These Walls (Kendrick Lamar song)

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"These Walls"
Single by Kendrick Lamar featuring Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat
from the album To Pimp a Butterfly
ReleasedOctober 13, 2015 (2015-10-13)
  • Martin
  • Dopson
  • Sounwave
Kendrick Lamar singles chronology
"These Walls"
"untitled 07 | levitate"
Bilal singles chronology
"Back to Love"
"These Walls"
Anna Wise singles chronology
"These Walls"
"Precious Possession"
Thundercat singles chronology
"Them Changes"
"These Walls"
"Bus in These Streets"
Music video
"These Walls" on YouTube

"These Walls" is a song by American rapper Kendrick Lamar. It was released on October 13, 2015, as the fifth and final single from his third album, To Pimp a Butterfly (2015).[1][2] The track was written by Kendrick Lamar, Terrace Martin, Larrance Dopson, James Fauntleroy and Rose McKinney. It won Best Rap/Sung Performance at the 58th Annual Grammy Awards on 15 February 2016.[3] Lamar has stated that this song is his favourite from the album.

Lyrical interpretation[edit]

Rolling Stone stated the song "teases the dark underbelly of sudden fame and offers a peek at the rapper's life when he hit his lowest points",[4] while Billboard editor Kris Ex wrote that Lamar is "pondering sex and existence in equal measure; it's a yoni metaphor about the power of peace, with sugar walls being escape and real walls being obstacles."[5]

Music video[edit]

The music video features an appearance by American actor Terry Crews.

The song's music video premiered on October 28, 2015, on Lamar's Vevo account. It was directed by Colin Tilley and The Little Homies. Entitled "Behind the Walls: A Black Comedy", the clip opens in a jail cell with Corey Holcomb and then flashes back to a wild night at an apartment complex – from strippers, to drugs, altercations, and skits.[6] Lamar first appears in his room grinding with a girl while her girlfriends catch it all on camera. He then crashes the stage at a talent show and performs "Hit the Quan" alongside Terry Crews. Meanwhile, Isaiah Rashad gets tied up and seduced in his bedroom, and SZA finds Lamar crashing through her apartment wall. By the end of the night, the cops come calling and Holcomb's character gets arrested.[7] The video ends with "To be continued". For Rap-Up, "the Compton rapper shows his comedic side (and dance moves) in the cinematic clip."[8]

Live performances[edit]

On May 27, 2015, Lamar performed the song live on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, complete with a white-clad couple who danced around the stage as a nearby artist painted a portrait of them.[9] "These Walls" was featured on the Kunta's Groove Sessions tour.[10]


Chart (2015) Peak
UK Hip Hop/R&B (OCC)[11] 12
US Billboard Hot 100[12] 94
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[13] 34


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[14] Gold 35,000
Canada (Music Canada)[15] Gold 40,000

Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Picks Fifth Single from "To Pimp A Butterfly"". September 24, 2015. Archived from the original on September 25, 2015. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  2. ^ Jeffries, David (March 16, 2015). "To Pimp a Butterfly - Kendrick Lamar". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 29, 2016. Retrieved March 28, 2015.
  3. ^ "2016 Grammy nominees". Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  4. ^ "Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly': A Track-by-Track Guide". Rolling Stone. March 16, 2015. Archived from the original on November 5, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  5. ^ Ex, Kris (March 16, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp A Butterfly' Challenges and Rewards: Album Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Archived from the original on September 28, 2015. Retrieved October 8, 2015.
  6. ^ Rose, Lilah (October 28, 2015). "Kendrick Lamar Feat. Bilal, Anna Wise & Thundercat "These Walls" Video". hotnewhiphop. Archived from the original on October 29, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  7. ^ "Video: Kendrick Lamar - These Walls". rap-up. October 28, 2015. Archived from the original on October 29, 2015. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  8. ^ "Video: Kendrick Lamar - These Walls". Rap-Up. October 28, 2015. Archived from the original on February 2, 2016. Retrieved February 15, 2016.
  9. ^ "Watch Kendrick Lamar's Stunning Performance Of 'These Walls' On 'Ellen'". MTV. May 27, 2015. Archived from the original on December 12, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.
  10. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Brings Spiritual Healing to 'Kunta's Groove Sessions' In New York: Live Review". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. November 3, 2015. Archived from the original on December 7, 2015. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
  11. ^ "Official Hip Hop and R&B Singles Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  12. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved March 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Kendrick Lamar Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  14. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2023 Singles" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved December 23, 2023.
  15. ^ "Canadian single certifications – Kendrick Lamar – These Walls". Music Canada. Retrieved April 13, 2021.

External links[edit]