J Cole Crooked Smile

J. Cole “Crooked Smile” ft. TLC

If J. Cole’s “Power Trip” video seemed cinematic, he ups the stakes with “Crooked Smile,” which takes his recent commitment to narrative-driven visuals and injects powerful commentary. Few rappers would dare to get this heavy ever, let alone for a single performing as well as “Crooked Smile.” The TLC-assited tune is 36th on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 chart this week, and 8th among R&B and hip hop songs.

The video, directed by Sheldon Candis, is dedicated to Aiyana Stanley-Jones, and recreates the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response team raid that led to the 7-year-old’s death in 2010. Cole plays Aiyana’s older brother, a drug dealer under investigation by the DEA, who raid his home on the evening of his sister’s birthday. True to the story, one of the DEA agents then shoots the young girl, turning their drug bust into an indefensible nightmare. The video closes with a short message from Cole: “And please reconsider your war on drugs.”

Candis, who previously directed Common in “Luv,” explained the idea of the video in a recent Vibe interview, saying that it was Cole’s idea, and praising the rapper for his work. “I’m very proud of him,” he said. “This is his first experience acting. He nailed it. He gives a very conflicted performance and it’s all a very non-verbal, silent performance. He’s my Ryan Gosling (Laughs).”

Analogies aside, all respect goes out to Cole, who uses his platform to make a social statement, and a moving one at that. The video is a tear-jerker, dealing with loss and making strong points about the priorities of law enforcement. Between a back yard grill, fireworks and the national anthem, one can infer that this is all taking place on the 4th July. What, then, does it say about the American way? That the war on drugs is misguided, ineffective, and in the worst of cases, terribly detrimental.

J cole crooked smile video

J cole Crooked Smile

J cole birthday cake

Related Articles

Music Video
Music Video

Premiere: DJ Muggs ft Danny Brown “Headfirst”

Music Video
Music Video

PREMIERE: Neisha Neshae “White Sticks” Video

Music Video
Music Video

Japanese Breakfast, Lil Yachty, Nick Hakim in the Best Music Videos of the Week

Music Video
Music Video

EarthGang Meets a Wicked Demise in New “Voodoo” Video


Latest News

corbin-lr Music

New Music from Corbin, Chip Skylark, IAMSU! and more

The Listening Room (July 25, 2017)
fyf-fest-speak!-featured-image Features

Speak! Goes to the 14th Annual FYF Fest

Fuck Yeah Fest has come a long way
"killer mike day" proclaimed in atlanta News

Killer Mike: “Jeff Sessions Scares the Sh*t Out Of Me”

The Run the Jewels MC and entrepreneur gives his thoughts on the current attorney general and his possible replacement
Capitol Police News

Capitol Police Force Journalists to Delete Photos of Disabled Protesters Getting...

Say it's a "crime scene"
arizona-drivers-license News

Arizona’s Driver’s Manual Now Offers Tips on How to Not Get Shot by Cops

It's come to this
A still from the new film 'Menashe' by Joshua Weinstein Film

‘Menashe’ Offers a Rare View into Hasidic Jewish Life

A Yiddish-language film set in Brooklyn reveals universal struggles
police shut down the ben franklin bridge after two graffiti writers get stuck on top of it Graffiti

Two Writers Climbed a Bridge and Needed the Police to Save Them

It's the art of getting up, but also down
watch jay-z's "footnotes for kill jay z' video Music Video

JAY-Z Explains Why “Jay Z” is Dead in “Kill Jay Z” Footnotes

Mahershala Ali, Chris Rock and more help Hov figure out the concept of ego
LeBron on the sidelines with Cavs teamates Sports

Report: LeBron Wants to Give Kyrie Irving a Beatdown

Well that escalated quickly
Rikers Debate Project Rikers Island Knowledge

Rikers Debate Project Teaches Those In Jail To Advocate For Themselves

And smashes stereotypes in the process
TokyoJetz Music

PREMIERE Tokyo Jetz ft. London Jae “My Story” Video

"I ain't even made yet, my sister say she still proud"
tyler-and-stephen Music

Tyler Pulls a Quick One on Stephen Colbert’s Booty And Performs “911”

"I just didn't want my briefs to look bulky"
Stretch and Bobbito Features

Stretch & Bobbito Tell Us What’s Really Good

From Dave Chappelle to Linda Sarsour
bria-featured Art

Double Tap: @celestamemoir (Bria Celest)

"I absolutely LOVE shooting black women. We are the bomb."
Obamacare News

What You Need to Know About Today’s Healthcare Vote

It all (mostly) comes down to this
a$ap mob members rocky, ferg, nast and more strike a pose for a mob picture News

A$AP Mob Announces the Too Cozy Tour

The squad stays busy in 2017