Over the course of his 16-year career, T.I. has explored some different ideas, themes and even personas in his music, but he’s never been a particularly political musician. The rapper born Clifford Harris looks to change that perception with the release of his new EP, US or Else. The six-song collection, published on Sept. 23, is a reaction to the police shootings of African-Americans that have shocked and polarized the nation in recent years. To promote the record, T.I. released an intense and gripping music video for the single “Black Man,” which can be viewed here.
The Tidal exclusive video, which features appearances from Quavo, RaRA, Meek Mill and Killer Mike, was shot in stark black and white by the Visual Authority Media collective. The decidedly bleak clip features an ominous scene where Quavo is pulled over, another where Mill attends a funeral and concludes with a sizable protest calling for justice and peace.
In some ways, the video and its attendant EP are a significant departure for T.I., whose music previous tended to focus on his personal trials and tribulations. He has also made a habit of launch or re-launching the careers of mainstream pop acts like Iggy Azalea and Robin Thicke with some breezy and chart-topping collaborations. However, Harris has made the notion of persevering through adversity a perennial theme, so in that way, US or Else is just a more direct meditation on a topic that is close to his heart.