Ruffmercy directs Basquiat-inspired music video for Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs and A$AP Ferg
Music: British director Ruffmercy drew influence from the work of American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for this fast-paced animated video for a track by rappers Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs and A$AP Ferg.
The video for Old English features colourful animations of each rapper performing the song over a changing backdrop of various patterns, with drawings and words illustrating the song's lyrical content at a dizzying pace.
"I would usually avoid literal interpretations of song lyrics within a video, but for this one it felt right," Ruffmercy told Dezeen. "I couldn't see any other way of the video working than honouring the lyrics and throwing some light onto what some of the slang means so that people could appreciate better what they are talking about."
"I like the speed of it," he added. "I like the fact that you may miss something and have to rewind to see things you didn't see first time around."
Working by himself, Ruffmercy took approximately a month to make the film.
The director created close-up, wide angle, and profile drawings of each rapper. After turning these into 10-second animations, he exported the footage to editing software and set about using them as a base from which to add, edit and sync new drawings and patterns.
The influence of famed New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat is evident throughout the video. A small, crudely drawn crown – a visual motif used by both Basquiat and Ruffmercy – appears at various points, and the drawings of Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, and A$AP Ferg also bear a similarity to the artist's work.
Basquiat was an integral part of the New York art scene from the late 1970s until his death in 1988 at the age of 27. Although most famed for his paintings, his unique output also spread across graffiti and music.
"There's no denying that there's a Basquiat influence going on here," the director explained. "Some people will hate that and some people will love it."
Ruffmercy has previously directed promos for Lily Allen, Run the Jewels and Disclosure. He said he was approached to make an animation because "it was proving difficult to get all the artists in one place to shoot a live-action video."
Old English will appear on a forthcoming compilation by new record label Mass Appeal, titled Mass Appeal vol. 1.