Scribe “Stand Up”

2003-scribe-stand-upSo here it is, the New Zealand single to spend the most number of weeks at number one, spending a total of 12 weeks in the top spot – equalled only by Freddy Fender’s lament “Wasted Days and Wasted Night” in 1975 and bettered only by Boney M’s permanently amazing biblical groove “Rivers of Babylon”, which managed 14 weeks in 1978.

I remember at the time “Stand Up” came out, someone saying something like, “This is an important moment for New Zealand hip hop, but it’s going to be even better when this song seems really naff.” That is, it’ll be better when the New Zealand world of hip hop is so strong, it doesn’t need a motivational song praising it.

Are we there yet? Well, in 2003, the overall year-end singles chart had five hip hop singles from New Zealand artists, 2004 had six, but the 2013 chart doesn’t have any. It’s not until you drill down to to the New Zealand artists chart that “Runnin'” by David Dallas shows up. Hip hop is still around, but it’s not the pop superpower it was a decade ago.

The “Stand Up” adventure starts with Scribe and P-Money in a car, teasingly soundtracked by the intro of his next single “Not Many”. The pair get out and run towards a door and – bam! – they’re in a secret underground party, attended by their friends, fans and other New Zealand hip hop players.

Scribe is surrounded by the other artists he name-drops – the D4, Blindspott, Nesian Mystik, Deceptikonz – and there’s a certain awkwardness when everyone in the video feels compelled to pull a cooldude face when the camera is near them. But full credit to director Chris Gregory for getting great levels of energy in the crowd. This doesn’t look like a bunch of people roped into making a music video – they all want to be they’re and they’re having a great time partying.

In 2003, the video was great and inspiring. If Scribe could manage this with his first solo video, there could only be great things to come, right? It turned out the future was more complicated than that. Sometimes hip hop is in fashion, other times it’s the turn for minimalist electro teen pop.

The “Stand Up” ends with a preview of the next single, “Not Many”. It introduces the listener to the very sticky chorus that would soon be repeated all around New Zealand, leaving viewers wanting so much more.

Note: Hip hop label Grindin has a track-by-track look at the making of Scribe’s Crusader album, including a lot of info about the “Stand Up” video. From this we learn that much of the people in the video are audience members from a De La Soul concert that Scribe opened for earlier that evening.

Best bit: P-Money’s deft hat flip to obscure his mouth saying the F-word.

Director: Chris Graham
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

Next… a screen test.

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