eyes opened wide.

‘Little Bit of Everything’ – The Making of the Music Video

Autor admin | 26.12.2010 | Category Uncategorized

Before MTV stood for Morons That’re Visable, or Music That’s Vacant, or Makes Teenagers Vulnerable, it used to stand for Music Television…because it used to, like, play music videos and stuff – innovative videos that used to do more than promote artists, they would promote art.  I grew up in the early ’80s and was transfixed by music videos because they would give a new dimension to the music and musicians whose tapes (yeah, tapes) I used to listen to.  Hearing artists like The Beastie Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Michael Jackson and Salt N’ Pepa was one thing, but watching them come to life gave me a whole new perspective on what it was like to be a fan.

I made my first music videos in college when I was in a rap group called BTU. The director of the videos, who was also our DJ at the time, and is now Mike Posner’s manager, holds the only existing copies of those pieces of nonsense (I just interrupted myself to e-mail him asking if he might be able to send me a copy). I learned then what I know now – as is the case with most forms of art, music videos are all about ideas.  Whether they are pre-scripted or spontaneous, a good idea will always outlast a good presentation. But when you combine the two…

This was what I aimed to do when I set out to make some videos for my latest mixtape, Bars & NoBull. After being approached by Noisemaker Media in the summer of 2010, I did some research and quickly decided they would be the perfect team with which to collaborate (their tagline is: Aesthetics.Vision.Integrity).  They’ve worked with artists such as The Roots, Eternia, Sadat X, Kalae All Day, Homeboy Sandman, Wale and Mo Danger.  I played them a couple joints off my upcoming project, we met at The Bowery Poetry Club to chop up a few ideas…and off we went.

It was their idea to do a video for Little Bit of Everything. “It’s just too visual of a song to not make a video for,” Mark (the director) told me. I told him I thought it’d be cool to dress me up as a bunch of different types of people and just have me rhyming all over NYC as these varying characters. He liked the concept and decided to shoot it “Jackass style”, in a guerilla video-shooting format in which he would be filming me from a distance and people around me wouldn’t know I was actively shooting a music video. Normally when videos are shot there’s loud music blasting, blazing hot lights and cameras all around the performer. When we shot this video I was listening to the track in my headphones and there wasn’t a camera within 30 feet of me. So the atmosphere of the video kind of looks like the TV show ‘Jackass’, and while shooting it in real life I kind of looked like a jackass.

Little Bit of Everything

The first setup we did was me dressed as a newsie – I planted myself on the corner of 8th St and Lafayette, grabbed a stack of newspapers and rapped for about 40 minutes as a normal Friday in Manhattan passed me by. Well, most of it did. Some stopped to actually accept newspapers from me. Shouts to Greg Covey.

Our next setup was the businessman getup, posted in front of the temporarily graffiti-adorned wall on the corner of Houston St. and 1st Avenue. Again, no music was played out loud and hardly any cameras or signifiers of “production” were in sight. I was just a lunatic in a suit rapping against a wall.

Then we broke out the masks. Yeah so the intro of the song is a lengthy list of names, some of which are plays off of my own (Jesse Abracadabraham, Jesse Algebraham), some of which are plays off of other people’s names (Scott Baiowulf), and some are simply names to which I feel connected (Rajan Rondo, E. Honda, Adam Sandler). Mark thought it’d be cool to trounce around the city holding up large cutouts of these people’s faces. So we did that.

After the crew stopped for lunch we packed up and headed to Sarah Roosevelt Park in Chinatown for the next setup. Surrounded by the general population of this park, which consisted of fainthearted families, nettlesome high school kids and affable old folks, I geared up for the martial arts feature of the video. I don’t know martial arts. At all. This portion was awkwardly pleasant and pleasantly awkward.

The next move was straight to the heart of Times Square, where I would be donning the attire of a stereotypical NYC tourist. This scene led to a wide variety of amusing interactions. I asked a cop how to get to “the lower west side” (a neighborhood that doesn’t exist) and he told me to walk south until I hit the Intrepid (a large boat museum on the West Side Highway) and then turn left. To a tourist this makes absolutely no sense.  I did the Macarena with a group of women, took pictures of people who were taking pictures of me and was filmed by dozens of passer-byers as I rapped to nobody in particular. Twas amusing.

After a failed attempt to get an elderly gentleman to rap with me on the street we packed our crew and headed to Madison Avenue for the doorman setup.  It turns out the more ridiculous I thought I looked, the more people took me seriously as the character I was trying to portray. Nearly everyone I interacted with thought I was for real here…As if there are people dressed this way in NYC, ready to open the doors of taxi cabs, Rite Aids and pizza places.

The final installment for this video was the segment in which I wore my normal clothes. Although we were occasionally interrupted by the likes of impatient truckers, a parade of policemen and overzealous Williamsburgers, the shoot wrapped quite nicely. Umm, I was in my regular clothes, so no need for pics.

The energy of the team for this video shoot cannot be trivialized, as it was truly a group effort. Shouts to Mark (Director/Editor), Omin (AD), Lizzy Sullivan (Photography), JinYao (Costume & Videography), and Noisemaker Media (Production).

Little Bit of Everything