World events have caused T.I. to turn over a new leaf with the content of his music and his new video for “War Zone” takes the interpretation of his song lyrics to a different level. For the moment, Tip’s put aside the cars, guns and flashy jewelry. Gone are the boastful tracks and lighthearted tunes like “Let’s Get Away.” They’ve all been replaced by lyrics that take on a stronger social context with him taking on police brutality, the crooked nature of the legal system and more.
The video depicts scenes of news events that have become all too familiar, but the script is flipped. As it begins, the camera follows a young white adolescent is seen walking from home to the playground while toting a toy pistol, complete with an orange tip on the end of the barrel. While mock aiming the gun, two black cops pull up, draw their weapons and take him down instantly. The kid isn’t identified but the implication is clear: he’s a white version of Tamir Rice. That scene is followed by a similarly styled situations where white males are murdered by the hands of black cops in reenactments of the final moments of Eric Garner and Philando Castile’s lives.
The end game is that T.I. wants fans of all races – white, black and all in between – to understand that his words aren’t meant to be incendiary. Instead, they’re a call to action with the understanding it takes everyone’s involvement for change to occur. Sometimes, it takes a dose of shock therapy to make people understand that everyone’s reality isn’t the pleasant American dream depicted on tourism pamphlets.