Significant time has already passed since Run The Jewels released their phenomenal sophomore album Run The Jewels II, but the world isn’t even close to tiring of it. Lead single Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck) ft. Zack De La Rocha was easily one of the strongest, most aggressive and politically poignant hip hop singles of last year, and they’ve now released an equally powerful video clip to accompany it.
The clip essentially portrays police brutality: An armed white officer and a young, unarmed black man. They’re tired. They’ve been fighting for hours, but they cannot give up. As they roll from the street through to a family home, their attempts at violence wane at times – but only because they’re out of breath, not for a lack of passion.
Outspoken at every turn, Killer Mike has been a constant voice in the uprising against race-related police brutality throughout the USA. Indeed, he and El-P are releasing a fully remixed version of RTJ2 entirely consisting of cat sounds, a crowdfunded campaign from which the profits will go to the families of Eric Garner and Mike Brown.
We can only hope that musical messages like these will make a difference to the lives of those affected.
A.G Rojas had this to say about directing the clip: “When Run The Jewels sent me this track, I knew we had the opportunity to create a film that means something. I felt a sense of responsibility to do just that. We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country. It’s provocative, and we all knew this, so we were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity. For me, it was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid. They’re not stereotypes. They’re people – complex, real people and, as such, the power had to shift between them at certain points throughout the story. The film begins and it feels like they have been fighting for days, they’re exhausted, not a single punch is thrown, their violence is communicated through clumsy, raw emotion. They’ve already fought their way past their judgments and learned hatred toward one another. Our goal was to highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it.”
El-P said, “This is a vision of a seemingly never-ending struggle whose participants are pitted against each other by forces originating outside of themselves.”
Killer Mike: “This video represents the futile and exhausting existence of a purgatory-like law enforcement system. There is no neat solution at the end because there is no neat solution in the real world. However, there is an opportunity to dialogue and change the way communities are policed in this country. Salutes to AG Rojas for his unique take on the subject matter and to Shea and Keith for giving us their all and bringing it to life.”