Jean Grae & Quelle Chris – “Zero” Video

Underground rap heroes Jean Grae and Quelle Chris are engaged — as in, to be married, but also, like, with the culture. They’re releasing an album together called Everything’s Fine, and its first two singles, “OhSh” and “Gold Purple Orange,” involved comedian Hannibal Buress in some way. The third single is something else entirely.

The beat for “Zero” is built from a flurry of synthesized bleeps and bloops resembling an old arcade game. In keeping with that sound, Quelle Chris has produced, directed, and animated an elaborate music video that looks exactly like what you might find on a 1980s console. Chris tells Wired the concept developed after he went to a San Francisco arcade high on mushrooms, sat down to play King Of Fighters, and repeatedly got his ass kicked by some kid — an experience that caused him to refocus on the games of his youth.

The subject was on his mind when the time came to make a “Zero” video and more elaborate plans were proving difficult to manifest. So he started working on what became a seven-minute excursion through multiple gaming genres, starring Grae as Zero, an international assassin chasing an evil capitalist overlord. What was originally supposed to be a “quick” video ended up taking months to complete. Check out the final product below.

Everything’s Fine is out 3/30 on Mello Music Group. Pre-order it here.