I first fell for the Bay Area screwy-voiced rapper A-1 while watching his video for “Unpredictable (Repo Man),” a late-night, time-machine take on one of A-1’s (aka Adam Traore) favorite movies from the ’80s. In his new video for “Invisible Man” (which is also a great film, for what it’s worth), Traore rocks a tuxedo and waxes eloquent about cocaine and the ’80s crack era. That he raps about this with his gruff, Silly Putty voice over a remix of XXYYXX’s “About You” is what makes this song so sumptuous.
Here’s his commentary on the video:
I wanted to set the scene for the late ’80s, but as I was writing I sort of drifted off into another tangent. It went from being a song about my situation growing up, to a commentary about the crack era, and how that affected the people who were young adults in the ’80s. I tried to draw a parallel between then and now, how we easily could’ve been crack addicts had we grown up in that time. I grew up hearing a lot of folks my age making judgements on homeless folks or people with addictions, I wanted to make it clear that any one of us could have found ourselves in that situation had the circumstances been different. Once the first line gets written it sort of just takes on a mind of it’s own and in a weird way it writes itself.
Watch the David Dutton-directed clip below.
A-1’s latest mixtape Thurian is mostly him rapping over track remixes by laptop-dream producers like Kaytranada, Stwo, BEAR//FACE, Sango, Ryan Hemsworth. I’ve been listening to it since April and my verdict is: You should listen to it! Download or stream it for free here.