A spiritual leader is abducted and taken to prison by masked authorities. She is forced, Clockwork Orange-style, to watch rapidly moving images of French fries, prescription pills and idyllic homes in an effort to brainwash her out of her current revolutionary mind-set. So begins Lupe Fiasco’s latest video, “Words I Never Said,” a politically charged new clip that doubles down on the song’s provocative lyrics.
Clad in black combat boots and a dark hoodie, Lupe commandeers a bus’s PA system to rail against government officials before getting hauled off to an interrogation room. After facing a tribunal of ambassadors from the U.S., France and Israel, among others, an imprisoned Lupe plots his escape and plans how to free his leader. That’s when the kung fu starts.
You’ll have to watch the video to find out if his escape mission is successful, but we can tell you it ends with the MC’s Lasers Manifesto, an 160-word exhortation demanding, in part, that “the invisible walls that separate by wealth, race & class be torn down… We want an end to the processed culture of exploitation, over-consumption & waste.”
Whatever you think of the message, the video, directed by Moroccan-American filmmaker Sanaa Hamri, is an artistic triumph, blending elements of a dystopian future with recognizable present grievances. The idea of suppressing the individual and railing against authoritative forces reminds us of M.I.A.’s “Born Free,” which debuted one year ago this week. Coincidence?
+ Watch Lupe Fiasco’s “Words I Never Said” video below.