You know what’s better than positivity? Honesty.
The music world is so full of jealousy and hatred that it’s easy to understand why artists (especially rappers) are wary of negativity. When anything that’s not outright support is considered an attack, positivity is a currency that can make you rich.
The point of this column isn’t critique. It exists to elevate the profile of work that I consider worthwhile, so it’s inherently positive. But that positivity isn’t meaningless—it’s honest. The problem with positivity is that, most times, it’s performance. “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” may as well be our state motto. But if folks give you the thumbs-up without actually caring about your art, what’s the value in that?
These are the five best videos of the week. Honest.
Nooky Jones—“Sweet Wine”
Sensuous Minneapolis R&B band Nooky Jones had a special gift for their fans on Valentine’s Day. The sensuous outfit dropped a new video for their Nooky Jones single “Sweet Wine” on America’s most romantic holiday, inspiring more than a few crumpled bedsheets in the Twin Cities. The video is a glorious five-minute lovefest that features Takeila Barnett, Alida Carlson, Imani McCray, Rahmaan Patterson, and Destiny Woodson vibing along to singer Cameron Kinghorn's D’Angelic turn on the mic. Extend your Valentine’s celebration all the way to April 7, when the band plays the Hook and Ladder.
Fox & Coyote—“Blue Marble” (PREMIERE)
Next month, Fox & Coyote will release their new album, Scattered Shadows on a Double Bed, the result of over a year of songwriting and hand-wringing anxiety. The finished product will be celebrated on March 15 at the Entry, but for now, the ambitious folk band deliver a teaser in the form of single “Blue Marble.” The video, directed by Sarah Olander, captures the song’s self-aware obsession with smallness in a creepy puppet show about ants. It’s a crushing vision that matches well with the song’s roving, off-kilter momentum.
Ken-C ft. Juice Lord—“Thou Shall Reign”
St. Paul rapper Ken-C was so inspired by the continuous mixes of hip-hop producers like Jake One and the Alchemist that he decided to do his own turn on the style. The result is his ongoing God’s Work project. To go along with the ambition, Ken-C recruited up-and-coming rapper Juice Lord to join him for “Thou Shall Reign.” In the Vafa Kaamil-directed video, the pair go shopping at Cheapo Records while they take turns spinning the Alchemist beat to their own desires.
Sake Red—“Save My Soul”
Pine City Native American MC Sake Red experiments with a more soulful sound on this new song. The talented lyricist not only raps the song’s verses, but also sings the heartfelt chorus. Endlessvision directs the video, which captures Red as he reflects around the city, wondering when his years of hustling will pay off in the success he seeks. Catch him March 9 at the Cabooze when he opens for Futuristic.
The Badinovs—“It’s Time We Learn about Love”
The Badinovs were so inspired by the gentle, affirming legacy of George Harrison that they wrote him a song for their latest album The Big Picture. “It’s Time We Learn about Love” is the kind of groovy, message-driven song Harrison would’ve loved. The students at Century College (specifically directors Grant Newkirk and Mee Moua) turned the melodic smile-stretcher into a video fable that follows a jaded man’s turn to compassion.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected].