Don Cheadle Had Two Days to Learn "DNA" For Kendrick's Video

Puts your work karaoke to shame, tbh.
Lauren O'Neill
London, GB
April 20, 2017, 10:56am

One of the many striking elements of Kendrick Lamar's most recent video drop, for DAMN. cut "DNA" is the pretty spot-on way Don Cheadle, who plays the cop interrogating Kendrick in the clip, is able to imitate his mannerisms. In an interview with Pitchfork, Cheadle revealed that he actually only had two days to get both the rap and the moves down. If nothing else, that makes the feat even more impressive, and puts your actually-quite-good-you-thought last minute choice to step in as an Ugly Sister in the office Christmas pantomime to shame:

I had two days to get ready for the video. Kendrick just hit me out of the blue and just said, "Hey man, I'm going to do this video, do you wanna be in it?" And I said, "Yeah, sure." And then he said, "Do you want to know what the part is?" He was like, "Yeah, you're gonna come in and play a cop, and you're interrogating me, and then you're just gonna spit my rap." I was like, "Uh OK, you know you're like the best rapper in the world, so what are you talking about." He sent me the lyrics and was like, "You just have to get this much of it down," which was like half of it.

He also discussed how he was sent footage of Kendrick's super idiosyncratic performance style to mimic—"They said, 'We want you to get his movements, 'cause you're kind of going to be mirroring him at some point.' So they sent me a couple clips of the way he moved and him doing the rhyme, just really casual and laid back"—and dropped in the fact that he somehow only just figured out that he was the inspiration for Kendrick's Kung Fu Kenny outfit in the video:

I texted Kendrick and was like, 'Hey man, am I the inspiration for Kung Fu Kenny? Because I'm going to say I am whether I am or not.' He was like, 'Fam, that was the surprise. So, surprise!' Oh shit! I feel stupid now. I wonder what he was thinking the whole two days when we were together and I hadn't said anything about it. He was like, 'What's wrong with this dude? Is he senile? Does he hate it? Is he not a fan?' It was obvious. Now, when you say it, it's obvious.

Easily the best thing about this entire interview is Cheadle's clear respect for and very cute, almost nerdy fandom of Kendrick, proving that yeah, he might be in the music video for one of DAMN's most important tracks, but he's also kind of just in as much stunned admiration as the rest of us.

Follow Noisey on Twitter.

(Image via YouTube)