by ASHLEY JONES
10 things that went over your head from Fire in Little Africa’s Reparations Music Video
By Ashley “Medley” “Tina Token” Jones
For those who don’t know, Fire in Little Africa made a fire video to match a fire song. The video had all three artists on the track highlighted in a beautiful fashion. What was released is far from that original intentionally. St. Dom will be giving ALSUT an exclusive on what happened to the original.
What I can confirm is that FILA is made up of 60 artists and funders with ties to the Mayor’s Office. Due to non-violent depictions of the Mayor’s likeness being in the trunk during a scene, and a separate scene that made up the core of the video, the artist understandably decided to create a new vision.
Jeopardizing the first in my eyes is like asking someone to give an artist’s creative baby plastic surgery, or paint over a No Parking Studios masterpiece. It is fine the way it was and still is. The reshoot video is one that people who think appeasing the Mayor would enjoy, because the Mayor would enjoy it.
Thanks again to Ashley Jones for the drop breakdown of the "Reparations" video. Comment and let us know what you think of it. Also don't forget to share the article and subscribe to our newsletter:
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It’s Thursday, just a little past 12 PM when the intro to the world premiere started playing for the Fire In Little Africa video “Reparations”. The live chat started to get longer and longer as the comments started to come in. The excitement was at an all-time high, mainly because of the controversy surrounding the first video being shelved. St. Domonick hosted a private screening of the initial video on a building wall downtown just off 3rd st. This caused many to use their social media platform to express their anger and outrage, at times even comparing their struggle to the same narrative of being silenced by “The Man.” But now here we are, the second attempt at an official release for “Reparations”.
The countdown finally finished and the video started to play, opening with a drone shot of the city and a voice talking over a dispatcher radio. Next, the video cuts to 3-masked men in a Chevy mid-sized car parked in front of a building. As one of the masked men closes the truck, the Vuelo shark logo can be seen (Good product placement). The video then cuts to the 3-masked men fleeing the scene as alarms blare in the distance. The car speeds off with the masked men celebrating their getaway. Finally, the car stops as the masked man in the backseat announces:
"DOM JUST DROPPED A VIDEO!”
The next thing that happens is nothing short of embarrassing. An all-white cast for a video that is called “Reparations”. This single term has been controversial when it comes to African Americans. We built this shit! We should be compensated for the trillions of dollars in unpaid labor our ancestors did. But anyone that knows history knows that it’s not uncommon for America to give reparations, this would include the Native Americans as well as the Japanese Americans that received reparations for America’s horrible attempts at wiping out their race. But African Americans have yet to receive reparations to the extent that these other races have. So when the “Reparations” video did finally drop. It was a disappointment!
As a journalist, I advocate for Oklahoma music. There have been so many times I’ve argued with people that Oklahoma has some of the dopest artists and our videos can compete with any mainstream artist. No question! But this video will forever be that rebuttal. “What about that ‘Reparations’ video?”. The Reparations video was a disappointment. A letdown. This truly hurt the brand. After Fire In Little Africa put out 2 amazing visuals “Shining” and “Elevator”. Not even counting the visual content that surrounded the actual album. It’s Reparations that totally missed the mark for what the project aimed at accomplishing. But mostly this video hurt the artists featured on the song who had an opportunity to showcase their talent on a major stage. This doesn’t represent the years that Oklahoma artists have put into creating a hip-hop scene that is like no other. This definitely doesn’t represent the ancestors who gave their lives to make sure that the next generation had a chance. YOU HAD ONE JOB!
Who is responsible for this? There are some conspiracy theories about the label [Motown] white-washing the album. The label had nothing to do with this video. The artists were actually involved with making the video. Well, not all the artists. That’s an issue within itself. The song is fire. All three artists brought it. The video is a total distraction from what’s really supposed to shine. THE LYRICS! The worst part is that all three artists had amazing verses. St. Domonick brought an energy to the track that helped shape the direction of where it was going. Even M.C.’s 8 bars were dope. He’s one of the dopest emcees, whenever he’s featured on a verse he always shines, and everyone seems to raise their bars when he’s on the track. Hakeem Eli’juwon is one of the stars of this album, and this song is an example of why that is. The way he switches flows. This delivery and the way he emphasizes certain words make for perfect moments in the track. He’s a star! And even his disappointment for the video can be seen with his reaction on Twitter. While M.C. has gone radio silent on the whole issue. There was one artist that seemed to relish in the chaos.
