Ah, rappers and music videos. Some are vehicles for self-promotion, others are tools used to promote a message, a gaggle of asses or some good ol' wholesome debauchery. In the case of the Houston rap class, music videos are always eye opening glimpses into the future, either telling what a talent could possibly become or how such a talent can make a low budget idea turn into a big budget reward. This week, we get a dose of the '90s, only in 2012. All hail retro!
Artist: AheadOfClass Song: "Woodstock 69" Director: Juventus
The Video: Relative newcomers AheadOfClass are made up of two Houston transplants (Will Du's from New Orleans, Gil's from Waco) and two homegrown talents in rapper Tony Del Freshco and producer CP3 (no relation to the guy in Lob City). Swept up in the current wave of making everything slightly old and trendy two decades ago seem new, the stylish makeup of "Woodstock 69" from their Vantage Point 86 EP takes everything that made the '90s awesome and quantifies it into one four minute clip. Bush flipping the bird to signify haters, a shirtless walk with local kids ala City Of God and a high tops. In other words, the identity of rap nihilism now has a dress code and it involves Jordans and flat tops. No word if you might catch ammonia though.
Artist: L.E.$. Song: "Black Hoodie Rap" Director: David Stunts
The Video: A regular fixture within this series, L.E.$. decides to stray away from Settle 4 L.E.$. Vol. 2 and instead opt to focus more on his upcoming tape Menace. Remember every inner city hood documentary that started coming out once Boyz In The Hood broke ground? This is exactly that, except L.E.Dolla is in a warehouse while clips of Menace II Society speed through and the Black Panthers remain a constant figure in the "spook the shit out of conservative America" race. A race they've led well after the government broke them up.
Sidenote: Guys in black ski masks are still undefeated in music videos. Ask Trae, I'm shocked he hasn't putted out an official ABN version of one.
Artist: hasHBrown Song: "The Devastation/Clarity" Director: Odiwams Films
The Video: It's not to say hasHBrown has a vendetta against the world but he does have a chip on his shoulder the size of Peyton Manning's head. He believes in everything he does, from drinking games to beats to raps the same way Michael Jordan made people stay up til 3 a.m. to play poker just so he could win. All of that zeal manifests itself in "The Devastation/Clarity," part stand alone rap video, other part drinking and driving PSA. In the former, hasH is ferocious, pensive even at every barb towards his own perception and whether or not he'll ever rise above a pecking order.
The other side is hasH, flanked by Thurogood in a bar before heading out in the night, behind the wheel and reliving a car crash that changed everything. It's sort of sobering to watch a fire breather turn into docile creature with one false move but it's rare vulnerability for someone who even on a relationship EP yielded to third-person.
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Artist: Marcus Manchild Song: "We Wrong" Guest Features: Slim Thug Director: Michael Artis
The Video: Capping off the slight retro look back at video concepts of yesteryear is Marcus Manchild, snatching up bored housewives with Slim Thug in "We Wrong." It looks like a promising H-Town rap version of Wedding Crashers but instead of anybody associated with rated R comedies, you get Thugga turning a profit on Twitter and Manchild speed rapping a chick out of her panties.
If you're keeping score at home, that would make Slim Thug Vince Vaughn and Manchild Owen Wilson. Slim had to be Vince since he bagged two snow bunnies who look like they could give a crap about a noise ordinance (oh hai Boondocks). The odds of either of these two counting how many chicks they bedded off of this video shoot alone has to be in the over, right? Right.