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Music video power trip harlands



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  • 1. J.Cole    Power  Trip   Music  Video  Analysis     Harland  Greenhill  Fletcher    
  • 2. Types  of  videos     Performance  based  music  videos  are  when  the  artist  is   performing  for  the  camera,  usually  bands  would  use  footage   of  them  playing  concerts  as  it  would  give  the  audience  a   taste  of  one  of  their  shows.     A  Narrative  base  video  is  another  approach  for  the  artist  to   take  in  which  the  video  is  not  necessarily  just  the  artist   singing  to  the  camera  it  relates  to  the  words  of  the  song  and   tells  a  story.  The  video  I  am  analysing  J.  Cole    Power  Trip  is   definitely  a  narrative  based  video  it  is  solely  based  on  the   narrative.   Finally  we  have  a  concept  based  music  video  this  involves  a   random  or  purposeful  concept  which  is  drawn  upon    within   the  video.  They  don t  tend  to  have  a  structured  storyline   instead  they  tend  to  present  an  overall  concept.  
  • 3. General  Information     Power  trip  is  a  song  made  by  the  American  Hip  hop   artist  J.Cole  (Jermaine  Cole).  J.Cole  himself  produces   the  song  although  it  features  American  singer   songwriter  Miguel.  This  particular  song  is  made  under   entertainment  company  founded  by  Jay-­Z.  J.cole  was   the  first  artist  signed  by  Jay-­Z  under  Roc  Nation  with   the  album   world:  The  sideline      
  • 4. The  Video   The  video  itself  is  a  continuation  of  a   The  reason  he  did  this  sequel  could  be  to  keep  the  interest  of  his   old  fans  while  also  broadening  his  audience  with  new  material.  J.   Cole  uses  a  narrative  that  is  not  too  difficult  to  follow  yet  it  could   be  said  that  there  is  complexity  behind  it  typical  of  Goodwin's   theory.  The  simplicity  of  the  song  and  its  narrative  is  obvious.   From  the  repetition  of  the  chorus  the  audience  is  able  to  draw   -­  a  guy  love  struck  over  a  girl.  Having   these  words  repeated  throughout  the  song  structures  the  story-­line   we  are  constantly  reminded  of  his  anxiety  over  the  girl.    
  • 5. Throughout  the  video  a  range  of  shots  are  used  in  different  situations,   close  ups,  extreme  close  ups,  two  shots,  mid  shots,  shot  reverse  shots,   point  of  view  shots  and  a  few  scenic  pans.  As  an  audience  we  see  a   number  of  close  ups  on  J.  Cole  (meat  shots)  these  act  as  a  marketing   technique  whilst  also  submerging  him  into  his  key  role  in  the  story.  The   rest  of  the  camera  work  largely  centres   a  backseat  viewing  of  the  emerging  journey  through  the  story  using  a   number  of  over  the  shoulder  shots.  While  there  are  limited  uses  of   for  J.  Cole  only  and  express  his  deeper  feelings  of  emotion.     Camera  work  
  • 6. Camera  work  ext.   Many  interesting  camera  angles  are  used  in  the  video  for  example   at  a  lower  angle  to  everyone  else.  He  is  often  shown  through  a   crowd  of  people  or  objects,  appearing  in  the  background  he  seems   distant  from  everyone  in  the  club.  Within  the  initial  club   sequence  we  see  girls  body  parts  from  noticeably  high  and  low   angles.  This  objectifies  them  providing  a  typical  example  of  the   Laura    theory  of  The  Male  Gaze.     Initially  we  see  a  moving  (panning)  shot  of  a  house  as  if  driving   past  slowly  from  the  front  seat  of  a  car.  This  moving  shot  gives  the   impression  the  house  is  being  watched.    
  • 7. Camerawork  ext.   In  the  clip  we  see  a  few  arcing  shots  used  for  example   when  we  are  introduced  to  Miguel  the  camera  arcs   around  the  door  in  a  way  that  we  are  watching  this   individual.  Continuing  from  this  shot  a  tracking  shot  is   used  to  follow  his  movements,  there  is  no  privacy  for   him  it  appears  he  is  being  followed  at  all  times.    
  • 8. Editing   Throughout  the  video  we  see  the  clip  is  cut  to  the  beat  of  the   music  seen  in  Goodwin's  theory.  A  number  of  the  straight  cuts   are  in  time  with  the  bass  in  the  song.  Whenever  the  chorus  of   the  song  is  played  we  see  the  video  cut  to  J.  Cole  in  the  club   looking  lost  and  out  of  place.      Cutting  rate  of  the  video  changes  at  different  stages  for   example  we  see  in  the  first  30seconds  far  less  cuts  as  apposed  to   the  last  30  the  use  of  fast  cutting  relates  to  action  in  the  crime   they  have  committed.  The  slow  cut  rate  is  there  when  nothing   is  known  to  of  happened  we  think  they  are  just  driving  at  first.                              
