T.I. & Big K.R.I.T.’s New Video Shows Switching Lanes Might Just Get You Killed
2016 has been an explosive year. There have been a number of killings of unarmed citizens by police officers, often with little to no repercussions. Over the Summer, things reached a boiling point, as the deaths of Philando Castille and Alton Sterling within one day of one another caused mass protests across the nation and calls for boycotts to effect change. In Hip-Hop, many artists used their platforms to speak out against the ongoing injustice, with T.I. and Big K.R.I.T. making some of the most powerful artistic statements.
T.I. lit a powder keg in September, with the release of his “Warzone” video. The visual re-created some of the most high profile killings by the police over the last few years, but flipped the script, making the law officers Black and the victims White. He soon followed up the clip with the release of his Us Or Else EP. The entire project was dedicated to protesting the ongoing violence.
In October, Big K.R.I.T. took the stage at the BET Hip Hop Awards, dressed as a police officer, and delivered the most powerful performance of his career. His verse for “Might Not Be OK,” a Kenneth Whalum song on which K.R.I.T. was featured, detailed a police shooting where for the first half K.R.I.T rapped from the perspective of the victim and, in the second half, he took on the role of the officer. The performance was a breakout moment for the show and continues to be touted for its impact.
Now, T.I. has released an extended version of Us Or Else, with this one subtitled Letter To The System. The project adds 9 more songs of protest music. In addition to the expanded edition, T.I. has released the video for “Switchin’ Lanes,” which features his lyrical brother-in-arms, Big K.R.I.T.
Similar to “Warzone,” the video is painful to watch. It opens with a scene disturbingly similar to the Philando Castille shooting, which was broadcast on Facebook Live by his girlfriend, as her daughter looked on from the backseat. Later, K.R.I.T. and T.I. join the woman featured in the opening of the video, in a deja vu moment, and they are pulled over, seemingly for switching lanes. Once stopped, things go terribly wrong in their encounter with the police officer. Sadly, it feels far closer to fact than fiction.