BEHIND THE SCENES: Wale + Gaga = Chillin
If you were the house videographer for a Boston-based streetwear company, Monday was your Christmas: at one point down in Chelsea, someone joked that "behind-the-scenes" videographers at the shoot for Wale's single "Chillin'" outnumbered actual crew members by about 5 to 1. The shoot's assistant director spent almost as much time giving instructions to the web cameras as he did navigating two national stars, three very expensive automobiles, several dozen jazz-dancing rugrats, and a couple of very friendly dogs. So first off: shouts to our bretheren at Cncpts, Karmaloop, Elitaste.com, etcetera. And to the Globe photographer who nearly lost his iPhone in the salt pits. It was real.
We've been telling you about Wale for a long time -- check this interview from when he rolled through on last summer's Rock The Bells tour, and revisit this March 2007 post back when he was jumping on Lily Allen remixes and Catchdubs mixtapes and becoming blog-rap's next big thing. So it's nice to see the dude getting a legitimate shot at mainstream recognition -- as he says above, he's trying to do well by the huge sums of cash Interscope is throwing at this single. Wale's full-length Attention Deficit is still awaiting a firm release date, but he's got joints back there: MTV spilled some beans today about a Dave "TV on the Radio" Sitek production, which will make Pitchfork happy.
"Chillin'" has blockbuster written all over it -- yeah, sure, the hook is by Lady Gaga, to whom Top 40 radio has pretty much given the keys to the jeep. But that's more a symptom than a cause of the track's awesomeness: you don't have to be wearing hipster jeans to notice that Gaga is doing her best M.I.A. impersonation, suggesting she needs Wale's cred as much as he needs her starpower. (And she needed it even more when, at the urging of Mark Ronson, she cut the track last fall, before "Just Dance" really took off in the US.) Plus, the real stars of the song are Cool + Dre -- and Steam, thanks to whom you could be hearing this at a ballgame near you. The video? They hired Chris Robinson to direct (this one, not this one), guaranteeing it won't suck. Pressed to describe the video treatment, Wale couldn't come up with more than "it's just fun" -- fun, in this case, being Lady Gaga in a thong, a couple of large dogs, some fancy cars, some bulldozers, and a barge. Hard to argue with that. In short, it's a music video that aspires to be, y'know, a music video. Our only regret: we missed the final party scene shot later that night down at CNCPTS, opting instead to hit up the Lady Gaga/Kelly Clarkson gig at the House of Blues that night.
But we expect there'll be a resonable approximation of the same scene Friday night, when Wale brings the Attention Deficit tour to Harpers Ferry. Sleep on this at your peril.
WALE + COLIN MUNROEFriday May 8 | Harpers Ferry, Allston | $20 at the door