MAVI Captures Childhood Innocence on 'Doves'

MAVI Captures Childhood Innocence on 'Doves'

MAVI's work is intensely biographical and existential, weaving together a tapestry that does its best to hold itself together. Nonetheless, it can burst at the seams. That's where the 22-year-old rapper's true magic lies.

Following 2019's Let The Sun Talk, MAVI refuses to succumb to a sophomore slump. His forthcoming album, Laughing So Hard It Hurts, expands upon his endless journey toward discovering what makes him whole. The Charlotte, North Carolina rapper shifts to adjust to the weight on his shoulders brought upon by capitalism, oppression and the overwhelming societal pressure to perform.

Whether ruminating on his self-worth or pondering the idea of raising children of his own, reflecting on relationships or penning heartfelt affirmations in the name of liberation, MAVI's ability to tell stories and pose questions extends far beyond his years. He allows himself to not have all the answers, finding just as much value in the journey.

In an exclusive PAPER premiere, MAVI shares the video for "Doves." He bends down to a child's level, addressing the trauma and eventual growth that has brought him to where he is today. As a young MAVI navigates a gorgeous sunlit home oblivious to his grown self in the margins, the silent communication of childlike naïveté, confusion and determination is still not lost in the eyes of an adult.

The Lonewolf-directed video features so many details that enhance MAVI's heartfelt lyricism. Light shines down into the attic, illuminating the dust that swirls in the air. The wooden floors echo a sense of familiarity from hearing the sound to feeling the splinters. The little boy crawls underneath the dining room table that at one point felt like a massive, secret kingdom. Old wicker chairs have holes that seem like they've always existed. MAVI and Lonewolf capture the familiarity and comfort of childhood innocence.

MAVI explained the video to PAPER further:

"The concept was just about how the song is really reflective and me assessing the damages and progress over me becoming a man, and stuff I’ve left in my wake – for better or for worse. We had young Jabari playing a young Mavi — we just used that conceptually to show remembrance as a concept.

The house really represented the isolation of remembrance, like the younger version of myself was the only person to go outside till the very end of the music video. It was like me interacting with my memories as a physical boundary. It was really fun to shoot and the entire crew was so helpful throughout the process.

The video was shot in Pasadena. I love working with Zac (Lonewolf) because he has a concrete vision that’s based on the interpretation of the lyrics, and it’s always fun to work with him because he pushes the boundaries of the track and increases the depth and understanding of the perspective of what I’m trying to say on the song with the video."

Below, watch the PAPER premiere of "Doves" by MAVI and preorder Laughing So Hard It Hurts ahead of its October 14 release here.

Photography courtesy of Wyeth Collins