With the videos for “Understand” and “When The People Cheer”, the legendary The Roots Crew experimented with more playful stop-motion that helped deliver poignant political messages under bright colors and an overly artsy facade. Now, with the video for “Never”, they further explore the same socio-cultural messages of And Then You Shoot Your Cousin with a slightly grittier live-action clip.
While the album itself is a more satirical look at inner-city violence, the video explores the issues with several extended metaphors: the protagonist finds himself unable to escape running through the same city block; the remaining denizens of this city block are faceless and thus transposable; and just when our hero finds hope with a blinding light from the sky (that’s a no-brainer), he’s stuck back on Earth. By packaging these dense notions into neat little packages, all with a certain kind of Hollywood shimmer, it makes the unswallowable pain and injustice go down that much easier.
Watch it below: