Tuesday, April 26, 2011

OK, Albus Brooks gets it.

Big Al-bus and his krew may have a career waiting for them in the music biz.

H/T to the Captain.

Added 4-27: I had to come back to this to make a few comments on the video itself. For Denver, local political production, it's tops. It has a freshness that comes from young minds. The director is responsible for most of the spangle, and this took a lot of work, well-planned and not thrown together in an afternoon. The locations are good with action at the corner store on York nailing it as a ghetto. (Hey, it's my 'hood too, so I can call it ghetto.)

The editor backs the director up with good action and stutter cuts (same person?). Count the scenes and note the sound and movement syncing perfectly over each transition. Check what is going on in each scene because there are multiple actions in many frames. Watch a person who is not the focus of the scene. They are engaged. Note the rivalry between the two lead singers, when "Flight School" grabs his rival at 2:07, giving us another layer. Tres cool.
The music is very good. The chant, harmony, and repetition really work - I was humming "Write it in" a half hour later. The verses really work to tell  the story if you listen to it a few times.

It did not move me to want to vote for Albus, who comes across weak. When he's on camera he looks like "what am I doing here?". He seems meek and apologetic at the end, and the snicker on the sound track doesn't help. It's hard to get politicos to act any different from what they think a politician should act like. (I know, I've tried). Albus needs to lighten up and bust a few moves, but he doesn't think that would be proper for a candidate.
It's too long (by about a third).
It represents many of the things that some people hate, namely rappers, rap music, and rap moves. It doesn't seem to be embedded on the official Brooks website (one link on a twitter feed). Was someone worried it might cost Albus votes? Too rad?

When I first saw it yesterday it had 28 views, right now it's at 244. For Denver, that is going viral. We'll know when it gets picked up by a national outlet, web or TV, as it will start to jump by the thousands. If that happens "Flight School" and his krew should be prepared: get a publicist and a lawyer, go on talk-TV (Oprah if possible), and wait for the contracts to roll-in. You guys are the stars of this vidie. I'm not kidding.

As for Albus Brooks and the election in District 8, I'm not so sure. At the next forum, maybe he should bring the krew with him, spread them out in the audience, and when it's his turn to speak, have them punch on a box, stand up, and start dancing, while he dances on the stage. If he did THAT, he could win. Otherwise, he's just another one of 38 candidates trying desperately to distinguish themselves from the crowd. Oh, you say, who wants a dancing fool for their representative? Can you say Orange Hair?


  1. Levi Johnsen5:58 PM

    Thanks Gerry!

  2. Thanks for the additional commentary. I was the guy who put this little project together. We got a beat from one of the guys that Albus has mentored, and then recorded the song Saturday night. We filmed Monday afternoon and I had the thing edited together by Tuesday morning! Needless to say, I lost a bit of sleep those nights, and I have had the song stuck in my head too. Write it in!

    This was a cool opportunity for some of the neighborhood kids that Albus has mentored, and gave them a chance to express themselves in a positive way. I believe that music is a healthy form of self-expression, and these young guys did this to express their love for Albus and his commitment to the district. I hope you get to meet some of the young folks and hear their personal stories of how Albus has transformed their lives. He has been my mentor for some time now, and I have seen that he is a culturally-fluent leader who has the ability to connect our diverse, yet disconnected district.

    We have not been able to get it on the website yet, but so far it is all over facebook and youtube.
    Sadly, some folks cannot get beyond the fact that it is [positive] hip-hop music, and they think that anything with urban kids rapping is inherently negative. Thank you Gerry for posting this and for taking the time to think about it. I'd suggest you contact Albus and get to know him, and you will see that he is the leader that our district needs.

    The video wasn't intended to be anything more than some young cats from the neighborhood getting together and expressing themselves as they begin to get involved in the political process. To me, that is truly beautiful, and a testament to the investment that Albus has had in their lives.

    The two main singers (PT and Kuraan) are both a part of the Issachar Center for Urban Leadership (which Albus directs), and are getting full-ride scholarships to go to college.

    Thanks again,

    Levi Johnsen