There’s a scene from this past week’s Empire that might be the most insane moment that this deeply nuts show has yet given us. Terrence Howard, as jailed rap icon Luscious Lyon, is recording a song called “Snitch Bitch,” in secret, in an out-of-the-way prison room. With him are Petey Pablo and an unnamed white Australian who is apparently a genius at keyboards and beat machines, to the point where he can play both of them simultaneously. Some other guy bangs on a conveniently nearby barrel. Howard grabs a handheld mic and goes nuts with the rap hands. Everyone does everything at the same time, and yet the song comes out sounding like a slick, overproduced studio concoction. This scene betrayed zero sense of how songs are actually recorded, and it made no sense at all. I loved it. I might have to write next week’s Status Ain’t Hood about it. If this were a music video, it would be an easy #1 this week. But it isn’t. This week’s picks are below.
5. Ricked Wicky – “Poor Substitute” (Dir. Mike Postalakis)
If you ever went to a Guided By Voices show, there is a very good chance you’ve attempted the Robert Pollard impression at some point. You probably did not nail it, but you probably had fun doing it. So here’s Badger from Breaking Bad and the skeezy guy from Hot Tub Time Machine trying that same impression, not nailing it, and having fun regardless. It’s more entertaining than it probably should be.
4. Disclosure – “Magnets” (Feat. Lorde) (Dir. Ryan Hope)
Horny Lorde is fun, but Shiny-Black-Vinyl Rap-Hands Gothic Fire-Murder Lorde is probably the best Lorde yet.
3. De Staat – “Witch Doctor” (Dir. Studio Smack, Floris Kaayk, & Torre Florim)
This is just pragmatic filmmaking. Why hire a whole army of muscled-up shirtless goons when a CGI version of the same will be a lot cheaper and ultimately way more creepy?
2. Huntress – “Sorrow” (Dir. Phil Mucci)
Rejoice, for the season of Halloween-themed music videos is upon us.
1. Tyler, The Creator – “BUFFALO” (Dir. Wolf Haley)
I honestly don’t get paid enough to even attempt to unpack everything that’s going on here. Whiteface skinhead Tyler being chased by a black lynch mob? Whiteface skinhead Tyler then ascending to a preacher’s pulpit and putting on blackface? Everything then suddenly switching to an affectionate Tim & Eric public-access version of Soul Train? There is a lot going on there. But unlike the last few Tyler videos, you get the sense that it’s saying something. It isn’t a plunge into forced wackiness, and the imagery is searing and memorable. It’s not “Yonkers,” but it might be the closest that Tyler has come since then.