Black-and-white has become the new "car cruise" shot in hip-hop videos. That is, it's been overdone to the point of parody, and though once a fresh approach to the urban themes of most videos, it now feels progressively stale. Emcees like to boast about their unlimited amount of bread, but praising their own staleness isn't something they want to do.
The film technique is used in Smoke DZA's "Gotham F*cking City," but works well because of the dark grittiness we've associated with the city of Gotham, and because of the video's gloomy subject matter. It doesn't feel stale but purposeful. Based on actual video footage of a 2004 incident that took place at a housing project in the Bronx, the video's protagonist makes a weighty decision on his fate after clashing with his enemies. The final results aren't pretty, but unfortunately too commonplace in today's world.
Joined by youngin' Joey Bada$$, the video puts visuals to the song off DZA's K.O.N.Y. mixtape. Bada$$ seems like an even better recruit when seen featured in the video. Something about the young emcee's youth, and stark lyrics (he kills his verse, doesn't he?), add a further weight to the events that transpire on "Gotham F*cking City."
It's not the type of stuff you'd want to check out on a sunny day, but it's a mature reminder of the Kush God's versatility.