Press play on this.
It’s a true skill to be able to say a lot without saying much at all. It won’t take you too long to get into the new “cycle of games” visual from ilham featuring Arin Ray and feel the raw emotion there. Simply sitting back-to-back in a broken-down looking house painted the picture of a relationship gone wrong, but the inability to figure out when and why. Like most love-torn individuals, it’s also very tough to let go.
The opening frame resembling an older film is an accurate depiction of the entire video, with elite videography coming from director Bobby Hanaford. There’s no eccentric effects, allowing both ilham and Ray to truly be the focal points. The New York songstress pours herself out on the hook, singing passionately “When did you even start lying? When did you start blurring the lines in? When did you start to think this was okay?” Damn. The type of questions that make someone on the outside looking in question their own actions.
She delivers two powerful verses, with that piercing hook in between, as the scene transitions from them being in the house to sitting in chairs outdoors. Arin pops up, responding to her inquiries with “What do you mean? I’m high but I really don’t drink, Outside is a few of your things, ‘Cause I’m tired of you trying me.” That “What do you mean?” question is a bold opener and often doesn’t yield a positive conversation after a significant other is expressing how distraught they are. Yikes.
While ilham appears hurt and dejected, Ray gives off a sense of defensiveness and exhaustion. “I swear I taught you better, Damn you too lost to find, I can’t really change your mind, You ain’t do shit with the time, Said thought you had shit on ziplock, Shit, Talking that shit just to get by.” He’s not exactly submitting, even if in the wrong and it ultimately keeps the cycle of games going for the two.
ilham has experienced a big buzz this year after the re-release of her EP 41-10. She got a placement for her track “none of your friend’s business” on the finale for HBO’s Insecure, over 800k streams on her video for “i don’t wanna be with you no more,” and just recently eclipsed 1 million Spotify streams for “cycle of games.” Not to mention the Dave East-assisted “Last Night.”
Fellas, keep in mind the games you might enjoy playing in relationships affect other people too. You don’t want someone like ilham calling you out on wax with such silky vocals and pointed lyricism. Check out the visual for “cycle of games” and be inspired to love better.