Life is a gift that can be snatched away in seconds; if you aren't careful enough, you can end up squandering it, never properly putting it to use. That is the harsh lesson the protagonist of GoldLink's powerful video, "The God Complex (When I Die)", learns within thirty seconds of his introduction. The DMV emcee and the 7th Floor Villains, the Baltimore collectivewho star in this short film, understand the fragility of their existence, growing up in some of the most dangerous cities in America.
Without a doubt, this isn't a song or visuals that glamorize gang banging, violence, or aspects of the ghetto. Rather, it lays bare the oppressively tragic circumstances that construct their worldview or perspectives.
Nathan R. Smith, the director, and GoldLink's vision for this 150-second video could easily be reworked into a full-length two-hour film. It is that impressive and epic, an awe-inspiring use of limited time. While GoldLink never appears on camera, nothing is lost in this unorthodox maneuver.
When the video begins, it seems like viewers are in store for a typical braggadocio trap song. The main character defiantly throws cash out of an expensive car's window, while his friends sip on nearly empty malt liquor bottles. However, the festivities and optimistic ambiance quickly comes to end, when a gun shot rings out, halting everyone and even the music.
Instead of the bombastic instrumental that was heard prior to the bullet lodging itself into the protagonist's chest, McCallaman's somber, minimal production quietly takes over. At this moment, the visuals begin to follow the natural death-chemical-induced high of the dying young man. For the rest of the video, the disembodied camera captures the hallucinatory life flashing before the protagonist's eyes.
Surprisingly, it isn't a montage dedicated to his regret or misfortune, but a beautiful, albeit highly illegal, view of his perfect day; filled with lounging with friends, trespassing, and ultimately robbing a deli. The image of the blood-stained shirt, with a hole where the bullet landed, is a powerful one. Watching someone dream of such a great day, including laughter and friends, with the knowledge that in mere moments they will be gone forever, wrenches at the heart.
GoldLink's song is just as good as the visuals, and should get you excited for his upcoming project, The God Complex. It's due out April 1st, but don't wait until then to hear more of his unique music, dubbed "future bounce." Head over to his Soundcloud and listen to some of his old tracks. You won't be disappointed.