Amani and King Vision Ultra are back with their second visual piece off of their 2020 collaborative album An Unknown Infinite. Following the release of “A Not So Fruitful Wealth” directed by Nathan Bajar, “Scrapes” finds Brooklyn MC Amani and Money-Making Manhattan producer King Vision Ultra linking up with E L U C I D for a powerful performance of one of the project’s stand out tracks.
Directed by Richard R Ross, a noted multi-disciplinary artist who recently helped produce the the Dipset: More Than Music book with Geng AKA King Vision Ultra, plus his own solo works with the Cash Money Rule$ and Silent Weapons photo books. Recorded during COVID with masks as a time stamp, Ross’ minimalist set up fits perfectly as the backdrop for a track like “Scrapes.” Edited by Derek Schultz with a glowing border and 1990’s VHS-quality aesthetic, the two visual artists combine to create a rhythmic narrative alongside the music. E L U C I D stands front and center to deliver a searing verse with King Vision Ultra and Amani by his side. Minimalist in the vein of Kanye’s “Numbers on the Board” beat, King Vision Ultra’s production is menacing and hollow, like watching a corner dice game without the usual hooting and hollering hype men. With the gray in his beard highlighting wisdom, E L U C I D casually spits a stoic verse between shots of mean mugging the camera and laying in the grass, almost lost in contemplation. Shots rotate of E L U C I D rocking the ESP x Meridian hoodie or his hair full of twists.
With a slight nod to Mildford Graves’ backyard in his Jamaica, Queens home as seen in the Full Mantis documentary, the juxtaposition of nature versus the concrete building backdrop are powerful, giving way to the concrete jungle moniker NYC has long maintained. With King Vision Ultra decked out in a New York Rangers hockey jersey and camouflage pants, it should be noted that a ranger is also defined as, “a keeper of a park, forest, or area of countryside.” E L U C I D’s lyrics fit the theme. The wordsmith spits vivid lines detailing an everyday experience in NYC. “Clear blue sky, coldest day of the year. Teeth chatter, crack your veneer,” reminds the listener of the daily hustle of the cold city streets. His unconventional flow moves quick and slow, almost running over each other. According to E L U C I D, “the jazz is free, the noise is love”. Like any jungle, there is always sound and life around us in the chaos of a city. While things appear in turmoil, the truth of city life and nature is there is a beauty behind the madness. E L U C I D’s dedication to his city and artform is stamped when he raps, “Niggas is a beautiful thing. I kept my page in they came before Columbus with a collard green life”.
Besides E L U C I D is Amani, holding steady like a soldier ready to attack. Despite the intense look captured in his eye, Amani remains grounded smoking on his choice of roll-up as if preparing to release his own verse following E L U C I D. The moment never comes as E L U C I D brings his hands together in apparent prayer, Geng counts the beads on his wrist, and the three remain posted on a stoop before a closing shot of a busy New York street is displayed.
For more on Amani and King Vision Ultra read their December interview with GSC and buy the album today on vinyl, cassette, and digital for Bandcamp Friday. Bandcamp has continued to put on for artists throughout the COVID-19 pandemic when live shows are neither safe nor feasible and there’s no better ethos than to cut out the middleman and pay artists directly for their work. Check out the video for “Scapes” below. Article cover photo by Richard Ross.