Monday, September 24, 2007

Digital Goldmine

Bored and sleepless, I did what any self-respecting person does during times like these: go online and watch random videos from YouTube. Here I present you a slew of Ludacris videos I thought were pretty well made.

"Roll Out" (Jeremy Rall, 2001)

With an oversized head matching his oversize ego, oversized rims, and oversized pockets, Ludacris parodies his personality and the media and watchers that admire and loathe the image he peddles. He switches back and forth between pushing back busy bodies while parading the things these curious onlookers are asking about. It's a complicated relationship, underlined by the emphasis on the CGI fakeness of Ludacris' blown-up head. What is lost in the transaction Ludacris points out, as he flashes words on screen reenacting the rhymes coming out of him. It's genius: while tabloid headlines are boringly static, his lyrics jump across the screen, runs around, goes around him, etc. He also makes a counterpoint between the imagery of the words and the images of the words, as the poetic nature of the words battle the baseness of the lifestyle they portray.

"Money Maker" (Melina, 2006)

Although it looks very identical, this video has nothing on Kanye West's "Gold Digger", with its use of pin ups in lieu of stereotypical hip hop images of pretty women and a Kanye West with his back turned towards the camera to emphasize both the women (we only see the back of his head) and the "personal advice" like tone of the song. But its use of lighting, rich colors, and rhythmic editing is I believe equally competent. The relationship may even be intentional: with alternating flashes of booty and money, one can't help but be reminded of West's ode to women and the costly measures he is willing to take to keep them. West's admiration of the Gold Digger and Ludacris' of the said female's Money Maker (admitting both the exploitation of her ass and the ability of that ass to exploit back) presents a less vapid relationship between colored man and colored woman. It's not just between a bitch and a dog, but between two people using each other, both to pay for bills and to please themselves. In addition, the (pseudo) retro touches of frame growing within frames historicizes the sexual struggle as well as West's (inappropriate, to some extent) incorporation of Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman".

"Act a Fool" (Bryan Barber, 2003)

With candy colors whizzing by, Ludacris gives praise to the pop phenomena that are the racing culture and the gaming culture. Coupled with lyrics about materialist rebellion, the anatomy of a racing car, and the pleasures of sitting back and smoking up with your buddies, this video tries to capture and explain the spirit of underground and separatist cultures. The video starts with a motley crew of carts on wheels, be they brightly colored or dilapidated ice cream trucks, giving rise to nostalgic memories of those Twisted Metal games (yes, in existence mere ten years ago, yet that is the nature of the contemporary media landscape). As they race through the streets of Los Angeles (the city never looked so ugly yet so exciting), Ludacris touches upon every ridiculous details put on a lowly racing car: tv sets on the steering wheel, grills, NOS tanks, gigantic's funny, yet affirms deep-seated capitalist fantasies. He gives a shout out to these cultures and pays his respect to the extent they have changed culture at large, especially hip hop and the influence hip hop has to American/Western culture.


Jojo Devera said...

i mailed the movies po kanina... hopefully matanggap mo by the end of the week. dumating na ba si Paloma? may balita na po ba sa mga movies na hinahanap natin? maraming salamat po!

John Santos said...

Oy kuya!

Si Paloma mukang medyo naligaw. Excited na excited ako, pero nabibigo palagi. Siguro isa pang linggo. Sabi nila yung first class daw could take as long as three weeks.

Medyo may maliit na problema sa Napakasakit Kuya Eddie at saka Lumapit Lumayo. Una, yung tape nang Napakasakit na galing sa Viva tinanggal yung unang isa o dalawang minuto nung palabas. Hindi ko alam kung bakit, pero yung pelikula nagsimula na lang sa "directed by Lino Brocka." Walang title frame. Pero sigurado ako na Napakasakit yun dahil mayroong Viva label yung tape. Ipapadala ko parin, pero wala nga lang yung first two minutes.

Yung Lumapit Lumayo naman, yung first ten seconds makikita mo yung Tracking bar dahil inaayos ko yung tape nung nagrerecord. Pwede akong gumawa nag pangalawang recording, pero sira sira na yung tape...talagang sinusubukan ko pero mukhang na magnetize na. Ipapadala ko parin, pero nga lang may maliit na imperfection.

So ngayon, apat na: Lihim ng Kalapati, Apoy Sa Iyong Kandungan, Napakasakit Kuya Eddie, at Lumapit Lumayo. Sa Miyerkoles ko ipapadala. Alam kong Miyerkoles ako ng Miyerkoles, pero talagang Miyerkoles na. Na-busy lang ako last week, pero ngayon libre na ulit ako. Yung iba hinahanap ko parin...medyo sigurado akong mahahanap ko yung mga Brocka, Bernal, at Eddie Garcia. Yung iba hindi ko alam, pero magdasal na lang lol. Ingats!

Jojo Devera said...

bakit naman kaya sobrang tagal? hopefully makuha mo rin agad yung pinadala ko. ok lang kung putol ang opening credits ng Napakasakit... ganon din ang Bakit Bughaw putol din ang credits. so VHS tapes ang ipapadala mo sa akin? kahit ano pa ang kundisyon ng Lumapit, Lumayo gusto kolang siyang mapanood. magkano na ang utang ko sa yo? sige po hintayin ko na lang ang mga padala mo. maraming, maraming salamat po talaga! di ko alam kung paano ako makakaganti sa yo.

ingat po!

John Santos said...

Yung Apoy at Napakasakit nasa DVD. Yung Lihim ng Kalapati, nag-nenegotiate pa ako sa may ari kasi alam kong may dalawa o tatlo siyang kopya. Yung Lumapit Lumayo, baka ipadala ko na lang yung VHS tape ko. Sa bagay nakopya ko na, kaya ipapadala ko na lang yung tape, at saka kasama isang DVD kung sakaling hindi gumana yung tape. Sabi ko naman na dati: walang utang, OK lang. Basta bat gawin mo lang yung ginagawa mo na ngayon--magsulat at magsagip ng mga pelikula--patas na tayo. Talagang napakaimportante lang talaga sa akin na mayroong kopya ang mga palabas na ito at mayroong nagaabalang ipa-alam sa iba ang kagandahan ng mga pelikulang ito.

Naks naman, napaka arte. O sige sa susunod na lang bago pa ako umiyak nang todo...