A solo vibe, down on the corner, he’s the lion man, furious CGI cityscape, monochrome splat, the nuns and the rabbit, and fashion is always danger.
A home invasion, the housing bubble, ECT on GI Joes, video games, a wander along K Road, and some South Auckland.
Continue reading August 2006: Cassette, Che Fu, City Newton Bombers, dDub, Deceptikonz, Don McGlashan
The phenomenon of “Mareko feat. The Deceptikonz” was like when the Supremes became Diana Ross and the Supremes or Miami Sound Machine became Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine. Except in this case, Mareko isn’t the star – he doesn’t even show up until halfway through the song. Instead it’s Savage who gets the impossibly catchy hook, making it very much Savage feat. the Deceptikonz.
The fire-safety catchphrase of the chorus is turned into a military command for the video – which would be a whole lot easier than shooting people with flaming clothes. It’s filmed at what looks like actual military barracks, complete with the New Zealand flag flying.
The video opens with Mareko broadcasting over the camp’s PA, with his personality flipping between Robin William’s cheerful Good Morning, Vietnam DJ, and R Lee Ermey’s draconian drill sergeant of Full Metal Jacket.
The action alternates between the day and night. In the AM, drill sergeant Savage keeps the troops in line. There are outdoor exercises, head shaving, bunk inspection and some attempts at formation dancing. While at night, the troop’s barracks have been transformed into a party zone, with dancing girls wearing sexy camo. (This is actually what happened with Work & Income’s Limited Service Volunteer programme under Labour.) There’s also a bit of jungle action, where waterguns take the place of serious weaponry.
By the way, this song has one of the greatest lines in New Zealand hip hop, where Devolo tells all opponents to bring it on, adding, “I’ll pay for your minibus!” Yeah, that’s serious.
This is a really fun video, playing along with the cheeky spirit of the song. After the previous branding-intense video for “Mareko (Here to Stay)”, it’s very refreshing to just have the Deceptikonz being these cool dude MCs.
Best bit: the lack of discipline during the bunk room inspection. Eyes front!
Next… a menace II society.
So this is a bit of a weird one. From what I can figure out, in 2002 the Deceptikonz originally received funding for a song called “Chillin'”. A video wasn’t made, but the song ended up on the Sione’s Wedding soundtrack, released in 2006. But also in 2006 came the video for “Don’t Front on Me”, which seems to have been made with the transfered funding originally intended for “Chillin'”. There’s no NZOA logo on the version of the video I’ve found online, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it wasn’t made with funding.
“Don’t Front on Me” was the first single from the Deceptikonz’s second album, “Heavy Rotation”. It comes after Mareko’s modest local success in 2003, but before Savage’s massive international success in 2008. In the video’s YouTube description, Dawn Raid describe the album as “slept on”.
So, to the video. It’s directed by Sophie Findlay who had previously done “Swing” for Savage. It’s a simple set-up – the group rapping in front of green-screened graphics, promoting the band and South Auckland.
It looks like Mareko wasn’t available for the video, so when his part comes, they use a body double wearing a Mareko-style bucket hat, pulled so far down that he looks like Dumb Donald from Fat Albert. Or maybe the real Mareko was just feeling really shy.
The best solo bit comes from Savage, having an angry rant in an old phone box. It breaks the monochrome world of the video to introduce a bit of bright red into the picture. The lyrics dish a bit of their reality – they don’t have to be nice to their fans but they never seem to win the awards they’re nominated for. Hmm, I wonder if the two are connected somehow.
It’s an ok song, but it doesn’t have the instant zing of their earlier stuff. And that’s what the video feels like to. It’s ok, but it’s not even close to the captivating “Stop Drop and Roll” bootcamp.
Best bit: angry phone box Savage flanked by two little Savages.
Director: Sophie Findlay
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… we’re having a party and everyone’s invited.