“Kung Fu Kenny,” DJ Kid Capri bellows into the mic on DAMN., the latest revolutionary album from Kendrick Lamar. But this isn’t just a catchy nickname; Kung Fu Kenny is the full-fledged alter ego for Kendrick, and the art supporting his album features the new character.
A short film entitled The Damn Legend of Kung Fu Kenny modeled after 1970s kung fu movies, premiered before his set at Coachella. The three-part short followed Kenny aka the Black Turtle on a mission to “find the Glow,” according to “Billboard.” Kendrick dons the same outfit from his “DNA” music video, and is later joined by ninjas onstage.
Don Cheadle, who starred in the “DNA” music video opposite Kendrick, confirmed that the Kung Fu Kenny moniker was an homage to his character in 2001’s Rush Hour 2.
Mr. Cheadle told “Entertainment Weekly” that Kendrick invited him to Coachella for a surprise. At the show, Mr. Cheadle witnessed Kendrick’s “crazy karate movie which was weird and…is really bizarre and funny and out of his brain and great,” accompanied Kendrick to P.F. Changs afterwards, and saw a comment on Twitter. “Somebody wrote, ‘Don Cheadle, the original Kung Fu Kenny’ and put a picture of Rush Hour 2 up. I was like, wait a minute. So I texted him. I said, ‘Is Kung Fu Kenny me?’ He’s like, ‘That’s what the surprise was. Damn.'”
Mr. Cheadle’s Rush Hour 2 character Kenny was an ex-con man who owned a Chinese restaurant that acted as a front for an underground gambling den on Crenshaw in Los Angeles.
No one knows exactly why Kendrick has unveiled this new character or whether or not this was just a onetime ode to Mr. Cheadle.
But regardless, Kung Fu Kenny’s album is damn good.