J. Cole takes on the war on drugs in his new video for the Born Sinner track “Crooked Smile,” featuring TLC. In the clip, he shows both sides of the intense struggle: Cole plays a family man who cares deeply for his daughter, juxtaposing this against a white DEA agent who is also a single father. But though Cole slings baggies of marijuana, he’s far from a violent criminal, inviting his parents over for his daughter’s birthday and making a cake especially for her. Both sides collide tragically when DEA agents raid the house and Cole’s daughter is shot, rattling everyone involved in the takedown.
The rapper has a direct message with the video: he is honoring deceased seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was killed during a 2010 police raid in Detroit. “Crooked Smile” shows there’s always more to the story and that the innocent suffer, too.