In their music video for the new single “They Don’t Love You,” MJG and 8Ball are leaving the big props like flashy cars, stacks of cash, and scantily clad ladies out of the equation entirely, instead highlighting the Orpheum Theater – perhaps the perfect backdrop for their throwback jam – as a base for their operations. 8Ball and MJG are channeling a lot of G-funk vibes with the structure of the hook in this single, but don’t think you’re sitting in on a retro slow jam exclusively in this release. This feels like as much of a commentary on the current state of hip-hop as it does a tribute to the old school, which is a hard combination to reconcile in any pop single these days.
The concept for the music video is the same as the song – keep it simple, keep it true to the culture, and the rest will fall into place. Truth be told, it’s a formula I readily endorse, and the authentic presentation of the narrative against a barebones setting is proof of its credibility. Rap has become the biggest genre on the planet for a reason, and it’s got a lot to do with the poetic foundations of its first wave, all of which appear to be represented in some capacity or another visa “They Don’t Love You.”
Lyrical allusions to posers and the banality they contribute to hip-hop’s greater aesthetic make for quite the interesting subtext to the beat in this single, but don’t get things twisted – the rhythm of the music will have you as captivated in “They Don’t Love You” as anything 8Ball or MJG have to say at the microphone. This is about making full-bodied rap that doesn’t owe anything to singularities, and from what I can tell as a critic and a fan of this genre in general, they’re hitting the mark they set for themselves.
It’s often said that there are no retrospective looks in pop music that are worth addressing as contemporary experiments, but whoever falls back on this notion needs to go out of their way to hear what 8Ball and MJG are doing with a track like “They Don’t Love You.” As a producer, MJG gives us a showcase in this performance that is bound to score him more work with other players in the industry, while the collaborative chemistry between both of these rappers truly does speak for itself.