No living person on earth has ever packed as much I saw you coming from miles away and who you finna try into a single “mhmmm” as Phylicia Rashad. Her mom wrath is Mike Tyson’s right hook, Bruce Lee’s crane kick, or prime Shaq in the low post: beautiful, devastating, wholly insurmountable. You, like Drake — and whoever else has had the misfortune of crossing Rashad at any point in the past 35 years or so, in real life or onscreen — are an exasperated and helpless Chris Dudley.
If you missed it Thursday night in the morass of new music — a new YG album, a new Travis Scott album, and 51 new Lil Uzi Vert demos that randomly washed up on the shores of SoundCloud — Drake finally dropped the skepticism-destroying video for “In My Feelings.” It is eight minutes long, and it is over too soon. I love it.
There’s no title card, but within seconds we are very obviously in New Orleans. There are rolling shots peeking over the wall of the Crescent City Connection Bridge out onto the bank towers downtown; the Creole townhouses bathed in the warm glow of gas lamps; the Mercedes-Benz Superdome standing above Poydras Street, alight with royal purples and golds.
Then smooth cut: out jumps Drake from a black Escalade, wearing a LeFlore High Rattlers DeMarcus Cousins jersey. AND GOLD FRONTS.
“In My Feelings” begins as a romantic comedy, and the plot is fairly simple: Drake is trying to bag La La Anthony. Drake also tries on a New Orleans accent, and as it happens, he’s hilariously adept at it. Waving his hands for emphasis; using yerrrrrme (“you heard me?” squished together, not exactly posed as a question) in place of punctuation; backing up into sincerity with a well-placed I’m sayin’ though.
Just as you begin to wonder who he thinks he is, out comes Phylicia Rashad onto the balcony to tell Drake to get his Jordans (I take it the Adidas partnership isn’t happening now) off her walkway and back to his mama’s house, with all that noise. “And don’t forget to go when you leave.” Without looking, it’s the most endearing a product placement has ever been.
The next five minutes feel like they’re over in a few blurry seconds: Drake does rap hands in front of the Lil Wayne mural in Hollygrove, then at a table in Gene’s Po-Boys on Elysian Fields Avenue; happy faces sip from tall daiquiris and hold tight to the weekend in front of Electric Ladyland Tattoo on Frenchmen, and Dat Dog in Marigny. Somewhere in there are Saints running back Alvin Kamara, the gleefully triumphant Storyville Stompers Brass Band, Shiggy (without whom this video doesn’t happen) dancing goofily on a streetcar, Yung Miami wearing an airbrushed “Free JT” shirt honoring the locked-down other half of City Girls, and finally Big Freedia, who was conspicuously absent from the “Nice for What” video, presiding over a jook joint. The end credits feature a long supercut of fans doing the Shiggy Challenge. Again, Drake covers all the bases.
It’s safe to say at this point that Karena Evans — who was an intern for Director X when he masterminded the GIFed-to-oblivion “Hotline Bling” video — is the best thing to ever happen to Drake’s visual output. This is the fourth in a string of videos that have made Drake eminently likable — also including the charity of “God’s Plan”; the female empowerment of “Nice for What”; the nostalgia of “I’m Upset” — and diverted public attention from other things like, you know, having been atomized by Pusha-T. “The Story of Adidon” feels so long ago now, and — if two men doing the Shiggy in a rice paddy is any indication — “In My Feelings” is going to be around forever. Pusha won on the rap front, but Drake wins ad infinitum.