2022 has been pegged as the year Kendrick Lamar will make his long-awaited return to music with a brand new album, following up 2017’s Pulitzer Prize-winning DAMN. But the Compton native’s first move of the new year finds him branching out beyond rap.
According to Deadline, Kendrick is entering the movie industry by co-producing an upcoming live-action comedy film for Paramount Pictures alongside his former longtime manager Dave Free and South Park co-creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker.
Written by Vernon Chatman, the untitled movie is about a young Black man interning as a slave reenactor at a living history museum who discovers that his white girlfriend’s ancestors once owned his.
“On behalf of Paramount Pictures and the wider ViacomCBS family, we look forward to ushering in the first theatrical collaboration from these creative visionaries, and galvanizing audiences worldwide around a powerful storytelling experience,” said Paramount Pictures’ President & CEO, Brian Robbins.
An Emmy-award winning writer, director, producer and voice actor, Vernon Chatman is best known for creating Adult Swim’s Wonder Showzen and Xavier: Renegade Angel, as well as voicing Towelie, the weed-smoking talking towel on South Park.
Chatman has existing Hip Hop ties having previously worked with Killer Mike and Snoop Dogg on Trigger Warning With Killer Mike and Doggie Fizzle Televizzle, respectively. He was also a writer for The Chris Rock Show.
Kendrick Lamar and Dave Free are producing the film for their pgLang company, which they launched in 2020, while Matt Stone and Trey Parker are producing for Park County. Production is set to begin this spring, although a director has yet to be named.
The movie is expected to hit theaters and be available to stream on Paramount+.
While this will be Kendrick Lamar‘s first movie production credit, the 34-year-old rapper has previous experience behind the camera having co-directed many of his own music videos — including “HUMBLE.,” “Alright” and “ELEMENT.” — as part of the duo, The Little Homies, alongside Dave Free.
“ and Kendrick … were hanging out and Kendrick said, ‘I’d really like to be on the show,’” Power creator and producer Courtney Kemp said. “He’s very kind of quiet and thorough and methodical. He had prepared so much. He was ready.”
She added, “He’s really gifted, tremendously gifted. I mean it’s a total transformation. It is not a version of Kendrick Lamar that you’ve ever seen before.”
In other news, there’s still no word on when Kendrick Lamar’s new album is set to arrive, although a recent Instagram post from his longtime producer Sounwave promising “new creations on the way” only stoked the flames of excitement.
The project will mark Kendrick’s final release on Top Dawg Entertainment, the label he’s called home since the start of his distinguished career.