Sisters Underground “In The Neighbourhood”

1994-sisters-underground-in-the-neighbourhoodI just listened to this song for the first time in years and a lyric stood out:

It’s a cruel June morning on the edge of the city.
It’s so damn hot, and my neck is feeling gritty.

An unpleasantly hot day in June? This is not a New Zealand lyric. And I don’t think you’d find many “brothers talkin’ ’bout their damn MAC-10” around these parts.

It makes more sense to discover that Hassanah, Sisters Underground’s MC, is from Nigeria by way of New York, so I figure she’s allowed to write about her experience of stinking hot June days and guns in other cities in other hemispheres.

The “In The Neighbourhood” video is very cool, with footage of Hassanah and singer Brenda mooching around the streets of South Auckland wearing different combos of baggy jeans and buttoned-up shirts. Even though they both look like sweet teenage girls, they also have a toughness to them. Hey, they’re Sisters Underground. You do not mess with them.

And the video captures bits of ordinary South Auckland life. South Auckland has to be the most filmed area as far as music videos go. No videographers ever film people down at the Bucklands Beach shops.

This video rightly deserves its place as a landmark New Zealand music video. While it’s not the first music video to feature South Auckland life, with photographer Greg Semu behind the camera, it was the first to do it with beauty.

Best bit: the Sisters chillin’ in the golden afternoon sun. So cool.

Director: Greg Semu
Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision

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