The original video wasn’t released because it went too far. I don’t think the city would’ve blocked this video because they were too busy with the cyber attack going on and the rush to get the unidentified bodies of the Tulsa Race Massacre reburied. If we talking about songs that really got the attention of the government there are two examples that come to mind. N.W.A. and their song “Fuck the Police”. They went to jail over that song. They even got a letter from the F.B.I. for the lyrics of the song. Another example would be the original lyrics of FDT. “Fuck Donald Trump” that was written by Nipsey and YG. The actual Secret Service called Universal to get the lyrics to the song. There actually is a law (18 U.S.C. § 871), which criminalizes threats made against the President and successors to the Presidency.” With the label pressuring them, they had to change the lyrics. But the point is. THEY DROPPED THE FUCKING SONG! They realized the impact it would have on the culture. And the result was that record numbers of voters turned out to defeat Trump during his second run for the presidency. Back to “Reparations”. I imagine they weren’t in so much hot water as the Secret Service knocking on their door. So a little change to a video wouldn’t have killed everything. Or it means that the people involved with making the video don’t like to be challenged creatively and won’t allow themselves to get over setbacks. But I get it. Your an artist. And your Sensitive about your shit.”
A white-washed parody of the Family Matters intro. Some might say that this video was made as a 'fuck you' to the establishment. "That we won’t play by your rules". I see it more as trolling for views. Did we just get Rickrolled? This was not a clever witty response. This felt more like Tekashi 69, a rapper who got famous off trolling the music industry. Trolling and Black Wall Street shouldn’t be in the same discussion. And if we talking about legacy. Something that will be hereafter your gone. Is this truly what you want to be remembered by? “We laughed at the establishment.” In the end, it’s one guy who thinks he’s gonna get this big laugh when the whole world is laughing at him.
For anyone to claim this idea for making a video ‘parody’ as a good idea doesn’t see just how just how big of an opportunity that was blown plus it’s still irresponsible to put out a video at this point in time. Especially with this being the 100-year centennial and the current social climate. It does nothing to push the conversation forward. This was a chance to educate and tell the story of your ancestors, for your ancestors. But instead, this was a win for the people who wanted to silence the argument for reparations as well as the ones who tried to silence anyone who talked about the Black Wall Street Massacre.
So in closing.
"Put this video in the same trunk that St. Domonick raps about."
If ya’ll need help creating a video. Holla at Tulsa Lines. Cause. THIS AIN'T IT!
"This Ain’t Making Top 5.
Burn that video.
Burn that film.
Burn that Harddrive."
And at least fix the song credits on the video:
Lastly, don’t watch the video. It doesn’t represent Oklahoma Hip-Hop and it doesn’t represent the legacy of Black Wall Street.
Scary Hours turned into scary bars when OTS J Huncho dropped his new video "Freddy Krueger". Just like the character Freddy Krueger, OTS J Huncho's voice and wordplay strikes fear into it's victims. It's no coincidence that when you hear OTS J Hunch counting that it's his victim's final tune they hear. Throughout the track there are many clever and witty bars that give an incite to his Tulsa OTS J Huncho roots. "I done seen fiends play with that needle, they skin turn red like they went to Union". Tell me that ain't a bar. To be honest his lyrical skill is unexpected. Especially on a track with such a hard-hitting drill type of sound to it. But when he spits it's no doubt that he has bars. He walks down on his ops with lyrical clips that leave no witnesses.
"When my Polo was Beverly,
The video was shot by Wallace Productions who was able to bring to life a track that a thriller within itself. Every scary movie has that one scene that everyone talks about. The part where everything is still and it's that anticipation of knowing that the murder is about to kill his next victim. For this video, it's when OTS J Huncho hops out of a convertible Mustang and spits the line, "When my Polo was Beverly, Bitches wouldn't check for me, Now I get head in the Lexus seat". Lines like these slice through the beat like Freddy does in his horror films. So don't sleep on him. And if you hear the counting in the middle of the night be careful, it might be OTS J Huncho bodying another track.
Make sure you go watch OTS J Huncho's new video "Freddy Krueger" below:
WHO YOU LISTENING TO? I always get the question. What new artist am I listening to? To be honest this is usually a hard question because it can come down to a matter of what mood I'm in. Sometimes I want to hear conscious rap. sometimes I want to hear trap rap. But if you would ask me as of recently, I think the answer would be an artist I recently discovered by the name of, Chip Kip. His video "Legit". Was a fresh sound and his ability to switch up flows proved that he had been perfecting his craft. Just looking at his discography most notably his recent album titled "Best in the World" was a bold statement. I think that bravado is what makes his music really good. The album showed a boldness and a successful formula that has helped his music continue to evolve and get better. His latest song "Pound Man" is another evolution in the artist Chip Kip!
