Ces Cru’s video for “The Process (Guillotine).”
Borrowing the aesthetic of Harmony Korine’s “Trash Humpers”, Ces Cru (rappers Godemis and Ubiquitous) has created a grainy, grungy hip-hop video that captures their ironic style.
Though the video might have aspirations for the arthouse, it still tethers itself to a long-standing hip-hop tradition: scantily-clad women going for guys who aren’t quite good-looking enough for them. The opening shot of the video is of a topless woman in a thong washing dishes; she moves from the kitchen to the sofa, or in front of the sofa rather, where she “kneels” in front of our hero Godemis.
Upon further inspection, however, you will notice the tongue-in-cheek commentary accompanying said woman throughout the video. As more shots of the blonde woman washing dishes come up, text appears on the screen asking “Doesn’t everyone do dishes naked?” That’s funny! It’s clear that Ces Cru gets that it’s unusual to shoot video of a mostly naked woman washing dishes (I’m not actually sure how weird this is; I think washing dishes in your underwear is probably not that uncommon), but the fact remains that they did it. It’s an apophatic device: look at this naked woman because it’s silly for you to look at this naked woman.
It’s all very convenient, to deride tropes while participating in them. Ubiquitous rhymes “They keep the gamepad locked and roll a Maybach drop/Pushin’ out the stock hits to make the payroll pop/(The in-) The industry turnin’ out the same old slop.” As he says these lines text appears on the screen telling the viewer that the car Ubiquitous is riding in is not a Maybach. One imagines that the reason that said car isn’t a Maybach has less to do with a moral stance against Big Music, and more to do with the lack of the “payroll popping.”
There’s more self-awareness in the video. Text appearing on the screen derides the video’s “rap edits” and points out the silliness of the meeting between Godemis and Ubiquitous. All of it seems to point back to the fact that this hip-hop duo understands that it’s a hip-hop duo. Ultimately the effect feels a little overdone; employing a little more subtlety would blur the hip-hop duo’s intention and make for a more interesting video.
“The Process (Guillotine)” appears on Ces Cru’s upcoming album “Catastrophic Event Specialists.” The album will be out on February 10, 2017. It can be pre-ordered here.
Al lyrics taken from Genius.