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Who are Deep Voodoo, the deep fake studio behind Kendrick Lamar's video?

Bruno Cooke May 9, 2022
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Kendrick Lamar’s new The Heart Part 5 dropped on Sunday (8 May 2022), giving fans some deep fakes to reckon with. Who are Deep Voodoo, the studio behind the project, and what else have they made?

Who are Deep Voodoo and what other deep fakes have they done?

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone started Deep Voodoo in early 2020, according to The New York Times.

They, plus 20 “deepfake artists” and technicians, began preliminary work on their Sassy Justice project – which used images of Donald Trump – that year.

Sassy Justice was their first foray into the world of deep fakes, and Deep Voodoo was the studio they set up, especially for that purpose. 

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Source: YouTube [Sassy Justice]

When the first video came out, Parker and Stone kept themselves out of that particular limelight, but they emerged later as the people behind the studio. Actor and voice artist Peter Serafinowicz was also a major part of the project.

The trio are, NYT journalist Dave Itzkoff notes, “experienced satirists”.

Does The Heart Part 5 represent Deep Voodoo’s first collaboration with Kendrick Lamar?

Yes. After several episodes of Sassy Justice, Deep Voodoo appears to have lain dormant.

Parker and Stone – the filmmakers who financed Sassy Justice and created the Deep Voodoo studio – hoped to finish it before they had to start on new episodes of South Park. 

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Source: YouTube [Kendrick Lamar]

They’re busy people, who have been working on other things. Parker told the Times they were “waiting for Steven Spielberg to call us and say, hey, we need your deepfake company to make my movie”. But, assuming that didn’t happen, they had other fish to fry.

Whether or not their Kendrick Lamar collaboration marks the beginning of a new era of productivity for the studio remains to be seen.

Among those who seem to be a part of the studio are Frank The Editor and Ctrl Shift Face.

WATCH: The Heart Part 5 by Kendrick Lamar and Deep Voodoo

The Heart Part 5 is a collaborative project from South Park co-creators Trey Park and Matt Stone (via their Deep Voodoo studio brand) and rapper Kendrick Lamar.

It includes deep fakes of OJ Simpson, Kanye West, Nipsey Hussle, Will Smith and Kobe Bryant.

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Love Death + Robots | Volume 3 Official Trailer | Netflix

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Lamar thanked Parker and Stone for their help on the project; Dave Free, who co-founded pgLang with Lamar, co-directed the music video.

In less than a day, the video has picked up over 7m views on YouTube. Watch it below.

“This is why we should all be happy he took his time”, writes one commenter. “Whenever he releases you know you got his best effort.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.