Though it was literally my last feature piece of 2014, the piece I did interviewing Rapsody and director Brian Petchers about what a Rap "Forgive Me" video might look like was one of my favorites of the year. I was really happy with how it turned out, and getting to see exactly how a video could be made with one of my favorite rappers was even cooler. I fucking love my job.
Partly because I wanted to stunt on myself and partly because the song is really incredible, "Forgive Me" has been in heavy rotation. But after reading the piece over for the 500th time (yeah I read my favorite pieces over and over, so what?) I realized I forgot one part... if I could make the Rapsody "Forgive Me" video, what would I do? I'm the most rookie of rookies when it comes to creating videos, but it also might be a cool creative exercise. So without really knowing what I was doing or how to do it, I created a mock video pitch for Rapsody's mock video treatment. Here it goes:
What stands out to me when I listen to "Forgive Me" is the frustration, passion, and sense urgency in Rapsody's verses. With her "apologizing" or begging for forgiveness, I get the sense she feels attacked or perhaps on trial by not only the music industry, but the world.
I intended to run with that ideal of being on trial.
Imagine having a few last words before being sentenced. What would you say? How would you say it? Why would you say that? Imagine the pressing desperation you would feel. I want to play on that. I want the viewer to feel that same urgency that Rapsody does. So, for my "Forgive Me" video I will have Rapsody on trial, facing characterizations of the subjects and ills she wrestles with in the song.
We begin with a close up of Heather Victoria; specifically on her eyes, covered by a pair of reading glasses. As she begins to sing the camera pans out to show a typewriter in her lap before swinging around her to reveal a black and white courtroom (looking something like this) layered with heavy fog or dust to add a more surreal, glossy feel. As she finishes the introduction with "reminds me of you, the gavel cracks an the song cuts out."
"Does the defendant have any last words?" the judge (dressed like an old time judge for a over-the-top feel) bellows.
We see Rapsody sitting at a table dressed in a dark suit, with 9th Wonder and Eric G also dressed in suits at her side; briefcases on the table. 9th whispers in her ear and then she slowly stands up.
Suddenly, Rapsody begins her verse and the cracks back in full swing; sharp and loud enough to jar the viewer.
As she spits time begins to slow down. Eventually everyone else will freeze and Rapsody begins to move around the courtroom. As she begins her second verse, she approaches the jury, which is filled with characterizations of the subject in the verse. The Music Executive, the rapper, the hypersexualized female rapper, a police officer, and so on. We get a view of each one as if we were seeing it through Rapsody's eyes as well as shots of her rapping right in their faces. The whole courtroom blacked out; just her and the jury illuminated.
To pace shots of Rapsody in the full courtroom and approaching the jury shots of her in the courtroom should be sliced in. For example, Rapsody rapping while being sworn in, rapping while in the witness chair and scenes of the empty courtroom where it is just her and Heather, still typing while she sings. A good example is the Common "Testify" video. Sprinkled in with courtroom scenes are various other shots which make it more interesting and help pace the video; it's not all one long shot thanks to these smaller, shorter scenes.
To conclude the video the judge's gavel slams and we are brought back to "reality."
"Well..." the judge thunders to urge Rapsody to speak.
Just as the song ends we see Rapsody raises her head and prepares to speak. The screen cuts to black as another gavel is heard.
Well that was fun. Even if it was just a short creative writing exercise; it's interesting to think about how to get the themes, ideas, and messages in the song across. Unless, of course, that video is "Anaconda."
Well, fuck, now that I've done this, I wonder what the next step would be? If I actually wanted to make this video, how the hell would I do it? How would I budget it? Who would I have to talk to? What kind of space would I have?
You know what? This is going to be my new pet project. I'm going to take this fake video and fake make it, I'm going to try and see, to the best of my fake abilities, how I would go about fake making this fake video. Hey, they always say fake it till you make it, right?
I'm not sure where or what I'll have to do next, but stick around, I'll do some investigatory journalism, and see what I can cook up....
P.S. If you want to see a real Rapsody visual, check out her new visuals for "Godzilla," which dropped today.
[Lucas Garrison is a writer for DJBooth.net. His favorite album is “College Dropout,” but you can also tweet him your favorite Migos songs at @LucasDJBooth.]