Everything and everyone looks so, so good in Meek Mill’s “Going Bad” music video, directed by Kid Art. Seeing that this is Meek’s first video since being released, he obviously wanted to show out. The video is star studded, featuring the showrunners Meek and Drake, along with T.I., Nipsey, and PnB Rock, all dressed in designer suits. The video’s black and red color scheme, tied with the location -- what looks like a gothic themed museum -- reveal a dark allure. The all-male cast, dressed to the tens, embody the theme of the song itself - being powerful, present, and dangerous.
Since the music video acts as an official signal of Meek and Drake’s reunion, one of the most important things to focus on is the interaction between the two. The video opens with around 30 men in suits striding through two large doors. Some of the men run ahead, while the camera utilizes a close up shot to focus on Meek. He is centered in the frame and walking calmly, revealing that he is the clear leader of the group. Drake is then revealed next to Meek, on the right. He also walks calmly and then confidently begins his verse. This demonstrates some sort of position of power in the world of this video. Drake and Meek spend some time in the video with each other. A dining scene reveals the two on opposite ends at the heads of the table. A gambling scene shows the group of men watching horses race, betting stacks of money, and Drake and Meek trading watches. There is even a scene where the two race expensive cars right toward each other, and crash. This highlights a high level of camaraderie between the two, which is interesting to watch as they were involved in a high profile rap beef some time ago. However, that is clearly all in the past, with Meek even saying in his verse: “Me and Drizzy back-to-back, it's gettin' scary (Back-to-back)”, referencing the diss track, “Back-to-Back,” Drake made towards him. The group of men themselves, all gathered either in some grand room, or at a luxurious dinner table, portray a united front from their gathering. The Going Bad video not only visualizes the redemption of Drake and Meek’s relationship, but also reveals that both have the support of other players in their field, like T.I., Nipsey, Common and Pnb Rock. All of this comes together to assert a powerful united presence.
The video’s use of close ups and random photographs helps craft the theme of danger and power. Very often in the music video, Drake or Meek is alone, with the camera framing their faces in a close up. The backdrop for these close ups are usually made up of a dark tone, emphasizing the “dangerous” theme. One of Drake’s settings, for example, is completely dark, and he wears a jet-black coat. That, along with his black hair and full black beard, gives him an attractive and dangerous aura. The allusion of being dark and dangerous increases as he sings, “Still goin' bad on 'em anyway, Saw you last night, but did it broad day.” Several of Meek’s scenes have the camera floating around him, where he is again in a dark setting. Throughout the video, there are several instances where a photo pops up. There are pictures of Meek in an all red suit, with money thrown across the floor; there are pictures of Drake and Meek together, where an emphasis is placed on their suits and watches; there are pictures of the men with the pair, especially of their jewelry and tattoos; and finally there are single shots of Drake and Meek separately. The purpose of using these seemingly random photos is to create an atmosphere of exclusivity. The men in this video are at a special, private gathering. The meeting is so exclusive that they have a professional photographer taking behind the scenes photos that will later be released to the public, as there is no evidence of any other outside contact.
Finally, the video’s use of mise en scène, or visual theme, through the employment of color scheme and dramatic scenes with complete stops in music, creates an opulent persona for each of the members in the video. The color scheme of black and red stays consistent throughout the entire video. This is apparent first in the music video’s opening. The camera employs wide shots of the city and of the ceiling of the room they are in, with the echo of Meek and Drake’s voice in the background, and the sounds of helicopters. The names ‘MEEK’ and ‘DRAKE’ appear on the screen, in blood red, bolded and in all caps. Then the scene abruptly cuts to a black screen, halting all sound, until, once more in blood red, the title ‘going bad’ fades in, as the music returns. This creates a sort of horror movie feel, and adds to the dangerous atmosphere of the characters. Meek later appears in a blood red coat, in the exact same scene where he and Drake race toward and crash into each other. The employment of the dramatic car crash scene before Meek’s verse is an example of the video’s dangerous aura, being that the music completely stops as the two men crash into each other. The camera pans out to show a wide shot of the cars as their fronts are destroyed and their rears lifted. In the middle of Meek’s verse, another complete music pause occurs, where all the men are sitting at the table, drinking, and it appears Meek is signing something. This again ties into the video’s theme of power.
Going Bad is almost 5 minutes of great camera angles and shots. You can watch the video over and over, as the song itself molds with the video so well. The theme of creating mini movies in music videos is fully accomplished here. The video marks an end to the Drake and Meek rap beef, but will this newfound bromance cause a new one?