By Courtney E. Smith
If Jasmine V (for Villegas) looks familiar to you, it’s because this isn’t her first music video.
At age 10 she was an angel in the original version of Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks.” At age 16 she played Justin Bieber’s love interest in “Baby” (the video’s been viewed over 1 billion times so let’s not pretend you weren’t one of those).
And now, at 20, she’s finally got her own video, a very grown-up pairing with Kendrick Lamar in South Central L.A.
The heavy, ominous track and the voice singing it don’t always match up with the visuals presented by Villegas. There’s a soft, cleanliness to her persona that she only seems able to shake for a moment here and there, but overall is so ingrained that every time she even hints at cracking a smile she looks so much younger than her years and like this approachable person totally at odds with the scenes into which she’s inserted.
There is no storyline to speak of, other than the basic romance-in-progress. The couple isn’t unhappy, but they are clearly meant to be lower income and ethnic. The video is meant to be a showpiece for Villegas, letting us take a look at her style on a first single but everything reads like an overstep for her bubbly nature.
Doesn’t stop the song from being catchy as catchy can be.
Villegas follows this with an EP due out this fall.