Drake’smelancholic booty call elegy “Hotline Bling” finally got a visual accompaniment Monday when the 6 God and Director X dropped a music video filled with phone sex operators and emotionally vivid solo Drizzy dance moves.
It’s one of his most languorous videos yet, in keeping with the summer hit Drake released back in July. Back then, the Meek Mill one-two punch of “Charged Up” and “Back to Back” took center stage (along with his PowerPoint-aided decimation of Nicki’s bf).
But the pensive “Hotline Bling,” produced by Nineteen85 with a rainy day sample of Timmy Thomas’s percussive 1972 single “Why Can’t We Live Together?” has since ascended so high, it’s already No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is tied with 2009’s “Best I Ever Had” as his best performing single to date.
The video makes playful nods to Spike Lee’s Girl 6, opening with a line about erotic foot play in a call center full of girls working the phones, a reference to the song’s 1-900-inspired title. The fluctuating palette also hearkens to that film’s use of color to reflect its heroine’s inner emotional turmoil. That keeps things moving as the relatively simple video cuts to four-plus minutes of Drake dancing as pastel lighting washes over him, gyrating in melancholic agony (was that The Carlton?!) and mostly by himself in a modulating landscape, against white spaces with angled walls.
I like to imagine Drake strolling through visual artist James Turrell’s emo-hued light installations at LACMA (as he did last year, commemorated as all high art is best commemorated, in Instagram selfie form) as he explains to Director X how he feels when that hotline bling. Because that can only mean one thing: JUST… GOTTA… CHA CHA.
Turrell’s retrospective of color and light works isn’t the only nod to highbrow expression in “Hotline Bling.” Its primary set, centered around an all-white staircase that’s decorated first with posing ladies and then with a contemplative Drake in his third casual costume of the video, looks to be inspired by the grand staircase located within Frankfurt’s Staedel Museum or Big Sean's “Blessings” video. Or maybe it’s just a slick modern architectural metaphor a set designer dreamed up, tempting Drake to climb up into an inviting pink-hued pleasure cave of no return symbolizing his ex? The pop charts? His art world future?