Sunday, November 22, 2009

local hip hop

I discovered Zia Mohajerjasbi through his genius award write up in The Stranger. Check out his Vimeo page. He makes hip hop videos for local Seattle artists. Pretty cool, right?

I think when your average person thinks of hip hop videos they think of guns, gold chains and half naked women. People should be thinking of a second type of hip hop video. That is, the short film:

Common Market "Trouble Is" Music Video from Zia Mohajerjasbi on Vimeo.

Framing a hip hop video like a short film makes sense. Indie acts such as Common Market are heavily message oriented. They tell stories about poverty and economic hardship.

They're like the Almanac Singers of the modern depression. When I was making a documentary about street musician Tommy Dean, I really wanted to end the film with Tommy's comments on hip hop. The moral is, folk singers (by nature of their medium) are looking in the rear view mirror. Hip hop is current and modern. It doesn't preoccupy itself by imitating the blues and it doesn't try to hide behind a clever riff or a catchy melody. Its just message.

That said, I'm interested in what Zia is doing. I'll keep an eye on him.

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