Mean Take Me / Dive music video
Bonding over an immense love for Raf Simons and laksa (the authentic kind that you find in hawker centres in Singapore, not the white-wash version that I do enjoy but scoff at occasionally), hip hop artist Mean has a point of difference.
Being labelled The Dapper Rapper by media might suggest his style is run-of-the-mill suit and tie combination but bless this kid’s heart, he spits out rhymes in Raf and Loewe instead, like high fashion is the second thing he consumes after laksa.
When Mean said that he was visiting Australia for a holiday, I did what honorary locals would do and suggested Australian essentials like the Harbour Bridge and koalas. But as creatives do, we ended up talking about collaborating, potentially for an article, but the conversation, by luck, snowballed into a music video.
See, most people dream of owning white picket fences with their trophy wives and children, or raising their Instagram numbers, including doing the dodge just so they can get “what are you famous for” kind of famous and become “brand partners” but mine is to make a music clip (Michel Gondry and Mark Romanek – thanks for the inspiration) so I coerced Mean to let me shoot and direct the video, even though our friendship has only been the Instagram kind so far.
The video ends up being two different songs released as a single clip – by way of Mean’s ingenuity, it makes sense how Take Me and Dive blended from one to the other despite its contrasting musical production.
The lyrics for both tracks are inspired by dark periods in his life – as are the rest of the album, NSFW: Not Safe For Work, which confronts as much as reflects – so taking the viewer on a journey is central in the video.
Take Me has a mellow vibe and we thought it was natural to set it against Sydney’s coastal landscape and bring those popular #Bondi hashtags to life. We threw around ideas for weeks and while we settled on a gritty graffiti wall for Dive to appropriate the urban tone, we ended up in a seedy laneway, no thanks to a children’s event in the original locale.
A video with The Dapper Rapper isn’t fully realised unless it’s dressed to the nines, literally. As Mean himself said, “what I wear in my videos is a reflection of my mood and what I wish to convey to the viewers.” The Loewe scarf in Take Me and Lunettes Kollektion x Christopher Shannon sunglasses in Dive, as much as they are pieces to enhance the visual elements of the clip, accentuate Mean’s personal style that earned him the label in the first place.
They say that Instagram bring people together and in the kaleidoscope of contorted yoga torsos, vivid food art and sometimes cringe-worthy style blogger #squadgoals, I am glad to have found The Dapper Rapper through binary code. After all, birds of a feather do flock together, although I’m sensitive to “peacocks” so spread those wings somewhere else, maybe?