J. Cole made a Busta Rhymes video. I don’t know how else to explain what I’m seeing in the visual for “ATM.”
The ostensible single from Cole’s new album KOD, released last night on less than a week’s notice, is all about his love of money. I thought Cole was more the type to rap about how money isn’t everything, but his affection for dollar bills seems pretty genuine on lines like “I balled on the principal/ Remember the teachers was all on my ass/ Now look all of them, pitiful/ And all of a sudden I’m so good at math.”
Also apparently authentic is his affection for the surreal, twitchy videos Hype Williams directed for Busta Rhymes in the ’90s. I couldn’t help but think about Busta’s videography while watching Cole’s work with fellow director Scott Lazer. It begins with Cole floating though the clouds on a throne in character as King Overdosed, luring along some kids on pills with a dollar bill on a string. Later he bounces in jerky motions while strapped in a straitjacket in a room built from bills, among other vivid settings.
I have to give Cole credit — I didn’t expect him to come through with such a wild and colorful video. Even if “ATM” feels out of character for him, it’s a truly surprising stroke from a guy I thought I had pegged. Watch below.
KOD is out now on Dreamville/Roc Nation.