Just a couple of days ago, a new psychotropic drug was unleashed to the world. No, it does not come in pills, bags of powder, nor any type of injector. This drug, as I would like to call it, comes in the form of music and video. With Lil B being the very first to leak the content via Twitter, Harlem-based rapper A$AP Rocky’s new piece “L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)” hit the media with a hallucinatory music video on Tuesday, May 19th. The track is not yet available for purchase, but is accumulating much attention as “L$D” is only a part of Rocky’s up-coming album At.Long.Last.A$AP, which is scheduled for official release tomorrow.
Aside from the mellow track itself that has brought in a slight twist to the repertoire of one of Hip-Hop’s biggest players, the surreal video clip for “L$D” is very well crafted with elements of the abstract atmosphere a modern city like Tokyo can fabricate creatively blended into the mind-expanding world of psychedelic drugs. Directed by a London-based filmmaker and photographer known as Dexter Navy and co-directed by Rocky himself, the music video follows the rapper’s transcendent trip in Kabukichou, Shinjuku. Kabukichou is an area labelled as a city that never sleeps in Tokyo, and is also known for the presence of a great number of bars, strip clubs, shady adult shops, and Japanese gangs of all kind. In a sense, the sleepless, filthy, and somewhat unsafe yet strongly glaring pathways of Kabukichou are a representation of urbanization, modernization and the many illusions of life. Subjectively speaking, choosing Kabukichou was probably the best decision in terms of the location for this video. Even if you are not high on LSD or any other type of substance, carrying yourself through the intricate alleys of Kabukichou at night and being encompassed by the neon lights, the raw smell, and every single detail of the streets can become a very unique and stimulating experience. The music video is composed in a way that makes perfect use of this ambiance and introduces a visual journey within this area at a whole new level, thanks to the skills of the crew. A$AP Rocky’s distinct and chill ballad, Kabukichou’s aura, and the intensely multicolored abnormality expressed through the creation of this video all have been combined artistically, and this combination has resulted in a mind-blowing production.
The music video for “L$D (LOVE x $EX x DREAMS)” also features a few others as can be seen in the clip linked above. For example, one of Japan’s most aggressive and influential Hip-Hop artists ANARCHY makes a brief appearance. Also, Yoon, a prominent graphic designer and fashion leader takes the role of what appears to be the main character’s imaginary lover throughout the clip. The society of Japan is stereo-typically known for its modesty, peacefulness, stability, and safety, but these people in the L$D video help describe the reality of the more aggressive and wild side of Japan and Tokyo especially.
Anyways, with all this said, you ought to watch the clip and see what it’s like for yourself. Don’t worry, it’s not addictive although I’ve been watching this at least twice a day since the first time.
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