black sand transports us to their world in the “2k4eva” video

November 12, 2019
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One of the most interesting things about hip-hop music at the end of the decade is how the genre has splintered into countless subgenres — each with their own aesthetics, slang, and ideological throughlines. These are scenes and subcultures enabled by technology, the exchange of ideas and sounds and, of course, the coalescence of like minds. As we approach 2020, saying that you like hip-hop or rap is almost bankrupt because it begs the question, “But what kinds of rap? “

If your tastes lie with the music that’s to the left of what you would find on a RapCaviar — stuff that’s more about artistic experimentation than commercial accessibility — then Black Sand, the collective name of the duo of New York rapper Akai Solo and nomadic rapper/producer Pink Siifu is for you.

On their recently released eponymous project, Akai and Pink Siifu (under his alias iiye) play the complementary roles of wordsmith and beatsmith with Siifu provided distorted loops as the canvas for Akai non-stop stream of consciousness rhymes. (“House niggas try to justify they politics/ that’s one thing I’m not jackin’ on the grid.”) The hazy, high, and transportive feeling of the combination of beats and rhymes is made visible in the DIY-as-fuck video for one of the project’s standouts “2k4eva.”

In the clip, we see abstract griot Akai in his natural habitat among friends like producer Amani Fela in a room where record sleeves cover the wall, blunts are being rolled and Akai raps to a door mirror with a Madvillain poster next to it. The visuals by Absent Avery and DVD City are low-fi glitchy, and something that seems like something from ripped from a student film project in the ’90s more than music video from 2019. The result feels anachronistic and perfect at once.