With an alien flow, unnerving production, and stream-of-consciousness lyrics that ping pong from Looney Tunes to Fourier, this song owes as much to out-there jazz and experimental music as it does to Kendrick Lamar‘s more traditional hip-hop tunes.
Listen to Cartoon and Cereal right here:
The unhinged psychedelia of the video works like sample-based music, taking in slices of cartoons from Fritz The Cat to Rocko’s Modern Life, Fat Albert to Space Jam, and what appears to be Alice’s White Rabbit spitting a mean verse. It’s an existential fever dream, spiraling through cartoon history as a metaphor for… something. Is it the battle between ambition and comfort? The difficulty of finding one’s own voice in a chaotic world? There are tantalizing hints throughout the lyrics, and the video juxtaposes oddly perfect clips with particular bars, nodding toward a literal translation. Still, the song resists a simple translation.
However, there’s a bit of foreshadowing at play. As we see Tupac flash on a static-laden TV, the following lyrics rise up in pitch-shifted cartoon voice:
I woke up in the morning
Seeing you on the news
Look up in the mirror
Realized I had something to prove
You told me “Don’t be like Me
Just finish watching cartoons”
Which is funny cause now all I see is
Wile E. Coyotes in the room
This is followed by the repeated motif of conflating and I run it with the word ironic.
It’s 8am on a Thursday and I haven’t had coffee yet, so maybe I’ll edit later. I just had to share this impossibly trippy song and video.