RTJ’s latest visual effort accompanies their frantic and bouncy track Close Your Eyes (And Count To F**k) and like much of their output, is a distinct political statement.
This completely black and white video beautifully illustrates the futility of violence; A powerful message made even more poignant by its 2 main characters – the white cop, and the young black man. Run The Jewels have been key players in the ongoing debate within music/culture about race and police brutality. (Kendrick even mentions Killer Mike on his track Hood Politics from To Pimp A Butterfly)
The video is confronting for all the right reasons.
Listen to RTJ2 in full here.
Two and a half years after dropping – perhaps the most incredible debut mixtape we have seen in recent years – 1999, Brooklyn’s Joey Bada$$ has released his much anticipated studio album, B4.DA.$$.
At only 20 years old, one of the most striking aspects of his flow is the potent influence of 90s hip-hop which acts as the solid foundation upon which he builds. His music also contains clear elements from his West Indian heritage, inventive components of new New York rap, topped off with a youthful fearlessness to add other genres such as dance and electronic into the mix. Still in the early stages of what is shaping up to be a long musical career, the rapper seems to exist as one of those rare talents who is loved and respected by everyone in the industry. Just one listen to any of the myriad projects/songs released by Joey and ProEra in the last three years and it isn’t hard to see why – His vision and lyrical talent are undeniable.
In Like Me (which features BJ The Chicago Kid), Joey ponders his mortality against the backdrop of Brooklyn. While the video itself has a clear storyline, it would be foolish not to look further into the message behind it and realise that Joey is exploring the deeper (and currently relevant) themes of police brutality, minority incarceration, fear, redemption, and hope.
Listen to B4.DA.$$ in full here.
As impatient young people who grew up in an era of instantaneity, we are constantly bombarded with clichés like “good things take time”, or “it’ll be better soon”; In other words, “shut up and wait.”
Generally speaking, these phrases are thrown around in reference to fine wine or the resell value of #rare Nikes. However in some cases, a person’s style can not only evolve, but also significantly improve with years of experience.
Case in point: The untouchable Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) absolutely killing the fashion game at 40. Seriously, is there any look this man can’t pull off with that recognisable, inimitable swag? The beauty in his aesthetic is that it’s cool without evident effort; it’s him without needing to be showy. In the last 2-3 years (basically since he started publicly declaring himself ‘Yasiin’ rather than ‘Mos’) he has truly emerged in fashionable circles as an unexpected icon.
Remember nearly 6 months ago when I interviewed my friend Hak of NYC group RATKING? If you’ve been playing close attention since then, shout out to you. They’ve come the hell UP and I couldn’t be more happy.
Here’s another fire video showcasing the creativity, truth, and grittiness of kids who grew up in or were influenced by the lifestyle and unavoidable hold of a city like New York.
If you’re in Australia or New Zealand, catch them early next year at Laneway. Tickets here.