Rapper Kendrick Lamar has teamed up with Spotify for a short film chronicling his time in Accra.
Lamar spent a week in Ghana’s capital ahead of the release of his fifth studio album, Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, and held a private listening event there alongside Ghanaian artists Black Sherif, Amaarae and Stonebwoy.
While only four minutes long in total, his new documentary, A Day in Ghana with Kendrick Lamar, gives us an idea of how the Humble rapper chose to spend his first ever trip to the West African nation.
“I couldn’t even tell you what day it is,” says a laid-back Lamar in the film. “I’m just being in the moment.”
The footage, available for free on Spotify’s YouTube channel, includes the Compton-born MC watching street boxing, playing board games and taking photos with locals.
He also visits Freedom Skate Park, a disused hospital transformed into a young people’s hub by American fashion designer Virgil Abloh before his untimely death due to cancer in November 2021.
“Virgil, what he means to them, as far as letting them have this creative space to enjoy themselves – that’s special,” he remarks.
In the following scene on Laboma beach, Lamar opens up about the themes of self-care present across his latest album.
“We all carry the same energy”Kendrick Lamar
“To challenge myself to go to therapy…that’s like a whole new step in a whole new generation,” he shares with the locals. “That’s growth.”
With this being his first solo album since the Pulitzer Prize-winning Damn in 2017, anticipation would easily have been high enough to warrant listening events on the same scale as those held by Kanye West in 2020 – but it’s possible that Lamar’s decision to spend the album rollout in an idyllic setting 7,400 miles away from home was another means of him looking after his own mental health.
Lamar isn’t the only star from the US to recently find solace in Ghana. R&B singer Ari Lennox said she woke up every morning with “peace and happiness” when she went last December, and Chance the Rapper is already planning his return after also visiting for the first time earlier this year.
It’s not the first time that Spotify has put the spotlight on the country, either. In March, the music streaming giant released a short film about the Ghanaian music scene, alongside a 48-track playlist titled Free Forever.
At the end of Lamar’s film, he suggests that his pilgrimage has given him a sense of kinship with his Ghanaian brothers and sisters.
“We all carry the same energy,” he says. “Everything that we do out here – everything that we say, everything that’s been done – it’s all a representation of all of us.”
Kendrick Lamar is currently on tour in promotion of his new album and will be playing at venues across the UK from 2nd-16th November