Hit em with the sauce,
What strikes you first about the track is definitely the production. The production has a bounce that reminds you of Detroit drill music that evolved from the Chicago drill scene. The ingredients are all there. The snares and the tempo of the track create that bounce that the 808 drum comes in and punctuates. The howling Spanglish singer adds a soft layer for Chip Kip to fit his complex trap lyrics into which creates tightly packaged bars that are all perfectly to scale. Chip Kip has a distinctive vocal inflection when he raps which gives his bars more emotion. At times it's as if he's just having fun. And other times it's as if he's spittin' commandments that he lives by and will let no one disrespect. It can't be overstated how much Chip Kip has quotable bars. Some of the lines are like the perfect comeback for anybody thinkin they can talk shit. And it’s also clear that Chip Kip can talk that shit. He’s the Pound Man!
Checkout Chip Kip's new single "Pound Man" below:
The top is always lonely. Steph Stove tells just how lonely it is with the release of his single "Lonely At The Top". The swank track is like a 1st person view from an artist that has weathered the storm. Which he is in an actual storm, in the video it shows Steph Stove walking around a snowy downtown Tulsa in his Jordan Retro 3's. Some sneakerheads may be thinking the audacity of him to rock his J’s in the snow. But that’s exactly the type of confidence that’s needed to be at the top. That includes not caring what people think and most importantly doing things the way you want. If you listen close you can tell that this confidence has carried into his lyrics, even his tone and his delivery convey an artist that knows his path and could care less what you think about it or as he says, “I knew that the top was lonely yet, I didn’t give a fuck!”. Steph Stove’s bars come at you quickly like jabs from DJ Khaled. Just when you think you heard the last bar there comes. Another one! Also interesting about this track is his presence. His voice creates a cadence dices through the track’s hard hitting bass and keeps the listener's ears occupied while waiting for the next bass drop. This is definitely him at his best. Sometimes artists make songs to show off their song writing abilities, I think this is that song that for Steph Stove. No chorus. No auto-tune. Just a beat and 2 minutes to show why your at the top. Is he at the top? Only time can tell. But as the beat ends you see one name . Steph Stove.
Watch me give this nigga 16,
Checkout Steph Stove's video "Lonely At The Top" below:
2021. We're all hoping that the new year brings new things and that we can leave the past in the past. But, everything that happened last year can't be bad. Some good did come out of 2020. One thing that was undeniable was the fact that there was a lot of good music coming out of Tulsa. It was a good year for the town. I should know. I had listened to all of it. Or at least I thought I did until I came across an artist by the name of Devon $.U.A.V.E. who dropped his project "Honey & Ginseng" at the very tail end of December. It was something different about this artist that made me press play.
Brands and Business is the 5th single on the EP titled "Honey & Ginseng". The track is a celebration of the G-Funk era of hip-hop that borrowed from the Tulsa sound made popular by The Gap Band and uncle Charlie Wilson. The track has so much old school flavor in it that even Charlie Wilson would be saying "What you know about that youngster?". His unique flow reminds me of the old school players that know the game and play it well. His luxurious raps paint a story of a player that dresses in fine linen and is unapologetic about the game and how it goes. While at the same time recognizing that this is a business and money is the name of the game. Here's one of the quotable lines off the track.
Ima brand, Ima businessman,
Devon $.U.A.V.E. raps show that rawness that proves that he has a gift. As he continues to grow as an artist and invest more in his music I think he can only get better. Most importantly he’s taking steps in the right direction which includes his marketing of the “Honey & Ginseng” project. So check out the single “Brands and Business” below and give it a listen.
Like a blind man drivin, I wreck.
It's all about the Benjamins. Who could forget such a classic Ice Cube film that put Mike Epps on Hollywood’s radar as the next rising star. The scene that sticks out the most is the classic convenience store dialogue where Mike Epps shined. Nobody could do this scene better than Mike right? One Tulsa artist is looking to prove that not only can he play the same character, but he can add a little bit of Oklahoma style to it. The cowboy boot wearing desperado happens to be the artist named J. Friday in his new video "Roll Up".
For anyone that has never heard a J. Friday song then this would be the perfect representation. He’s one of the most versatile artists around. From the beginning, you hear his melodic voice on the hook drawing you in. It’s at this moment that you realize that he also is a lyricist in the way he switches flows and his ability to contort words to fit a rhyming scheme created in a previous bar. The beat’s hypnotic sway is captured perfectly in the video as you can see J. Friday strolling thru a purple drank city that seems to insinuate that he’s been sippin that Texas Tea.
One of J. Friday’s characteristics are his ability to let other people shine on a record also. And that’s exactly what J.A.Y. Pilotlife did. He’s able to match J. Friday’s energy as his verse slowly builds until it ends with a barrage of syllables that leave you thinking damn. He can really rap. You can tell his mastery and penmanship by the way he seems to always be in control of the track no matter how fast or slow he raps. Every word seems planned out and precise.
