A boxing ring is a simple and dramatic setting. It symbolises conflict on display. So it’s not surprising that the boxing ring has been the setting for many music videos (check out this list). But I can only think of two NZOA funded videos that have used the ring – Rubicon’s “The Captain” (with the band in netball uniforms) and Wordperfect’s “The Word Perfect Show” (he doesn’t take off his robe, but the ring girl wears a bikini). But the obvious comparison is LL Cool J’s bombastic 1990 video for “Mama Said Knock You Out” – and indeed “Elemental Forces” seems to be paying tribute to LL in some shots.
So here’s King Kapisi entering the ring for his ode to hip hop culture, shouting out to “MCs, DJs, b-boys, graff artists”. And while the video starts off with a traditional boxing match, the ring is soon given over to hip hop artists, mostly b-boys. There’s also King Kapisi going the MCing (of course) DJ CXL behind the turntables, but there’s no sign of any graff artists. But then, there aren’t all that many surfaces to paint.
The video is directed by King Kapisi himself, and stars his friends and family. Like “Mama Said Knock You Out”, the most of video is shot in black and white. It gives it all a very dramatic look, and not just a bunch of entertainers mucking around in a boxing gym after hours. The one excursion into colour takes place outside the ring. In front of a giant backdrop of Kapisi’s Overstayer flag, he gets enjoys some full-colour posing.
There’s also something to be said for King Kapisi actually having the right build for boxing. He looks like someone who could actually win a boxing match, no accidental lolz from a skinny-arse muso trying to be Rocky. (The only time this has ever worked is Sandra Bernhard kicking David Lowery’s arse in Cracker’s “Low” video.) Yeah, there are better boxing music videos, but as far as the genre goes, this is a really good effort.
Best bit: the fierce breakdancing spins.
Director: King Kapisi
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision