ZIF Video Of The Week: SENA DAGADU: Extra Large feat. M3NSA

My goodness, what a Fokn great video. By now you’ve heard us speak about the illustrious Fokn Bois a few times, whether it be their immigration concerns or their knack for ostracizing Nigerians, their ability to entertain would make General Maximus Decimus Meridius green with envy. I hardly ever come across any project they’re associated with and leave without being thoroughly impressed. As for this video, it features M3NSA and I believe it was directed by Wanlov (so it’s Fokn Boi’d out!), as for Sena Dagadu, my knowledge is limited, she seems to live in Hungary but clearly is Ghanaian. What I love about this video is something that I attribute to much of their material, it simply shines, it engages you and drops you off in happy land. The final shot of the set in Accra is a lovely reminder that in 2013, artists don’t need to be in a major media center to create broadcast quality art.

Overall Grade: A –

The Doppelgangaz X Some Cow Shit

This is my 3rd or 4th public service announcement about this group and their pending release, Hark (March 12th), can you tell I’m excited? I must say this video was “meh” at best, though I can see how for a couple of emcees out of New York this conceptualized well on paper. In my experience with video shoots, I know that location is imperative, and hard to reach locations are paramount. Nevertheless, I haven’t been this giddy about a New York based hip hop release since Papoose. Oops, I hope I didn’t just jinx it.

Overall Grade: B-

Dark Time Sunshine Simplify Video Making

Because when the music speaks for itself, you don’t need more than a couch to make a music video. Dark Time Sunshine has been blipping our radar for the past year or so, Aesop for the past 15. But it’s Swamburger who’s got my favorite verse on this one, got that Mystikal spitfire flow that just demands an energetic reaction.

Good music right here.

Overall Grade: B+

Poetic Justice

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I don’t know what’s more disturbing, the fact that Drake was tagged to feature on this track, or the fact that fans think he “saved” this song (see comments on YouTube). The difference between these two artists is epitomized by the visuals they were associated with in this video. Drake, in a hotel room with a big booty call on the bed, Kendrick Lamar, appearing as a shot up corpse laying on top of his dead girlfriend. Skirt steak and filet mignon.

Overall Grade: B-

Ain’t Nobody Trying To Kill Your Vibe (Sheesh)

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I know very little about British outfit, The Confect. Their social media presence seems to want to keep it that way, mysterious stuff. However, I know that their name is short for ‘confectionery’ which means candy shop in British (eat your heart out Fitty). Fittingly they have sweet taste (zing) as epitomized by some of their remix choices, including this King Kendrick banger. British acts with some eclectic flair and an appreciation of American pop tend to do well (see The XX, Jai Paul, Ellie Goulding, Kano), look out for future work hitting your Spotify lists soon.

ZIF Video Of The Week: Quelle Chris – Rat Shit

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Detroit bred, now Cali bound rapper Quelle Chris left some of us puzzled when he signed his deal with Mello Music Group. I can say that I was curious whether they would be able surround Quelle with the right mixture of quality and youthful exuberance. Needless to say that Quelle seems to be enjoying himself. Not sure where this track ends up or if it’s just a random release, however, I’m pleased that somebody went in on the concept of ratchet (nice word play Quelle), that word is getting utterly abused out there.

Exploding Octupus [Video]

ILL BILL, if you know him, you know him well. Necro’s brother and longtime spitter aficionado ILL BILL has been pushing his version of Brooklyn hip hop for going on two decades. In recent years I’ve found his videos to be a little too linear to truly appreciate, though his rhymes have always been performed with a weighted breath that truly rivals some of hip hop’s most respected emcees. This video is by no means a stereotypical one,ILL BILL plays the Ted Kaczynski (Unabomber) card and gives pause to the notion that technology and its proliferation is all good. Nothing is all good, and you get the sense that Ill Bill is not a huge Instagram guy. Video spoke to me in a big way, looking forward to the album.

 ILL BILL’s latest solo LP, “THE GRIMY AWARDS” CD/DVD, hits stores in February.

ZIF Video Of The Week: The Black Opera: “Fxckin Problem” [Video Dramatization]

I love this video, from concept to delivery, the conscious minded Black Opera put an ironic spin on what truly constitutes a “Fxckin Problem” in our society. It’s tracks like this that make me wonder how far sound minded rappers like these guys are from mainstream appreciation. Considering the disinterest in content, the beat’s certainly been embraced, and they sound damn good over it. Yes, better than A$AP & Co.

Here’s the message that accompanied the video, for the slower cats out there, the first message is laced with irony and insincere wit. They are both the from the same source.

