggs frying. Men with eyes for heads fighting. Bored teens on phones in a school bus that transforms into a party bus. A plastic bag blowing on the beach. Colorful fish. The voice-over says: “When you identify with something you’re not, it always leads to suffering and unhappiness.” There’s a nod to the end of the music video for “Alright,” only this time Lamar is floating, planking in midair, deep in meditation. Florence Welch contributed to the end-credits music.

In a statement, Free said, “In this overstimulated time, we are focused on cultivating raw expression from grassroots partnerships.” Lamar added, “Selfless. Reset.” At the bottom of the website, you can buy a cream-colored hoodie for $100.

Kendrick Lamar, Pulitzer Prize Winner, Launches … Something