Video Review: Tinashe & A$AP Rocky “Pretend”

A man opens the passenger side door of a car and gets inside.

Outside, amidst the mountains and penny-tinged rivers, she stands on a rock, conflicted. By the billowing smoke, A$AP Rocky folds his hands together in regret.

In high school, she and her high school boyfriend had a loving relationship. She would study in the library, taking notes. He would come up beside her and kiss her on the cheek. Winding rivers through the mountains follow.

As books fall, they share a passionate kiss. However, he would go to strip club with his friends and toss whatever little money that he made at them. While on the mountain, she turns her head to her shoulder, the pain still stinging.

In her room, wearing a red top with Revolution on it, she stands by a window and glances outside.

While he and a random girl have sex in a bathroom, a fire burns in the background, the final embers of their once loving relationship. The next day at school, he walked up to her in the commons area and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Her friends say goodbye. She glances at A$AP Rocky, as he walks away, feeling guilty and wishing she could act on her emotions for him.

Over a blaring boombox, her boyfriend hears a knock at the door. When he sees her, he puts his arm on her back as they say hello. Then, a car pulls up and pauses. Both look at it.

At the strip club, A$AP Rocky confronts her current boyfriend, who is burying his head in a stripper’s breasts and climbing over him.

Standing by an ocean, Tinashe and A$AP Rocky stand, looking at each other, their history continuing to be the elephant in the room.

In a darkened room, her boyfriend smokes a cigarette. He stands on his own by the ocean, thinking of what he has to do. The seasons have changed and years have gone by, Tinashe waits in the cold, standing still in a snow storm.

At a party, her boyfriend meets up with her and gives her a hug when he finds her in the corner. He takes her by the hand and they walk down the street. She enters a building. He stands outside and lights his cigarette. He looks at his watch, noticing she has been gone for a long time and goes inside the building. He walks past the stacked chairs and tables. Once he hits an empty room, two hooded men grab him as Tinashe waits by a car. She watches them push him inside car. The man closes the passenger door.


Rating: 4.5/5

Although the video relies too much on murky landscapes to set a dystopian mood, it takes an unorthodox approach to the usual high school romance scenario.

The dystopian aspect of it makes it larger than life, creating an intriguing world outside the high school. The neighborhood seems normal but there’s something slightly off about it at the same time.

Nonetheless, after realizing her boyfriend is cheating, she takes out a hit on him. Then he disappears inside the ominous car that has been present throughout. Who exactly is in the car? What constitutes as a murderous offense? Are women held up in high regard in the new society? There are many questions and hardly any answers. It takes a usual over-the-top revenge tactic in any other video and normalizes it. It’s implied cheating is now a crime and punishable by poison, maybe? The underdevelopment of the world works, as it adds mystery and keeps people on edge, not knowing what really is going on.

Director: Jodeb  Year: 2014

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