Last week, I threw down a gauntlet for Minnesota musicians and directors, asking for the Halloween-iest work they were capable of producing. The call went mostly unheeded, but not to worry, there’s still plenty to sink your fangs into here. Time to get your spooks in.
In this week’s Local Frames, revelers will find some surprising cuts from rap vets, newcomers, and supergroups, giving a full glimpse of the beast that is the Minnesota music scene. Peel back the masks, and you’ll see an incredibly array of creative forces listed here. Even if the call to Halloween pageantry wasn’t heeded, how can you be upset when the hits are this wicked?
Tony Bones and Big Wiz ft. Jelly Roll – “Monsters”
Caution: The new video from Tony Bones and Big Wiz features gratuitous nudity and violence. Definitely not unusual for a rap video, but certainly an outlier for a local rap video. So is a collaboration with a rapper as big as Nashville’s Jelly Roll. For “Monsters,” director Mercies May took the three rappers to a strip club, but their good time quickly turns into bloodshed. “Monsters” is from Bones and Wiz’s recent Still Official, which also features former Local Frames highlight “The Light.”
Witch Watch – “Answers Tomorrow”
Witch Watch are among the spookiest groups in the Twin Cities, and their videos carry that Halloween sheen throughout the year. But their new clip, for “Answers Tomorrow,” is a departure from the macabre norm. Directed as always by guitarist Derek Van Gieson, the video bathes the band in projected photography, and they play blithely as lambs and sunsets pass over their faces. It’s almost unsettling how calm it all is in comparison to what we’ve seen before.
Jesirae – “Chaos”
The 23-year-old Richfield rapper Jesirae met Detroit producer Whyandotte on SoundCloud, falling in love with his devious beatmaking. Together, the two made the pessimistic yet cathartic “Chaos,” where Jesirae unpacks all her frustrations with Trump, race relations in America, and the music industry. Director WokeShots translates Jesirae’s frustrations and thirst for vengeance into a harrowing kidnap scene that ultimately breaks down into a party.
Kokou Kah – “Grease Pop”
Former Local Frames standout Willy ARQ is back under a new name. Now Kokou Kah, the Liberian-born rapper has a renewed sense of ambition: In Kah’s words, his new single “Grease Pop” “is about allowing the flow of life to happen, the hard stuff, the devastating news, breakups, whatever it may be, in order to receive the good things.” He compares the process to deep-frying any food—the grease is going to pop and crackle and splatter, but you need to let that happen to get to the positive end. Irish Films directs.
Scum & Villainy ft. Guante, Fres Thao, and Desdamona – “So Called Prez”
America is awash in scum and villainy today, much of it emanating from the White House, so Twin Cities rappers Guante, Fres Thao, Desdamona, and See More Perspective have joined forces to raise the resistance. “So Called Prez” is the debut single from Perspective’s collaboration with producer Rube, dubbed Scum & Villainy, and introducing the project with a murderer’s row of rapper/activists is a strong statement for what the two hope to accomplish. “So Called Prez” feels like an early-’90s crew cut, mainly thanks to the rough boom-bap production of Rube. Director Daniel Rangel cut protest footage together to make the video.
Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]