Today, rapper J.Cole finally released his video for his hit single “Crooked Smile” and it was completely what the world wasn’t expecting. Rap videos have been known for their lustrous females dancing in the background, money being tossed everywhere, drugs being praised, and jewelry being displayed. Most rap video seem like they have no thought to them at all. However, with the rap game slowly changing for the better, many rappers have begun to create real art again. J.Cole is one of the most important rappers to the Hip-Hop. In his new video, he has eluded the stereotype of booty shaking females, bling-bling, and expensive cars. He has created a video with a social message to American society. There are some who will diss this video, probably many, because of the imagery within it. However, it is the imagery that provides the message of J.Cole’s video. This video is purely brilliant in the way that it speaks for those who have been innocently murdered by the police.
The video begins with two people, J.Cole (drug dealer) and a DEA agent, both brushing their teeth. Now remember, the song is called Crooked Smile which isn’t singly pertaining to the physical appearance of a crooked smile, but also the metaphorical elaboration that American society (government) is crooked. He says, “look at the nation, that’s a crooked smile braces couldn’t even straighten.” As the video progresses, you see the commonality of both men lives. Both of them have little girls who they love very much. These little girls seem to brighten up their days and put smiles on their faces. However, as one girl celebrates the day of her birth, that day will also be the day she dies. Singularly, that imagery is powerful because she blessed to be born on that day and then tragically died that day. The DEA storms into J.Cole’s house after he puts his sister to rest. As they are arresting him, his little sister opens the door and the police quickly shoot her. No questions asked.
Of course the little girl dies and J.Cole is arrested. But after that, the video shows the little girls life. She was friends with the DEA agent established in the beginning scene. So of course, J.Cole’s and the agents life intertwine together. The way in which the protagonist lives are established is brilliant because it shows you how two people lives intertwined, how they are similar, and how they differ. In this case, they only differ because J.Cole is a drug dealer and is Black. While the other man is a cop and is White. But in some ways, both of them are crooked however, one of them is worse than the other.
The world loves to shun people who have illegitimate jobs. But they praise those who have government jobs. However, we all know that the government is more crooked than the people standing on the corners. Police kill innocent people everyday and barely have any repercussions happen to them. In reality, people just want to live and care for those they love. Who are we as people to judge their professions? Of course not all professions are legal, but it doesn’t mean that the person is horrible and they do not deserve to have anyone around them die because of their mistakes.
What J.Cole has done in this video is liberate the Hip-Hop world from the stereotypical rap videos. Once again, J.Cole has proven that he is a brilliant rapper and that his intellect dominates his lyrics and image. It is refreshing to see a rapper who cares about the cultural aspects of his world. Many people will misinterpret this video. Some will probably believe that they shouldn’t respect cops and then some will probably say that it was J.Cole’s characters fault for the little girl getting shot. However, the message of this video goes far beyond what people may quickly comprehend. This is a video telling you never judge a person based off of what they do, who you think they are, and what they may be capable of doing because if you do, someone innocent will get hurt. This video is real hip-hop art and the rap world is soon to follow.