Performance clips are par for the course in rap. Cheap and simple, they often provide the most direct introduction of a rapper, allowing for clear display of persona and style. Of course, as with anything easily executed, the strict performance footage as music video route can be unbearably stale, a cop out for those looking to shoot an inexpensive video without getting their hands dirty in the nasty business of actual creativity.
For his latest single “Rap Game,” Chicago’s Kembe X and director Endocolor push the expected elements of a performance video with a bit more aesthetic intrigue, using Videodrome-style graphics and a stark black background to focus attention on the rapper in a manner that never becomes numbing as so many less-inspired comparables can. It’s a fitting treatment for Kembe’s critique of rap on the whole, a tweak on established formula that shows, as ever, you don’t need a Hype Williams circa 1998 budget to make a compelling video.