My diamonds forever remind you of Hova,
Checkout J. Friday's video "Roll Up" ft J.A.Y. Pilot below:
Few people have been as active as the rapper they call Yung Trunkz. The Tulsa artist has ramped up his musical output during a pandemic that left many artists on hold hoping for next year to be better. Yung Trunkz has went against this idea and has seen 2020 as an opportunity to do more. This past year alone he has been on a tear, releasing a collection of music ranging from singles, EPs, and albums. Not to mention the featured verses he’s been selected for where he has proven to hold his own. So when it comes to the last month of the year when the music industry is shutting down for the holidays, Yung Trunkz drops off a holiday treat. The single Trap Trunkz.
I been living in the future keep a mask on.
The countdown to self-destruction starts the track and leads into a car crash of high hats and 808 drums. The actual track plays out like a Three 6 Mafia influenced production that whose maniacal sound was the groundwork for psychopathic murderer influenced rhymes. This track’s production shows the evolution of trap music as the incorporated guitar symbolizes a hint of rock and roll ingredient. Yung Trunkz’s flow comes off as very macho and also braggadocios. But not too self-indulged to shouts out artist YungxHalloween in the track, "Yea my boy Halloween spittin fire like a drummer". Usually known for his use of autotune, it seems intentional that he raps without it. He wants you to hear every word and feel each bar, even the ones that sting. He seems to leave the chorus for his signature autotune use. The chorus becomes a chant that reflects just how far the genre has grown and is the moments’ breath from his fast paced lyrical assault. Yung Trunkz from the trap. In the second verse, he echoes the point about rappers copying his flow which he's stated on multiple occasions that artists like Lil Uzi Vert have been stealing his flows. But they can’t copy the Yung Trunkz from the TRAP!
Checkout Yung Trunkz new single "Trap Trunkz below:
Freestyle. The general consensus of a freestyle is that it is an improvised, unwritten, display of flow, and lyricism that occurs in one attempt. A song is generally more structured as opposed to a freestyle which can be seen as more of a stream of thought. But as time and rap have evolved the term freestyle itself has become more blurry. The freestyle track is now more of an unstructured song that has no chorus and a particular topic that it has to stick to. The freestyle track is still intended to let artist show off their skill as a stream of thought but if you need more than one take, that’s allowed now. If you need an example of this look no further than Parris Chariz's track called "Can't Hold Back Freestyle”.
When you're eatin raman,
The track appears on his latest album 2045 Deluxe: Airwavs which is the second helping to the 2045 saga. The track’s somber feel sets the stage for Parris Chariz to answer the question "Are you here?" He answers by giving the old hip hop heads what they want. Lyricism and bars centered around the classic boom-bap percussion. The track is jam-packed with quotable lines that make you double-take. His talent extends beyond the box that most gatekeepers try to put him in. Bar after bar come at the listener like a game of Guitar Hero, where the slightest break is given right before a string of back to back lines that grab your ear as your brain tries to decode and process before the next bar comes. Parris Chariz ain’t here to play. He repeats the last line. "I CAN'T HOLD BACK!"
Remeber when shorty said I'm her man, I played the zone.
Checkout Parris Chariz's single "Can't Hold Back Freestyle” below.
Hustle Sold Separately two Oklahoma artists deciding to team up and drop a joint project. Which is not easy and is rarely executed well. Overall it has to fit musically. So when artists K.O. and Trip G dropped a joint project it was a surprise. Knowing that this would be a difficult thing to pull off I was skeptical. That was until I heard the first track which has to be the title track off the album called “Hustle Sold Separately”.
The track starts off with a maniacal beat produced by ADHD, who has been a long time collaborator with Trip G. The beat represents his signature tag line “ADHD Got This Bouncin Yea” with its hard-hitting bass and synthesized piano keys that seem to creep around the bass.
I don't need approval,
K.O. is up first. The lyricist has built a reputation on intricate flows and clever bars having caught the attention of her peers, many have approached her to do features. On this track is no different as her skills are exhibited as if with ease. She starts out walking on the beat taking her time and making every word punctuated. But as she gets to the end of her verse she switches her flow to a faster pace almost as telling Trip G. Match Me!
I'm sucka free but you niggas some suckas
Trip G is not to be shown up. He proves from the beginning that not only can he match the pace but also that he can drop bar after bar, in sort of a lyrical sprint. Trip G’s verse is true to his style that can be described as more of a showman. He raps about staying on point because people will wait for the right opportunity and their plenty of opportunists. And Trip G is not afraid to call them out.
By the end of the track, both artists wait at the finish line not looking phased or fatigued. This is just the warmup. And most importantly this is the start to a great album.
Checkout K.O. and Trip G’s single from their title track called “Hustle Sold Separately" below: