Roc Nation stud J. Cole has kept the excitement behind his Born Sinner summer release going by releasing a five-minute-plus music video for standout track “Crooked Smile.”
Cole uses his emotional visual to tackle real-life problems like racial profiling and drugs.
J. Cole has premiered the video for “Crooked Smile,” and there’s nothing to smile about when watching the heavy narrative unfold. The song is a pleasant bit of self-empowerment, but the video has an even bigger message, taking on racial profiling and the war on drugs. Dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old killed during a police raid in Detroit in 2010, the Sheldon Candis-directed clip features a plea from Cole at the end: “Please reconsider your war on drugs.” Though the track features TLC, T-Boz and Chilli aren’t in the visual, which depicts two family stories that converge during a raid. Midway through the song, as tragedy unfolds, the song drops out and a murky version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays, echoing the sentiments of Cole’s “Miss America.” Watch the social commentary up top. (Idolator)
The rap star recently revealed he wanted to re-shoot the music video.
J. Cole’s ‘Crooked Smile’ single just cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the German-born MC decides to keep the momentum going with the release of the official video. The TLC-assisted track appeared on Cole’s sophomore album ‘Born Sinner’ released back in June. Originally the video was shot in the streets of Brooklyn in early July but Cole chose to scrap the whole thing and re-shoot it. He told MissInfo: “It came out nice but it just didn’t come out exactly how I wanted. It’s such an important song so I want the visual to match. If this was my first video than I would have panicked.” (Direct Lyrics)
Earlier this summer, Cole spoke on wishing “Crooked Smile” was the biggest song in the nation.
” [“Crooked Smile”] deserves to be the number one record in the country. I think Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” gave me hope for a song like this. I think he kinda… as weird as it is, and it’s always happens like this, the White boys got to open the door for Black people at White radio. It happened with Elvis, Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke, and now hopefully Macklemore with a song like “Thrift Shop” can allow “Crooked Smile” to get its proper shine at Pop Radio, Cole tells Missinfo.tv. “Honestly, you can’t name me many songs better than… I don’t mean to sound crazy, but better than “Power Trip” as singles. They should have gave it a chance at Pop radio. All these Pop PDs weren’t giving rap a chance at all.” (Miss Info TV)
The Roc Nation protégé also shared his thoughts on the state of hip-hop a few weeks back.
“It’s heading into another golden era. It might not be there just yet, but it’s getting there. Look at the options you got right now. I remember around the time Hip Hop Is Dead was coming out, I knew why you was saying it. Rap was a f*cking joke. It was a singles-driven market. But even when I was unsigned, I knew with what I was doing that this was gon’ turn around. I didn’t know at the same time that Kendrick was somewhere studying, going hard. Drake was somewhere studying, going hard.” (VIBE)
Check out J. Cole’s “Crooked Smile” music video: