I despise rainy days. What I loathe a tad more than precipitate weather are rappers that bank their style on tip drills a.k.a. "Makin' It Rain." Fortunately, there is an abundant supply of substantial hip-hop music videos in these recent days. A proper THRSDYTHRWDWN is founded on the notion of dope beats, sage lyrics, and hype visuals. Here we go.
Alright, alright. It was mentioned not less than a tweet's length earlier that vapid rap music would be avoided. But I REALLY REALLY REALLY enjoy G-Eazy. And Carnage? And a twisty drum kit underneath? AND hot bods? C'mon, I'm a dude. AND THERE'S A ZEBRA. Plus, this video makes me long for warm weather with icy refreshments. On a critical note, admire the effective use of horizontal trucking and hard cuts. I can not think of a better display of the cinematographic "magic hour." We can all be certain the gaffer on set enjoyed it more than we do viewing it.
If I were to describe Kami de Chukwu's angle based on his rap scheme and this music video, I would label it Dadaist Lyricism. It is a good time to revive artistic embellishment with the extent of technology today. "Ig'nant" is to videos as mash-ups are to music. Taking exciting clips of found footage and close camera shots, it is an uneasy act absorbing the information overload. Watching multiple times, I identified Videodrome, Pi, Alice In Wonderland, The Holy Mountain, and maybe American History X. Someone has excellently eclectic taste in obscure cinema.
Aloe Blacc will not disappoint. Thus, it is a very simple choice to click through and witness Dag Savage at work. The tune is a sonic embrace. I have yet to decipher the snippets of fuzzy pool diving footage, but the visuals are facilitated by the location and environment. A gospel sound matched with rain creates a heavy theme that plays well with the lyrics. Filmed inside a quaint house adds more layers to this dominantly bluesy-blue music video. While there are superficial entries like 2Chainz "Birthday Song," a video such as "When It Rains," is a spiritually uplifting counter-point.
Third3ye is a relative unknown, but what is not vaguely masked are the beats here. The samples are direct from my b-boy days, fully enhanced by video effects that may have been from that era, too. Those post-production techniques are quite provocative in their under-use. While bigger names will employ some annoyingly synced frame smashes, "Moments" takes it to a relatively chill stoner level that gives us a hazy, nostalgia-laden screen.
Das Racist is kaput. Moving on. Perhaps Heems' "Soup Boys" should have been placed back-to-back with Kami de Chukwu. The use of found footage is slightly trumped by the rapper being inserted via green screen technology over the imagery. Even though the track knocks, there is a serious statement within the verse. The message is book-ended by the P.O.T.U.S. sound byting use of military force. Juxtapose that with scenes of faith and we viewers are brought back into reality, magically guided by a geo-politically cognizant lyricist.
Papa J looks duper drashed HIGH in this vid. No worries, he has eloquent flow. In some ways, the m/v for "Thoughts of George" is an update of older hip-hop videos that relied on less equipment. Anytime I see mildly visceral camera work, I think back on those days when videos were commonly filmed with shoulder-mounted gear. It is amazing to see that lighting can transform mood into a contemporary or anachronistic scene. On the topic of scene, Papa J is within the underground L.A. rap realm, and seeing an intimate setting like a basement or garage does not get any deeper.
My guess is this music video for Serengeti aimed at a happy balance of meme-worthy antics by a playful greyhound with hip-hop excellence. It is straight-forward. I want a dog and a backyard big enough for it to romp in :-/
I was thinking about "Ms. Fat Booty" by Mos Def when I saw this music video for "Couple Bars". In my head, I thought 'this would be a modern scenario for that Mos joint.' Hip-Hop has a mysterious way of dislodging memories better than strong scents or photographs. What Homeboy Sandman does entertainingly well here is weaving a narrative like Slick Rick of yore. The story is framed without reliance on slapstick punchlines, just dogged sincerity.
Uptown XO puts it down for the charged streets of D.C. With that in mind, the video clearly hints at the flash and veneer of the Cap, but the gritty black and white reminds us there is still dirt beneath the surface. Altogether, the music video is typical fare in the hip-hop music video world: rapping at the camera, women, narrative snippets. What is most exciting about "Flowers" would be the promise of an emcee coming up in the game justified by his intent.
Looking past the designer clothes and accessories, we are treated to a stripped down journey of a rapper, complete with anthem. What we know as hip-hop music is fueled by realistic portrayals of life with any modicum of celebrity. That said, the individual expression thereof is the debatable subject. Having an old Mercedes in a desolate place and rapping about E&J brandy is a fascinating way to proclaim street cred.
Deniro Farrar and Blue Sky Death. Psuedonyms get wilder with each rapper. I am not sure how to approach this video. Two black guys in camo and boonie hats. Actually, I kinda get it. Rather than perpetrating the gangsta paradigm, the characters are redressed as soldiers who act as the strong-arm of the truly largest gang in the world. Maybe.
And then there is The Black Opera. I am a great fan of parodies and clever reinterpretations of pop music. Mos Def (there goes the second reference to Yasiin Bey), has done a series of refixes of club bangers, and I am overjoyed to see a poignant take on A$AP Rocky's track. In the music video department, this is a solid candidate for the coveted "THIS IS MY SH!T" award of the season. Using the fundamentals of rap videos, particularly the emcee close-up and background action, presents a near-complacent scenario of excess (he even says "mollywop"). It is not irony as it is accusational. What a red herring, but thats what a good B-Story is for. Well done.