The Roots come through with their new video for “When The People Cheer” (the first track leaked off their forthcoming album ...and then you shoot your cousin) and Okayplayer is extremely proud to host the world premiere of this unsettling and visually brilliant animated short directed by Joe Baughman. &TYSYC is a longplayer maybe best described with the words ‘ghetto-existentialist opus’ and “When The People Cheer” is in many ways the lyrical centerpiece of the record, applying bizarro-world logic to the usual rap rules and offering MCs Black Thought and Greg Porn the rare opportunity for self-awareness as they do “consequential dirt” on their existential grind.
The visuals from the supremely talented Baughman (who also created our official OKP 15th Anniversary animation as a little birthday gift) do extremely consequential dirt, as well, creating a fully realized microverse for the lyrics and ideas of the song to inhabit. The short introduces us to a bespectacled (be-Cazaled?) everyman molded in brown clay as he navigates a treacherous workshop/world full of pitfalls and heavy machinery, drowning his microcosmic sorrows in lapdances and bleeding Apple Jacks when pricked. The use of text also unpacks the complex worldplay that may get lost on your initial 5 listens to the song, for instance Porn’s couplet:
Am I a douchebag or just another doo rag / tryina get ahead on some brand new wave shit…money is the language / So every time I speak I’m tryin’ to make another payment.
Though the short is true to the song’s rather dark worldview (everybody acts / like God is all that / but I got the feelin’ he ain’t never coming back…) in the final analysis the worldviewer is left with the feeling that even if Art (represented here both in intricate wordplay and phototropic skeins of red paint which grow like vines through the video’s sterile white walls) is our only real answer to the void…it’s still a pretty good answer. Watch below:
“When The People Cheer” Animated Short/Lyric Video Credits:
Creator: Joe Baughman
Assistant Director: Matt Erdel
Compositing: Andrew Deselm
Assistant animators: Jacob Bartlett, Kylee Stump
Miniature House Construction: David Badertscher
Special Thanks: Dave Vermillion, Tina Baughman, Amber Kreider, Kyle Heffelfinger, Roscoe Bagging