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Toki Wright spreads his wings in this week’s Top 5 MN music videos

Toki Wright: cherubim or seraphim?

Toki Wright: cherubim or seraphim? YouTube

We took a week off. Sorry about that.

As I spent the week hammocked in the Caribbean destroying my skin and liver cells, the musicians and production workers of the Twin Cities were still hard at work. They filled my inbox with their dedicated craftwork while I filled my gullet with shitty buffet pizza.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel a twinge of guilt. Apologies to the videos left behind, but we’re focusing on the latest. Don’t worry though, precious readers and musicians alike, I won’t leave you again.

Not until July.

Toki Wright -- “The Situation”

Toki Wright has long been considered one of the best lyricists in the Twin Cities, but now the Rhymesayers MC is entertaining a new identity as the creative dynamo known as Mamadu. To reintroduce himself Wright has created a weekly series where he releases a piece that he wrote, performed, produced, recorded, mixed, and designed himself. The boastful “The Situation” is the latest installment in that series.

The song is a standout from Wright/Mamadu’s new release At The Speed of Life 3, celebrated at the Nomad on May 20. The video mixes moving illustrations with drone footage and scenes of Wright/Mamadu wearing angel wings. If you thought you saw a heavenly host descend on the Basilica this past month, sorry to burst your bubble -- it was just Wright trying on his art director’s hat.

The Dirty Banks -- “Dardanelles”

For their second video, the Dirty Banks brought an Isaac Brock nightmare to life in 8-bit animation. The result is like a manic, side-scrolling video game that features the band as a ragtag group of heroes battling aliens, robots, and dinosaurs in a dimension soundtracked by their bustling indie rock.

“Dardanelles” comes from the Dirty Banks’ new EP Lida and is directed by Joseph Midthun, who has a very notable background in video game design. The band and Midthun will celebrate the release of the video on Thursday at Eagles Club.

Witch Watch -- “Last Date”

I wasn’t kidding when I touted Witch Watch guitarist/songwriter Derek Van Gieson's work ethic and productivity in the paper two weeks ago. Less than a month after releasing their debut, Wandering and Wondering, Witch Watch have dropped their second music video, this one for the creepy “Last Date.”

Van Gieson edits the video and also plays a hapless, insensitive cop, proving his range. The video centers on a pair of lovers trying to enjoy a last picnic before one of them is hauled off to jail, following the lyrics of the gloomy song nearly verbatim. Director Joah Colby captures the scene in unsettling monochrome.

Rz Shahid -- “Conscious”

As we saw in his previous video, for “Run Away,” 19-year-old Minneapolitan Rz Shahid is an enticing new talent on the local scene. But on his latest song “Conscious,” the up-and-comer sets out to destroy any illusions of ego, rapping very purposefully in a halo of mirror shards. The song is a statement that he’s here to accomplish more than gassing himself up.

Given life by directors Gabe Hostetler and Daniel Laumann from Young Vision Films, “Conscious” is a smooth meditation on humility and self-determination. Put it on in the background when you’re getting ready for work in the morning to start your day off with purpose and clarity.

Captive Agents -- “Knights on Broadway”

Captive Agents bring back everything you ever loved about golden age hip-hop in a clean and pop-culture-conscious package. Their April LP SUPERMAX sounds like it was popped out of a time traveler’s boombox with its soulful piano lines and scratches. The video for their single “Knights on Broadway” furthers that vision with old school new jack swing and breakdance moves that teleport you back to the early ‘90s.

Starring Battlecats notable Jason Noer, the video shows a pair of dudes in Cosby Show-era duds breaking it down on a CGI stage. It’s not a complicated visual, but the pair’s syncopation is captivating, and it perfectly accompanies the breakbeats and rhymes of Captive Agent members Sonra Rinpoche, Marty Illetschko, and James Adamiak (who also directed the video).

Dream of seeing your video appear in Local Frames? Email writer Jerard Fagerberg at [email protected]