This is the time of year when we have artists select their top choices of 2017. Emcee/producer Uncommon Nasa is one that’s become familiar within the fold, so we asked him to share his own selection. while 2016 was lager filled, this year he’s selected a number of artist videos.
“This year I set a personal record for videos released with 4. When I first started to release videos for my work, if you had told me that one day I’d have 4 original videos in one calendar year I would have told you that was impossible. Thanks to my Directors, Mike Petrow and R.M.L. and to Man Bites Dog Records for helping to make that happen for Written At Night. So now that I’m Mr. Music Video, I can pretend to be an expert on other peoples music videos right? Not really. I’m not much a visual artist, the people that have directed me will tell you my only instructions are usually “make sure the cuts are quick enough, shoot odd angles and use lots of rack focusing”. In fact, at least 50% of the videos I’ve released aren’t even my concept or are only partially my concept. So I’m not even going to try and rank these, because who am I to judge? I’m gonna lay out my favorite 10 videos that I’ve seen (plus one) in alphabetical order by artist name. I should also note that almost all the artists on this list have a second or third dope video they released this year, but I wanted to limit this to one per artist. Let’s get this started and shout out to Ghettoblaster for asking me to do this.” – Uncommon Nasa
Armand Hammer – It Was Written
This whole album is hard and this was the lead single that announced such being the case. I really like way the animation keeps to mostly 2 basic colors and works with the stock photos and footage. I’m not usually a big animation video guy because I like to see the artists interplay with their music so it was dope that this vid animated Armand Hammer too. Best of both worlds.
billy woods – Keloid
For whatever reason I didn’t see this video until I started compiling this list, I slept hard and I can’t believe I did. Wow, is about all I can say. I know the youtube description indicates it was shot in 4k, but I don’t think i’m performing a mental trick on myself by saying this is shot beautifully and that I can tell the difference. I’m really blown away by this one, this is one of the stand out songs on Known Unknowns but this video adds so much more to it as it is. Is it wrong that I recognized fellow NYC Producer Jeff Markey’s cameo from his sillouette before the lights came on?
Elucid – Valley of Grace EP
More incredible visuals from Backwoodz. I have nothing but good things to say about the release of Valley of Grace from Elucid. It’s my favorite work that he’s done because it gives you such an artful explanation of his time in South Africa. This video obviously takes that a step further, composed of several tracks from the record, this is a vision most won’t see that are Stateside.
Evidence – Jim Dean
Evidence has been slowly rolling out promotion for his next release (set for 2018) throughout the year with two great videos. This one strikes the balance between tight traditional rap video and video with a creative angle well for me. Plus now he can press up all these shirts from the video since they are all dope. As an avid T-Shirt wearer, this struck a chord!
ialive and Height Keech – The Oughts
This video is fascinating. I can’t tell whether the people in the background are purposefully dancing bad and that’s part of the joke or if they are really trying to create a dynamic party scene and busting out legit moves. No matter how many times I watch it, I can’t figure it out and that’s the draw here. Somewhere in this video humor is at play and I can’t find it exactly, so of course, I’m going to love that. Plus this beat will get stuck in your head all day and that’s not a bad thing either.
Open Mike Eagle ft. Sammus – Hymnal
When my video for “Speak Your Truth” was being shot, Kount Fif was my co-star. We had him get into a costume of a loner recluse and it was so convincing that when he was in costume I couldn’t even look him in the eye. My brain subconsciously determined this was a new person I didn’t know. It was surreal. I’d imagine that was the vibe on the set of Hymnal from Open Mike Eagle and Sammus once they got into full wardrobe. This is funny and disturbing in equal measure which is why it finds itself on my list. I can’t look directly at this video, but I can’t stop watching it either.
Quelle Chris – Buddies
This one falls under a similar category as The Oughts and Hymnal, in it’s dark and fascinatingly un-explained humor. I hope there is a trend of videos like this forming as we go into 2018. I promise you I thought the Director Mike Petrow used a mirror effect in post the first time I watched it. I was fooled for the entire first verse. Seems silly once you’ve seen it a few times, but yeah, Don Will definitely can play Quelle Chris in the upcoming DocuDrama. The look on the face of the woman on the ice cream truck as she sells them the sprinkle cones is my favorite part. I really wish I could have been there in person for that interaction un-edited.
Shabazz Palaces – Shine the Light
Visuals for a group like Shabazz Palaces really need to be done right, in my opinion. This video added a new layer to this song (similar to what “Keloid” did above). I’ll say it again, the balance between disturbing yet funny imagery is struck here again as Ish is served up as a sacrifice in the weirdest of ways. Definitely left an image in my head that I see every time I hear this song.
Stik Figa – Holding Back Tears
I pretty much had my list all set and then I went and saw this video, how can I not include it? It’s like a movie, I can’t get over how many things actually take place in this video. From the initial incident to a talk with a “grandmother” figure, to a plan being devised to a second incident…I won’t say anymore and spoil it. Just watch it. Reminds me a lot of the way Fruitvale Station was shot and paced, but in the length of a song, not a film.
Strange U – Shots
This video is menacing and hilarious. I didn’t even notice Zygote in the bottom corner almost the whole time until this last viewing when I prepped this list. They basically take a few facial expressions from the rapper, King Kashmere, and superimpose them on what I take are random youtube videos of either famous pop rappers or wannabe pop rappers or both. The way they made the expressions match the hand movements is so dope and makes me want to watch it repeatedly. Strange U is the truth.
Uncommon Nasa ft Brzowski and C-Money Burns – Gingerbread Hag
I said I did 4 videos this year and I AM a rapper, so there’s no fucking way I’m letting you get away without nominating one of my own videos for a Top 10 list right? Although all 4 of the videos turned out great, I had to include Gingerbread Hag because of all that was involved in it. This was only my second video with hired actors in it and my first where they were basically the stars of the video. It’s a story based video shot in a scenic part of Portland, Maine. Shout out to Veda and Vishwa and their mom once again. This is one of the first steps toward their Oscar filled careers!
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