August Alsina’s new album, Testimony, is a journey. It’s a rickety ride through his native N’awlins blocks, reflecting on his hard knock life (love and lust included). While listening to the album, you might feel like the 21-year-old singer is your swagged-out, tatted-up tour guide showing off the city that made him the man he is today. As August admits on “FML,” “Live ain’t easy in the Easy.”
With Testimony blasting, VIBE combs through the LP for the most cinematic quotables to stitch together our own extended video script. Strap on your seat belt and take a ride with August. It gets real. —Ishaw Thorpe
Scene 1: August Alsina scoops you from Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport for a nighttime tour of the hood that raised him. Even when you roll down the tinted windows, you can see the darkness of the NOLA streets.
“In the back of the tracks/my niggas stay with the packs… We stayed in the trap/everyday in the trap… when we was riding down, dippin’ low, I stayed in the back…” —“Testify”
“I done dodged a couple shots/served a couple blocks/hit a couple corners, tryna shake a couple cops…” —“Make It Home”
“I was right there… I remember nights there where I had to go to sleep in the back of the Quick and Easy, chillin’ on the boulevard… with niggas from the 7th Ward…” —“Right There”
“I’m scared of hello, I ain’t scared of goodbye…even when I’m up, I’m feeling down…I grew up in the jungle…A lot of niggas never make it…” —“FML”
Scene 2: August’s reflective thoughts are interrupted when he spots a former acquaintance—a cute, curvy redbone named Shanice—pumping her own diesel. He swerves into the gas station, hops out and volunteers to take the nozzle. She’s eying his chain and biting her lip as August spits that G, but he quickly reminds her that he can’t be her Superman.
“I was just your nigga next door, but girl I see more for you… you deserve to laugh, you deserve to smile. You deserve better…” —“You Deserve”
“Pop a couple bands with a nigga like me… drink a couple of drinks with a nigga like me, you’ll prolly go insane with a nigga like me… ain’t no lovin’ me” —“No Love”
Scene 3: August sees Shanice back into her coupe and puts his number into her phone. Feeling playful, he insists on detouring to his favorite hometown strip club. Here, he takes a particular interest in “Crystal.” They get to talking and August starts feeling like T-Pain, trapped in the allure of a stripper. Eventually, they disappear into a back room…
“What you do and what I do ain’t different, we both on a mission…I know how hard this shit can be when income is uncertain, hustlin’ just to make a way…” —“Grind & Pray/Get Ya Money”
“Show them tattoos when you switch it up with yo J’s on…if they lock me down, I know I’d see you…” —“Ghetto”
“I ain’t never been the jealous type of guy, but I want you to myself. I can’t lie…them pretty eyes and that smile, girl I’m a fool for that… —“Kissing On My Tattoos”
“I don’t think you know you’re that fine…you may be that one. With a body like that, you’ll start a riot…” —“Ah Yeah”
“When I lay back, shorty don’t know how to act… she take it like a G…she ain’t scared…” —“Porn Star”
Scene 4: The sun is scraping the skyline by the time you leave the club. Nearly sobered up, August cruises back to his old crib, where his mother is up making tea. They share a tender moment where he thanks her for raising him. The tour of New Orleans is done, and it’s almost time for you to head back home. But not before August opens up his heart once more and says a short a short prayer for his beloved big bro.
“But now it’s my turn to show you how far they brought me…mama I made it and I hope I made you proud…” —“Mama”
“So many nights I tried to hide how I felt, I would cry inside…It didn’t kill me, so it made me strong…Our father who art in heaven, I pray you free me from my demons and keep me leveled. I know you kept me out of prison, where I was headed when I heard somebody killed my brother. 187. I hope he made it to your brethrens, for me he was a blessing…” —“Benediction”
August Alsina’s debut album, Testimony is available for purchase on iTunes.