  • 9. Editing  ext.     As  J.  Cole  and  his  friend  are  driving  we  see  that  J.  Cole   imagines  or  sees  this  girl  in  the  rear  view  mirror   would    have  been  added  in  after  the  filming  so  is  an   example  of  an  post  production  effect.   All  through  the  clip  cross-­cutting  is  used  to  jump   between  the  action  of  one  location  to  another.   Especially  towards  the  end  when  jumping  from  the   club  to  the  burying  of  Miguel  we  see  many  of  these   edits.    
  • 10. Mise  en  scene   We  see  a  clear  divide  between  J.  Cole  (previous  or  want  to  be   boyfriend)  and  Miguel  (present  boyfriend).  Miguel  is  shown   wearing  a  suit  implying  he  is  of  a  skilled  profession  doctor  or   accountant  yet  J.  Cole  is  seen  in  a  hat  and  hoodie  he  is   represented  as  in  formal  and  the  audience  presume  he  is  lower   status.     There  are  4  main  locations  in  the  video  the  house,  the  club  ,  the   car  and  the  forest  in  connection  with  the  journey.  Each  of  these   locations  adopt  a  mood  with  them.  First  of  all  the  club  is  well  light   there  is  drinks  and  girls  it  looks  as  though  J.  Coles  friend  is  trying   to  cheer  him  up  here.  Additionally  the  house  is  set  almost  in  black   and  white  with  almost  no  colour   quite  calm  and  relaxed  yet  there  is  a  down  mood  at  the  same  time.   Finally  the  last  two  settings  are  the  forest  and  the  journey  both  of   which  are  not  lighted  apart  from  natural  light  with  this  being  said   the  clip.  The  lighting  of  all  the  settings  amplifies  the  general  mood   that  is  represented.  
  • 11. Mise  en  scene  ext.   Overall  the  video  has  a  dystopian  feel  about  it  as   though  he  is  headed  to  a  dead  end.  It  appears  there  is  a   bleak  future  ahead  of  them  nothing  good  can  come  of   the  actions  they  have  taken  and  J.  Cole  shows  that  he  is   aware  of  this.  Towards  the  end  of  the  clip  whilst  they   bury  Miguel  the  sun  sets  in  the  background  and  the   audience  see  how  the  night  club  is  related  to  the  story   it  looks  as  though  this  all  happened  in  one  day.  
  • 12. Genre   This  song  is  a  rap/hip  hop  song  and  we  see  common  and   uncommon  features  and  conventions  of  this  genre.  For   example  it  is  unusual  to  see  a  rapper  chasing  after  one  single   girl,  girls  are  usually  represented  as  disposable  to  them  yet  J.   Cole  idolizes  this  woman  and  only  wants  her  so  the  video   challenges  typical  rap  conventions.     At  times  in  the  lyrics  he  refers  to  asking  for  help  which  is   also  unusual  because  usually  a  rapper  would  prefer  to  do   something  alone  and  be  too  proud  to  ask  for  help  this   challenges  the  norm  of  a  hip  hop  video.     Alternatively  we  see  him  in  a  strip  club  with  girls  being   strip  club  is  a  typical  location  for  a  rap  video  with  girls   dancing  around  the  artist.    
  • 13. Narrative   When  it  comes  to  the  narrative  this  story  is  very  interesting   the  clip  contains  3  different  sideline  stories.  First  of  all  we   mean  all  the  times  we  see  J.  Cole  alone  in  the  club  just   thinking  about  things  and  seeming  distant.  This  first   sideline  story  is  represented  as  the  most  important   throughout  because  no  matter  what  else  is  happening  we  are   reminded  of  this  story.  Additionally  the  second  side  story  we   are  introduced  to  is  the  girls  relationship  with  her  boyfriend.   Her  relationship  with  the  boyfriend  (Miguel)  is  not  shown   for  long  in  the  video  and  it  appears  as  though  we  should  not   focus  on  this  too  much.  From  the  audiences  point  of  view  it   feels  like  we  should  forget  this  side  story  and  it  seems  as   though  J.  Cole  would  like  to.    
  • 14. Narrative  ext.   Third  and  finally  we  see  the  story  of  J.  Coles  everyday   life  for  example  hanging  out  with  his  friends  in  a  club   with  girls,  money  and  drinks.  The  two  of  them  are   pulled  over  by  the  cops  during  the  car  journey,  typically   rap  and  hip  hop  artists  talk  about  the  rivalry  between   them  and  police.  There  is  a  sense  of  irony  that  rappers   would  usually  talk  about  being  wrongly  accused  of   crimes  yet  we  later  find  out  the  two  of  them  have  in   fact  committed  murder.    
