Directed by Hannah Lux Davis, the Michael Jordan-inspired video was shot shortly after the 2013 VMAs and takes place in a high school. The clip kicks off with a prank on the principal, which leads to producer Mike Will and his crew taking over the school.
And although Cyrus isn’t naked in the video, she does bare lots of skin as she walks into a girls’ bathroom sporting a bikini decorated in Jordan’s famous Chicago Bulls red-and-black. After lighting up a cigarette, Miley writes the number 23 on a mirror in red lipstick, which prompts Mike Will to get on the loudspeaker and start playing the track.
From there, Cyrus — who seems to rule the school — struts her stuff into a pep rally, apparently taking her cues from one of Wiz Khalifa’s lines in the song, because, yes, she sticks her tongue out like she’s Jordan throughout the clip. (Wiz, for his part, is seen cooking up something in a chemistry lab.)
After Juicy J lays down his verse in the school’s weight room, the foursome reunite on a basketball court, with Cyrus waving her infamous VMA foam finger. The scene is intercut with shots of Miley sitting on top of a basketball hoop, rocking her J’s and holding a bedazzled, silver basketball.
While the star of MTV’s October 2 documentary, “Miley: The Movement,” showed off her twerking skills in the video for the Mike Will-produced “We Can’t Stop,” the pair decided to highlight her rapping for “23.” “I’m in the club high off purp with some shades on/ Tatted up, miniskirt with my J’s on,” she rhymes.
“I’m definitely not a rapper. It’s my rapping. It’s my own ‘swag’ — I hate that word,” Cyrus told MTV News. “But it’s just the only way I can really describe it, it’s just kind of my own thing where it’s not really rapping, it’s just kind of on my own thing. It’s just kind of on my own sh–.”
But it turns out Miley nearly wasn’t featured on the lead single from Mike Will’s upcoming album. The producer admitted to MTV News he was a bit skeptical at first about how well she could rap. “She told my engineer, ‘Turn the mike on,’ and she went in the booth, then she laid down the verse, and she killed it,” Mike explained. “[So I] left her on there. She killed it — all swagged up.”
Miley is still gearing up for her upcoming Bangerz LP, which will be released on October 8. She performed the album’s second single, “Wrecking Ball,” during an emotional appearance at the iHeart Radio Music festival in Las Vegas.