Jay-Z, On to the Next One

When it first appeared at the toll of the new year, I admittedly dismissed Jay-Z's new music video, On to the Next One, as a harsh confusion of style over substance. However, three months after the fact can change a man... or at least his opinion on some superb high-art symbolism.

Full of cloak & dagger themes and pop culture references that are cloaked in symbolism, the video recalls my art school days watching Matthew Barney battle Richard Serra atop the Chrysler building. When asked about his artistic intent behind the video in Vibe, director Sam Brown admitted that:
There is imagery in this video that is drawn from all over the place. None of it is owned by any one culture or belief system. You can connect anything if you try hard enough, and make it mean anything you want it to. [He added that] for those interested, the idea is actually about a funeral for old imagery and ideas, hence all the Gothic and oppressive stuff. I was also trying to contradict the excess of hip-hop videos by making something brutally simple and claustrophobic.
And that my friends is a concept I can get behind. Props to Jay-Z for allowing himself to push the genre in new direction and major kudos to Brown for standing behind his work.


  1. I love the artistic intention behind the video. I do not like the song in the slightest though, but it's nice to see something that isn't following in the slime of exploitation the genre so disgustingly employs. I found nothing necessarily oppressing or gothic; the fact that the video was shot in black in white doesn't necessarily mean anything 'different' to me since a lot of Jaz-Z's videos are shot that way. The imagery is far too tame (I get that the point was to abandon the hackneyed direction most Hip Hop videos follow), but I would have really enjoyed seeing something a little more bizarre. There really wasn't much going on that moved me in the slightest aside from how damn glossy the footage was. I just wanted to rub my face all over it. Get rid of the flashy lights, put on some thrift store clothes, head to the graveyard and grab your shovel; get dirty! The whole "trying to make something simple and claustrophobic" doesn't make much sense since almost all hip hop videos are nothing BUT close-ups of the rapper.

    The optimistic part of me will now speak:

    It was nice to see something without booty shorts, soap suds on a giant hiney, strippers on worn out poles, and the various other trite imagery we see on BET.

  1. edit: Since almost all hip hop videos IN GENERAL are nothing but close-ups of the rapper or subject on screen.

  1. Strange Kid said...:

    The music is decent, thanks to Swiss Beatz and it tends to grow on you like a fungus. The video hits a few high points, though I don't know if its award-winning.

    A great attempt to diversify for sure and Jay-Z has shown in the past that he likes to try different avenues so it's all good.

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