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Kendrick Lamar uses deepfakes to morph into Ye, Will Smith in new music video 

Kendrick Lamar’s new music video, which dropped on Sunday, features the rapper morphing into the face of several public figures using deepfake technology.

Directed by Lamar and longtime collaborator Dave Free, “The Heart Part 5″ music video marked the artist’s return to the spotlight in nearly four years. 

The roughly 5-minute music video opens with a black title screen with a statement in white: “I am. All of us. -oklama.” As Lamar begins the music video rapping by himself against a crimson backdrop, his face morphs into those of other Black men, including Ye, formerly Kanye West, Will Smith, Jussie Smollettand O.J. Simpson, as well as the late Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.

The video has already amassed almost 7.5 million views, as of Monday afternoon.

To achieve this effect, the Grammy-winning rapper used deepfake technology, synthetic media in which an existing image or video is visually or audibly manipulated to say and do something that is not real.

In the YouTube video description, Lamar gives special thanks to “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and their Deep Voodoo deepfake studio.

Representatives for Lamar, Parker and Stone did not immediately respond to NBC News’ request for an interview.

Lamar, widely known as a virtuoso who constantly pushes the boundaries with his projects, has earned several accolades, including 14 Grammy awards for his work, including the albums “To Pimp a Butterfly,” “Damn” and the soundtrack “Black Panther” for the Marvel film of the same name. “Damn” was also the first non-classical and non-jazz album to win the Pulitzer Prize for music in 2018.

Lamar’s new album, “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers” is scheduled for release on May 13.

By Wilson Wong

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