David Knight - 28th Apr 2020

Shot just before the pandemic hit and the lockdown came to New York, Run The Jewels collaborated with Brian Beletic and Vanessa Beletic to create an anti-capitalist blockbuster for Ooh LA LA, the duo's collaboration with hip hop legends Greg Nice and DJ Premier, and the first single from the upcoming album RTJ4.

Featuring a legion of dancers, a fleet of hot air balloons, cameos from Greg Nice, DJ Premier, and Rage Against the Machine frontman Zack de la Rocha, what sets this apart from virtually all other sumptuously-produced hip hop videos is its central, revolutionary concept. Cash money is no object - not as a signifier of wealth, but because it no longer has any value whatsoever.

This is the party to end all parties - to celebrate a 'post-money' world, where everyone can survive without the green stuff, so they can pile it high and burn the lot. The Beletics drive this home by using much of the familiar iconography of music videos - where the Almighty Dollar is treated with fetishistic reverence and burning piles of cash is an admirable sign of extreme wealth - and then subverting that cliché. 

This is refreshingly cheeky example of social commentary without the moral guilt attached, and RTJ's El-P and Killer Mike lead this hoe-down to celebrate the idealistic triumph of hip-hop socialism with considerable gusto and evident glee - aided by the fact that Ooh LA LA is an absolute banger which augurs well for the rest of their new magnum opus.

In the wake of Covid-19, the group have also been sharing weekly free downloadable activity and colouring books, and just last week released an exclusive new line of T-shirts as a fundraiser for their tour crew, who are out of work until the duo’s postponed world tour with Rage Against the Machine gets underway.

RUN THE JEWELS:

“We shot this video only a few weeks before the pandemic hit with no clue as to what the future held. The fact that we got the chance to do it is damn near miraculous in hindsight.

"In conceptualizing the video with our friends Brian and Vanessa Beletic we imagined the world on the day that the age old struggle of class was finally over. A day that humanity, empathy, and community were victorious over the forces that would separate us based on arbitrary systems created by man.

"This video is a fantasy of waking up on a day that there is no monetary system, no dividing line, no false construct to tell our fellow man that they are less or more than anyone else. Not that people are without, but that the whole meaning of money has vanished. That we have somehow solved our self-created caste system and can now start fresh with love, hope and celebration.

"It's a dream of humanity’s V-DAY… and the party we know would pop off.”

PRO Credits

Credits

DirectorBrian Beletic
DirectorVanessa Beletic
ProducerCat Restrepo
Executive ProducerSue Yeon Ahn
1st ADAnthony Dimino
Director of PhotographyMax Goldman
1st ACJesse Cain
2nd ACJordan Pellegrini
GafferRyan French
Key GripTony Cady
Production designerJustin Allen
Costume designerNatasha Newman-Thomas
Stylist (Artist)Marty Mc'Fresh
ChoreographerSama Soto
EditorBiff Butler
Editing companyWork Editorial
ColouristMatt Osborne
Grading companyThe Mill
VFX SupervisorPhil Crowe
Post production companyThe Mill
Other creditsCo-Creative: El-P Steadicam: Chris Cunningham Casting: Dustin Blackburn VTR: Rich Breitengross DIT: Jesse Tyler Hair: DaRico Jackson + Tiger Make Up: Vanessa Kinder Helicopter Pilot: Jesse Khalil Brown Hot Air Balloon Pilot: Martine Coblentz Key PA: Phil Swiadon Assistant Editor: Gladys Bernadac Producer: Rebecca Baker Executive Producer: Marlo Baird VFX Creative: The Mill 2D Lead Artist: Steve Cokonis 3D Lead Artist: Dan Warom Executive Producer: Anastasia Von Rahl Senior Producer: Sumer Zuberi Production Coordinator: Michael Novo Line Producer: Goutham H Shoot Supervisor: Dan Warom & Steve Cokonis 2D Artist: Alex Candlish, Tim Rudgard, Phillip Ineno, Jeff Langlois, Romany Yavorsky Lenz Kol, Yukiko Ishiwata, Katerina Arroyo, Gavin Marler, Lisa Kim, Rakesh Venugopalan, Mangesh Borkar, Mayank Shekhar Tiwari, Rahul Roy, Rajeshkumar K, Srilakshmi Narasimha Kondepi 3D Artist: Freddy Parra, Lalida Karnjanasirirat, Stefan Kang, Graeme Turnbull, Michael Lori, Elizabeth Hammer, Danny Garcia, Umesh Namdev, Anirudh Sharma, Kiran Prabhu Matte Painting: Shannan Burkley, Vinod Shantaram More, Sandipan Majumder, Swarup Panigrahi Animation: Gustavo Gonzalez, Katie Yancey Design: Tim Devlin, Anastasia Skerebneva Art Department: Kevin Diaz Colour Producer: Blake Rice Colour Assist: Logan Highlen, Gemma Parr Emerging Tech Mocap Operator: Isiah Den Beste Opening Titles: Nick Gazin Sound: Lime Studios Mixer: Matt Miller Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

David Knight - 28th Apr 2020

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