4th Element were a hip hop duo from Ranui, West Auckland, and those western suburbs are the star of the “Break U Off” music video. It threatens to be yet another “life in the suburbs” video, but it’s a lot more sophisticated than that.
We see the duo rapping around the streets of Ranui, and in front of a graffiti-covered wall, but things soon get interesting. The video tells the stories of two Ranui residents – a young woman who’s left home, and a young guy who’s playing basketball. In each case, a frame of the character has been painted as a mural on the wall behind 4th Element. It’s really clever and ambitious.
Over all, the video has a very sophisticated, cinematic feel to it. So it’s surprising to discover that this was 4th Element’s one and only funded video, and it doesn’t appear that the group had much of a life beyond 2005. But this portrait of Ranui is a fine way to remember 4th Element.
Best bit: a suburban Auckland train ride, a pleasant change after all the videos shot at Britomart station.
Director: Kristian Eek
Nga Taonga Sound & Vision
Next… bright shiny supermarket life.