The song “Crooked Smile” By J. Cole is about believing in yourself and not worrying about what other people think. The songs lyrics talk about embracing your flaws and not worrying what people think of you. He uses the lyrics to send a message that society is trying to tear young black people down, specifically women. In the song he says

”wonder why half our race is either on probation or in jail wonder why we inhale cause we in hell already I ask if my skin pale would I then sale like eminem or adele.”

He uses the original music video to send a different message about the governments war on drugs and specifically the innocent people that are lost in the war. In this post I will specifically look at the live performances from iHeartRadio Music Festival, and a live performance on the Letterman Show.

iHeart Radio Music Festival

In this Live performance Cole welcomes TLC who he grew up listening to and was a huge inspiration to the Black community. The Live performance feels very exciting and energetic and almost sounds like there “Turning up” in the face of people trying to tear them down.

Letterman Show

Growing up I would glue myself to the TV  just to see the musical guest. At the time I thought it was the coolest thing to be able to see an artist preform live without any auto tune getting in the way. The one thing that always stood out to me was Hip hop Artists always preformed as good or better then there studio recorded version.

During the release of the song tensions between police and the black community were only growing. After the relaese of the song we saw many police brutality cases that sparked protest around the Country. Being from Baltimore I experienced this first hand when Freddie Gray was wrongfully killed in police custody.