Full disclosure: I’m not really a big August Alsina fan. I like, maybe, two of his songs and when I saw him as the opening act for Usher a couple of years ago I was uh… I’ll be charitable and say “underwhelmed.” With that said, I wasn’t checking for hit new video—- the title had me thinking it was gonna be a shoutout to coke, weed, lean or some other destructive nonesense—- but the thumbnail pic had me curious.
Less than a minute in and I was surprised that “DRUGS” is not yet another video glorifying trap life, but rather an artsy conceptual piece whose visuals drive the story in the lyrics of August’s addiction… to his woman. He, like Chris Brown and Trey Songz, works so hard at pushing a “thug R&B” image for fear of seeming “soft” in this current hyper masculine hip hop culture that it’s surprising that Alsina was OK with the flowery shirt and face/body paint that he’s rocking in the video.
Throw in some underwater photography, snowy location shots, a botanical rowboat, a rumored reference to Greek mythology and you’ve got the makings of a video that will be too much for those who like their R&B dudes to simply make it rain on these disloyal hoes. Again, I’m not a fan of August but I do appreciate that he’s trying something different here—- an aesthetic that would be celebrated if say, Solange, did it—- and he’s doing so despite the inevitable voices out there that will question his masculinity.
“F ya’ll, I’mma do me”, he seems to be saying which I respect more than some of these other play it safe artists limiting how they express themselves and comically adhering to some rigid gender role. Is a flowered shirt really that serious???
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