Chris Brown has finally dropped the video for his second single off his forthcoming album, X, after teasing the Internet with behind the scenes footage back in May. As previously reported, the song is titled “Don’t Think They Know” and features previously-unheard vocals from Aaliyah, which are weaved throughout the chorus and bridge as almost a duet with Brown.
The video, directed by Brown, opens with a statistic on gun violence and quote about peace from Christopher (Brown, not known as CB, as the video text clarifies). The footage is all black and white and the first half features added color exclusively in red and blue — an obvious nod to the Bloods and the Crips, whose violence has long dominated the location in Compton, Calif. where Brown shot the video. But the video isn’t a condemnation. To the contrary, Brown tweeted during the video’s filming last month that he meant it to give love back to the ‘hood (though not his or Aaliyah’s ‘hood, as Brown is from Virginia and Aaliyah was born in Brooklyn and raised in Detroit).
In addition to shots in Compton, the video also features stage sets of Brown dancing while a projection of Aaliyah joins him on screens in the background. Then Brown and an army of hoodie-wearing men with matching gold chains do a dance routine while Brown flashes silver vampire/zombie/alien/inhuman eyes. How those two conceits relate to the theme of unity is unclear, unless it conveys a True Blood-like sentiment to embrace all types of creatures, human and non.
Brown took to Twitter last week to let his fans know the video would be dropping today and explain the premise.
The new single is apart of my “UNITY CAMPAIGN” which encourages all races, genders, sexes, (everyone) gay or straight to love each other!
— Chris Brown (@chrisbrown) June 13, 2013
Brown’s X drops July 16 on RCA.