a GUEST POST by QUINN FERRAR
I watched the official music video for Drake’s summer hit “Hotline Bling” with my roommate, Jess, a self-proclaimed Drake expert, and used her commentary to shape the article.
The video opens with what appears to be an office, where women wearing headsets and matching pink crop tops talk on the phone.
“Can we talk about how racially diverse all these girls are?” Jess quips.
As a Latina, she is “sick of white b****es in rap videos.”
When asked to describe the video she calls it “Arth0e (sic) aesthetic”. For those not familiar with this specific type of visual imagery, it has been described in many group chats as “the look of a girl who likes d*ck and art”.
It is usually comprised of septum piercings, Van Gogh themed knee-highs, pink eye shadow, doodles in the margins of a Moleskine notebook, and selfies taken in the bathrooms of museums around the globe (for more, check out #ARTHOE on Instagram).
I think in this specific case, it was the use of pale primary colored lighting that put the video in the Arth0e tag on many social media platforms.
I ask Jess for more commentary but she is already bored and watching Criminal Minds, so I forge on alone, forced to make my own observations.
The first thing I notice is the jacket. I’m not sure if it is paying homage to Back to the Future, the puffy, red Marty McFly hoodie catches the attention like a DeLorean flying across a parking lot at 88 miles per hour.
According to their website, the Moncler jacket goes for $1,500. An executive at the company told Vanity Fair that sales doubled the day after the video’s debut on October 19th.
Wanting to know more about the video, I opted to watch it with a new crowd, this time of the opposite gender. We hook it up to an HDMI and watch it on the flat screen, according to the owner of the TV “how the video is supposed to be viewed.”
My best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend immediately identifies the lighting as being inspired by James Turrell, apparently a famous lighting artist that I have no knowledge of.
The 72-year-old has been quoted saying he is “very flattered”, that his art inspired the Drake video. Drake has mentioned the artist before after someone pointed out the similarities between a photo shoot he did and the artist’s work.
“I f**k with Turrell. He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour.”
Past the visuals, we begin to dissect the content of the video. Most of it is Drizzy dancing, mostly alone, sometimes with women. His dance moves are reminiscent of the time I tried to learn to square dance, and I put the YouTube tutorial video on slow-mo, but with more jazz hands. Or, as my editor so eloquently put it “A cool chaperone at a school dance with all of the kids edited out”.
As stated earlier, the women who appear early in the video are very diverse, however this is quickly replaced with a very specific body type once the song begins.
The knockoff Nicki leaves a sour aftertaste, perhaps how the dried up saliva of an 80s pop star would taste after being kissed involuntarily at the world.
In the video, Drake dances in a series of different boxes. One seems to get smaller in the back, the optical illusion aided by his hunched dancing. In another he moves his arms in an imitation dougie, while sitting on the white staircase that Frankie Avalon descends in Grease’s “Beauty School Drop Out”.
Again, the music video closes with the diverse chat-line operators, one of the only images that actually make sense with the song.
Because of its peculiarity and nonexistent plot, there are many memes being made out of the music video (my personal favorite is the video with salsa music behind it). If you’re reading this: it’s too late to make an Internet joke about it. (Check out the #DrakeAlwaysOnBeat for more).
All in all the video is very Drizzy. He dances like he has the woes of Toronto strapped to his back, and a heart burdened by the weight of Nicki Minaj’s ass on his lap. We, in room 218, enjoyed the music video at least the first four times, taking it as it was, a stunt to prove that no matter how stupid, Drake’s videos can rake in a view count real f***in’ quick.
Quinn Ferrar | Guest Contributor