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Fabolous, “Got That Work”
Fabolous is in shadow. Behind him, and because he’s just a silhouette, also through him, kind of, smeary New York City-at-night footage rushes past. It’s like the on-drugs-at-night montage from a ’60s movie, except you can see the Times Square Applebee’s flash past at one point. Clock faces. LEDs reading 12:56. Fabolous holds his head. What a night. Fabolous says he’s tired. Fabolous says he’s not as tired as he is horny, though. Fabolous says there’s a sign hanging over his dick that says “Help Wanted.” Onscreen credit: “Visualized by Aristotle.” When the girl on the hook sings “Fall through and get on it,” the lower half of her face eats up the scenery behind him, like he can’t forget her lips and the way she almost taunted him.

Lights up: We can see Fabolous now. He’s on a blank, white stage. He’s wearing two gold necklaces and a sweatshirt that says “WOMEN RUINED MY LIFE.” He says, “Going through my iPhone, full of girls that iBone.” As he thumbs through his contacts we see the girls flash past on the left as on a scrolling menu, with little Apple logos next to their names. Amanda. Ashley. Jenny. Kayla. Lauren. Various ethnicities/degrees of “thickness.” He debates calling Joanna or Dominique, or Jasmine (“On a scorecard, I give her ass 10,” he says, holding up a scorecard with a 10 on it), or (what the hell, it’s late, right?) Brittany. Over his shoulder these little tableaux appear where another Fabolous is doing different, hypothetical, freaky things to each girl. Sometimes Emoji-style icons also pop up to illustrate the lyrics when there’s a lyric that can be illustrated by an Emoji. For Dominique, who was initially Fabolous’s personal trainer but now just has sex with him a few times a week, a flexed bicep. The Emojis wink and leer and make kissy faces.

The idea of putting Fabolous on an Apple-store-white Holodeck backdrop, interacting with blips and booty models while browsing his ass-options menu, might have been a workaround for Fabolous not being able to carve out time for an extensive location shoot (i.e, speedboat chase, prison riot, sexy Spanish Inquisition torture room, etc.), but it makes the video at least seem smart about the context it’s going to be watched in — a window open on a screen with other windows, with new-mail alerts and text messages popping up as additional percussion. Anyway: Some of the girls are freakier than others, but they all have qualities. Fabolous mentions no one’s drawbacks; it’s clear he expects a better-than-OK night no matter whom he decides to call, that there are no wrong answers in his phone. The hook and the night-chase backdrop repeat, and we get a few seconds to appreciate the trap-rap-set on-stun backing track, which is by Jahlil Beats. (Ask your niece about him!) Then it’s back to Fabolous, still tired/horny, still with that HELP WANTED sign out, still scrolling through girls. So this is Fabolous doing Jay-Z’s “Girls, Girls, Girls,” basically. But Jay-Z delivered that entire song with a wink that put even those on-paper effed-up references to his “Indian squaw” (#yuck) calling him “Chief Lots-a-Dough” over as affectionate, whereas Fabolous can’t not make angry faces. The late-night-creep song, as a genre, demands a more ingratiating delivery/screen presence than he’s able or willing to summon up here. You need to feel like the creeper can’t help it in order to believe that he’s just teasing and not an actual creep. And Fabolous doesn’t seem like he’s enjoying trying girls on the way Jay did, honestly. He seems like he’s just doing it because he can. Too much choice becomes a kind of drudgery. He should probably just go to sleep; we know it, Fabolous knows it. If he has sex tonight it’s going to be an act of protest against sleep. I guess maybe at the end he seems to have decided to call the Dominican girl who’s posing with the Dominican flag like it’s a game-show prize. He says Dominican girls are the baddest ones and makes a my-heart-belongs-to-you gesture with his hands. But let’s be honest. He probably isn’t going to call anybody. This is, maybe, a video about that moment, usually long after midnight, when going through your phone thinking about which distraction to pursue next has become a pursuit in and of itself, which means it’s dramatizing a feeling we still don’t totally have a name for. Is it in spite of the fact that life gives us all a menu of options as varied and enticing as Fabolous’s retinue of jump-offs that we remain (metaphorically) at home, tired and horny? Or because of it?