Wu-Tang Clan “A Better Tomorrow”
Wu-Tang Clan didn’t gain notoriety by rapping about the current state of social affairs, but in their track “A Better Tomorrow” that’s just what they tackle. The video for the song follows the events all over the country after the non-charging of two white police officers who were involved with killing black men. You can see protests where people are walking with their hands up chanting “hands up, don’t shoot”. We see other people laying down and saying “I can’t breathe”. There are even images of people taking their frustrations out on a police cruiser. This is one of those issues where everyone has an opinion, and it’s easy to get angry about no matter where you stand. Wu-Tang Clan have come together with this song and video to just tell you how it is. While the song contains lyrics that describe how it’s difficult to respect the same police officers that will treat you like a criminal just for the color of your skin, it also has lyrics calling for people to come together and create change. There are those who think the Civil Rights marches of the 1960’s ended and everything was great. Those marches and protests did improve things, but they shouldn’t have ended there. There is still a great deal of work left to do to make everyone equal in terms of how they feel in terms of rights and prejudice.
Centrefolds “15 Minutes of Fame”
Centrefolds video for “15 Minutes of Fame” is dedicated to the memory of their original bassist who passed away, Alex McClean. The video follows a young man who is looking for importance in his life. His girlfriend feels the distance he is putting himself in. He won’t answer her phonecalls. He locks himself in his office. He goes to bed and turns his back on her as he falls asleep, even as she is laying there in lingerie. He won’t join her for breakfast, but runs out the door. He’s sneaking around, and at first it seems like he’s having an affair, possibly with a man he’s just met. But as his girlfriend goes out to see what he is doing, she finds that he’s gotten in with the wrong crowd. They’re planning to set a bomb off, and by misfortune, the girlfriend finds herself locked in the area with the bomb. Finally, a text message showing the bomb and timer sends her boyfriend running to save her, but as they turn to leave, one of his new “friends” slams the door shut. If this young man was looking for his 15 minutes of fame, he’s going to get it but as a victim rather than a suspect.
Aquilo “Losing You”
Aquilo’s video for “Losing You” deals with the pains of the trio. Someone always gets left out. The main character in this story is a boy who likes his female friend. Though they spend plenty of time alone together, he never makes his move. He’s probably her best friend, but that’s all. She’s safe with him shown by them going off alone to remote places together, sharing alcohol and cigarettes. She writes their initials on a cave by the water. But love her as he might, the other guy has the attention of her eyes, her heart, and other more private parts. Our young hero finds himself walking one night approaching the car where the other two are kissing. It breaks his heart, as he walks well into the daylight hours towards the sea. He violently chips at the initials carved in the cave, and makes the journey to a cliff’s edge. His focus is on the endless sea, gray and peaceful. Is our friend here calm but sad like the sea? Or is he about to take the Icarus plunge?
Levelz “LVL 07”
When it comes to Manchester, England I’m only familiar with the football clubs Manchester City and Manchester United. Honestly, all I’ve ever seen of Manchester is Etihad Stadium and Old Trafford on television. In their video for “LVL 07” Manchester rap group Levelz show off the city as they know it. It’s a rap video, so we get the individuals, whose names appear on the bottom right corner of the screen as they first appear, are performing and having a good time throughout Manchester. We get roof tops, apartment hallways, football pitches, alleys, abandoned buildings, etc. It’s a side of Manchester I probably wouldn’t see otherwise. But truth be told, Manchester much like any city would be a conflagration of different areas and sections come together, just as Levelz is a group of rappers all different in their own way but coming together to rep the city.
Lil Dicky “White Crime”
In his latest video for “White Crime”, Lil Dicky tries his best to show that he may not be gangster, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a criminal. He covers illegal activities like doing drugs, or how he statutory raped his girlfriend when he was 18, but her not quite. But he also steals soap from hotels, sneaks snacks into the movie theater, where he pays for one ticket but sees more than one film. In a way, I feel like he’s doing all the stuff Deuce Poppi’s white friends do. Quite frankly, the look on his face in this video is probably one of the best things about Lil Dicky. He’s joking in his songs, but only half joking, because the other 2/3 he’s dead serious about.