MESSAGE FROM [T]HE [B]LACK [O]PPOSITES:
“Fxck what the title say tho…This aint that earthy ass conscious Black Opera shit cuh. This that ratchet ass swag shit cuh. This that Black Opposites shit my nig! Woo! Trill level just passed 3000 and rising. My nigga Andy MADD behind the camera and shiiiiit. We poppin pills and clockin mills. We trynna make that Illuminati money my nigga. WE DEM ILLUMINATI  MONEY NIGGAS!! HAA! Now that’s REALLY shining bruh!! Soon as we get rich enough to get away with lip syncing at the inauguration my nigga…SOON AS!! We gone deck the studio walls out wit all gold errything….nigga fxck yo MacBook, we gone have wallpaper made from real gold cuh. Woo! With blood diamond studs my nig!! Dead Ass. Real niggas only, no fxck boys allowed. We all got fxckin problems, but if you got a fxckin problem with us you can get handled just like the nigga in the video, Biiiiitch!!”
A MESSAGE FROM THE BLACK OPERA:
In times like these, Dark Comedy is no laughing matter. So with all jokes aside, we wanted to put a satirical spin on A$AP Rocky’s “Fuckin’ Problem” in order to address current events and issues. Events and issues that include the school shooting in Connecticut, gun control, mental health, and America’s prescription drug addition amongst others. RIP to everyone that lost their lives in the Newtown, CT school shooting and the innocent lives lost everyday in these streets and around the world.

Smoke & Mirrors

It looks like Cruel Summer brought some eclectic cats together. I always believed that when Clipse had their content on point, it was hard to find a better rap tandem. Taking on this conscious message over a classic !llMind track is certainly not the typcial way to the top in 2013, give them some credit for that. After producing “The Morning” off the compilation and now this track with Re-Up, it’s apparent !llmind is going to continue to make G.O.O.D. music.

Spit on this video, Alexander

I hate to pigeon hole and overly simplify, but here’s another prime example of a Bay Area lyricist redefining the role of ‘conscious rap’ in Century two-one. (Yes, I’m looking at you Rey Resurreccion.) From what I can recall, Alexander Spit has been doing his thing for a minute, I’m talking Myspace era stuff. His on the verge status has been quietly picking up steam in ’12, his addition to the Decon Records outfit certainly helped. This video is DIY gold, and is off his upcoming Full length LP – A Breathtaking Trip to That Otherside, due for release 1/29/13. Just another reason I hope the Mayans were wrong.

Ohbliv Gets Tantric [NSFW]

Again, before clicking away on that video, realize it involves some nudity. Albeit some weird barely comprehensible nudity that takes place on a fictitious airplane in the 70’s, but nudity none the less. The video is a promo for the track featured on ZIF fave Ohbliv’s most recent effort, Up. Just another producer under your radar but not for long. If he’s a master at tantra, that would be TMI. But FYI, he is a master of composition, and that fact you can share with your friends.

Chali 2na, literally, a stand up dude

For those of you who’ve met Chali, you know he’s as tall as he is lovable. I’m ecstatic that he’s got this project cooking, it seems extremely avant garde, taking the whole artist experience and delivering it to the fan in multiple ways. I can’t do a better job of describing it than his team already has, so here’s what they say about what’s up:

A series of 5 EPs that run the genre spectrum, combined with a book-of-art that helps bring the music to life.

more information at: http://www.pledgemusic.com/artists/chali2na

Get involved on a personal level by making a pledge toward the production of Chali 2na’s first-ever visual art offering. A coffee table book depicting the evolution of 2na’s career through original artwork and photography crafted by the man himself.

Sounds super dope, no? Oh, and did I ever tell you this one time I got Takstar to interview Chali 2na? 

A$AP has problems I want, Noisey does not.

I find it disturbing that this video was released with the headline, “Is A$AP Rocky Gonna Blow Up Next Year” via Noisey/Vice. Get over yourselves guys. A$AP “blew up” more than I think he or anybody else in his camp could have imagined this year. What exactly are you hoping for? How about a tour with his name on it talking about how great it would be for his music to be consumed forever? Oh, wait. How about a track and video with a Caucasian female crooner who dominated airplay this year? Oh, wait. Their post is filled with illustrious descriptions about the track as well, stuff like:

the “Fuckin’ Problems” video is really good and Drake’s part is the best even though the rest of it is really good too..

Ugh, no the Drake part is not the best part. And how’s your fascination with the word “good” doing guys?

Or this gem about the track “Goldie”

its accompanying video that featured Rocky and his dude A$AP Yams stunting in front of the Eiffel Tower, should have been the one to push him over the edge and into ubiquity. But it didn’t, and it sucks.

If the hip hop heads at Noisey/VICE are the defining the “edge”, someone find me the bland interior, lickety-split .

Technology Art: Such A Thing

When I first heard that a “technology artist” had compiled an impressive set of visual candy to accompany the new Nosaj Thing video, I shook my head, deliberately figuratively. Give me a break, technology as a medium of art? Well, a few minutes into this video you get a clear picture of what that entails. With nothing more than a few light projectors, a stage to do their thing and some willing dancers, the aesthetic is more than impressive.

The artist is Daito Manabe and with support from The Creators Project, and collaborating with Perfume choreographer MIKIKO, he created a dynamic virtual environment to serve as the backdrop for two dancers whose movements across the stage are amplified by the graphics behind them, making each action feel larger and more emotive.