  • 15. Narrative  ext.   The  twist  to  the  narrative  comes  at  the  end  when  all   three  of  these  sideline  stories  are  drawn  together  the   audience  is  shown  that  J.  Cole  and  his  friend  have   in  a  forest.  A  sense  of  tension  builds  in  the  story  when   we  see  this  because  sirens  are  heard  and  the  editing   becomes  faster.  The  video  in  my  opinion  is  both  open   structured  and  closed  in  ways.  Firstly  we  know  what  has   been  done  and  the  story  is  pulled  together  we  make   sense  of  it  all,  yet  we  are  still  left  wondering  if  he  will   get  caught  for  his  crime.    
  • 16. Narrative  ext.   According  to  Andrew  Goodwin's  theory  we  see  that  this   video  is  an  amplification  of  the  words  because  the  lyrics   show  us  he  is  heart  broken  or  sad  about  a  girl  yet  the  video   shows  us  that  he  is  capable  of  killing  someone  to  get  her.   Additionally  the  video  is  simply  illustrated  throughout  with   late  at  night.   Further  more  Roland  Barthes  theory  of  narrative  codes  is   shown  within.  The  main  code  linked  to  this  video  would  be   the  enigma  code  because  we  are  left  wondering  where  the   find  out  what  has  happened.  
  • 17. Narrative  ext.   Moreover  Tzvetan  Todorovs  theory  of  equilibrium  is  shown   as  the  story  progresses.  Initially  we  see  J.  Cole  in  the  club   normal  life  (equilibrium).  As  we  continue  the  audience  is   introduced  to  the  dilemma  or  disruption  that  the  girl  he   wants  is  with  another  man.  Moving  on  from  this  we  see  the   journey  or  him  seeking  a  way  to  sort  the  problem.  When  we   are  shown  that  he  has  killed  her  boyfriend  this  is  the  climax   and  the  resolution  (the  problem  is  solved).  Although  this  is   extreme  he  returns  to  the  club  to  carry  on  with  his  life  yet   his  life  will  never  be  the  same  a  new  equilibrium  is  found.  
  • 18. Narrative  ext.   oppositions  a  number  of  oppositions  are  represented.    First   of  them  is  Love    Hate  this  is  seen  within  J.  Cole  he  loves   this  woman  yet  he  hates  her  boyfriend  enough  to  kill  him.   Civilized    savage  is  seen  with  Miguel  (her  boyfriend)    suited   up  ready  to  work  and  be  civilized  yet  J.  Cole  has  the  time  to   kill  him  and  be  the  savage.  Finally  it  could  be  seen  that   Miguel  is  a  strong  character  he  is  oblivious  to  the  fact  this   man  is  after  his  girlfriend  and  he  continues  with  life.  J.  Cole   is  weak  in  two  ways  he  is  influenced  by  love  so  much  he   commits  murder  and  he  is  left  powerless  by  Miguel  so   resorts  to  killing  him.  
  • 19. Performance   There  is  hardly  any  performance  aspect  to  this  video   apart  from  the  occasional  lip  synch.  The  videos  sole   The  one  time  we  see  Miguel  (alive)  he  is  seen  singing  in   the  mirror  yet  this  is  the  only  performance  aspect   really.  Additionally  we  see  J.  Cole  sing  once  when  he  is   outside  this  girls  house  it  could  be  said  that  they  have   the  girl  in  common  and  she  is  worth  singing  about.    
  • 20. Balance  of  narrative  and   performance   The  balance  is  strongly  towards  the  narrative  side  we   see  hardly  any  performance.  The  whole  video  is  based   around  a  story  which  is  entirely  evolved  around  the   lyrics  of  the  song.  This  had  to  be  intentional,  so  there   could  be  a  few  reasons  this  was  done  first  of  all  J.  Cole   wanted  you  to  focus  on  the  story,  he  wanted  it  to  be   told  with  no  interruptions  of  performance.  Further   more  the  reason  this  was  done  could  be  because  he   wanted  a  closed  narrative  you  are  not  meant  to  think   about  it  to  much  just  go  along  with  his  representation.    
  • 21. Overall  opinion   The  video  is  effective  and  fulfills  its  purpose.  In  this   clip  there  is  not  any  point  where  the  lyrics  are  not   illustrated  and  amplified  by  the  visuals.  Everything  we   see  is  linked  to  the  lyrics  and  the  story  that  is  being   told.  Lighting  in  this  video  is  key  to  its  success  the   lights  in  each  section  and  setting  of  the  video  amplify   the  mood.  Additionally  the  video  does  a  good  job  of   selling  J.  Cole  to  the  audience  we  see  him  all  the  time   and  we  empathise  with  him.  He  allows  the  audience  to   relate  to  his  story  although  not  many  people  would   commit  the  crime  he  does  in  this  video  they  still  relate   to  his  emotions.