Over the years, there have only been a few hip hop videos that are as iconic, ground breaking and as relevant as “Forever” is to true hip hop fans. The collection of A-list hip hop artists in this video is legendary, to say the least. When you have a collaboration between Drake, Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne and Eminem…rest assured you will hear some of the most creative and innovative hip hop music known to man. Don’t take my word for it. Even Jay-Z recognized the avant-garde brilliance of this collaborative effort, when he said “Forever” was one of the “best posse cuts of the year.”
What makes this video even more illustrious is that it is was made for a film that follows the meteoric rise of arguably the greatest basketball player of our time. “More Than a Game” is a 2008 documentary that walks the viewer through the trials and tribulations of LeBron James’ as he rises to the NBA fame he now enjoys. The film tells the story of LeBron and four of his fellow adolescent teammates. It delves into the story of how an unknown Ohio basketball team rose up and dominated the youth athletics of their time. You also get to see how LeBron’s future NBA stardom played a role in the life and activities of his young teammates. This film highlights some of the foundational principles found in modern hip hop.
One of the greatest things about hip hop is that it helps young people see that “making it” is possible. All four of the artists in “Forever” came from humble beginnings. They all share true-to-life stories of starting from nothing…only to build lives full of riches and fame. Their struggles and consequential successes bring hope and inspiration to even the most hardened urban city resident. Whether it is Eminem, who’s true life story of destitution was well documented in the movie “Eight Mile.” Or Lil’ Wayne, who grew up in the poverty-stricken neighborhood of Hollygrove, in New Orleans. Or Drake, who was also raised by a single mother in Toronto, Canada. They all built empires based on their ability to hustle, and create hip hop music that powerfully resonated with their audiences.
Seeing how these hip hop artists were able to make it, encourages and energizes young men and women across the globe. Whether they live in poverty, or live in a neighborhood where violence is the norm. Hip hop fans identify with, and strive to be just like the the artists in “Forever.” That is the heart and soul of true hip hop. It is showing people who struggle, that they too can create a life of wealth, security and freedom. All it takes is hard work, and a commitment to yourself and you will succeed!
The “Forever” video also conveys this positive hip hop message by showing the viewer that hard work really does pay off. This is evident throughout the video by way of the real life film footage of LeBron James. You are also shown pictures of a pre-teen LeBron sitting with his basketball team for group pictures. This tells you that he’s been “putting in work” for many, many years. There are also several videos of LeBron playing hoops throughout his entire childhood and teen years. These video clips show him playing ball at a very young age, as well as his time at St. Vincent-St. Mary’s as the standout high school player he was. There is even a brief scene where he is practicing with his team while they do shuttle-sprints on the court. The message throughout “Forever” is that LeBron didn’t just wake up and get drafted by the NBA, at the age of 19. He put in the work and he became successful. Success is possible. You just have to put in the work, and you too can be doing amazing things athletically, musically or whatever career path you choose. This is hip hop’s message!
Hip Hop specializes in showing off the accolades of success too. This is especially true in the opening scene of “Forever.” The video starts off with LeBron James opening up a custom Dr. Dre Beats laptop in the backseat of a $200,000 Maybach. He is nodding his head in agreement and smiling while he plays cards on PokerStars.com. Everything in this opening scene denotes luxury and sophistication. This message of wealth and prosperity is also found throughout the artists’ persona and message in “Forever.” This is hip hop’s way of telling young men and women that they too can achieve prosperity and success. They just have to work to get there, and someday they too could be enjoying their time in the back of a Maybach!
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