Warning! This video should come with a spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen the entirety of The Wire and plan to watch it some day, DO NOT watch the video. It contains key plot moments and spoilers.
Detroit emcee Finale has drawn inspiration from another rust belt city for his newest video, “The Senator,” from his spring-released, highly acclaimed A Pipe Dream And A Promise. Both the song and video are based largely on David Simon and HBO’s Baltimore epic The Wire. The Senator in question is State Senator Clay Davis, not one of the show’s main characters but certainly one of its most fascinating and divisive. Davis is an exploitative figure that acts as an intermediary between drug dealers and real estate developers, pocketing cash from both sides all the while. Finale uses Davis as a means of getting the point of the song across: calling out liars who are fronting as something they aren’t. The song opens with the line “I heard a lot of y’all talkin’ / A lot of you not walkin’.” Finale even manages to make Davis’ trademark exclamation “sheeeeeiiiiittttt” a centerpiece of the song’s chorus. The video seamlessly blends Finale’s Detroit with The Wire’s Baltimore and employs key scenes and lines from the show to carry across Finale’s punchlines.
The video is directed by Roy Miles Jr., who developed the vide concept along with Interdependent Media General Manager/A&R, iD. On working together to create the video, Finale says, “I shot the footage of myself rapping while I was on the west coast doing interviews and press runs with Interdependent Media. When I left town I told iD and Roy what season’s clip I used from The Wire. Roy and his assistant took the time to go through episodes of the show and find clips that synced up with various lines in the song. It’s kind of dope that they were able to find specific scenes that matched up with what i was saying in the song.”
The track, from Finale’s debut A Pipe Dream And A Promise, features production by Waajeed. Finale pulls off an impressive tightrope walk in the song’s lyrics. “The Senator” serves as a powerful call-out to those fronting as something they’re not while incorporating the themes and action of the world of The Wire. “We climbin’ up ladders and goin’ through the suits / It ain’t a game where the rappers hug and make up in order to take your books Iif it ain’t truth I don’t want it.” Finale couples a smooth flow with impressively dense lyricism that will have the listener appreciating a new line with each progressive listen.