This video is not the official video to the track ‘The Red’ by Jaylib, although it should be.

The video is in fact an entry to the Stone’s Throw record label competition which will hopefully give director and editor Jonney Buck and creative director Dean White a chance of creating an official video from scratch. This really is a masterstroke as the video encapsulates the tune so very well.

The track itself is a tense thriller with slightly fuzzy vocals over a bass line which grinds music into a fine sprinkle of underground magic. The theme is attack, but on the pretentions of the gangsta hip-hop’s delusions of grandeur. The delivery is dirty and hustling.

An old fashioned reel to reel cutting to a multi-coloured ghetto blaster is the way the track introduces itself relaying the traditions of Grandmaster Flash and nodding to the old sound of cut and paste samples. There is irony in the form of two faceless individuals playing chess in squalid black and white, lines throughout the view in a Spartan fight. This is where the quirky camera angles, rapid zoom plays their part in the imposing atmosphere besides thumping home the aggression.

There are clever splices, no car chases which would look embarrassing in a poor remake of Bugsy. You also have an F1 car crash and Bruce Lee making a total of two appearances as this is thrusting the idea of money and bling being pointless without the hardness or muscle to back it up. Even the splice of Hannibal Lector is appropriate and tasteful adding a sense of black humour to the proceedings in all the joys of colour, just one flash and you have missed his delectable rippling of tongue teeth and lips.

It’s by no means perfect, some elements are, for a hip-hop record a little cheesy this would have to be the Bruce Lee high-kicks. The only disappointment is the ending, but then I doubt any ending is truly satisfactory, I’m not sure why there is a jazz band playing to the ever fading beats. Thankfully there are no cartoon elements though.

These two are talented people who care for their music. There are other entries and the choices for to win the coveted title of ‘official video’ and these can be seen at link. It is easy to say that all creations are equal and even when you consider some creations are more equal than others; it becomes easier to say that this video is the high water mark.


Jaylib - The Red from Jonathan Buck on Vimeo.