Watch Atlanta Rapper Zé's Debut Video and Grace Jones Tribute "Telephone"
Just in time for Valentine's Day, we spoke to the artist about femininity, Erykah Badu, and playing into stereotypes.
Fresh off his unclassifiable and lovely Skies Are Filled With Secret Delight tape from December, Atlanta's Zé has dropped a video for EP cut "Telephone." The song itself revitalises the laid-back stylings of 90s New York rap while Zé raps "and we gon' probably fuck to that Missy / so pass the dutch." Throughout the video, Zé and model Mayce Vassago Baker play the roles of 80s power couple Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren, respectively, against a minimal studio backdrop. Watch the video below and read on for our interview with Zé on his informed and focused artistic direction.
Noisey: What's the story behind "Telephone?"
Zé: "Telephone" is a song about the struggle to get into someone's heart who has someone already. The story is basically about a self-centred man who never usually falls for or approaches anyone but if he chooses you, you should be grateful and "pick up" if he calls. I wanted to create an alternative and comedic response to Erykah Badu's "Next Lifetime."
What were the influences behind this video?
The video was influenced by Grace Jones and Dolph Lundgren. I used my best-friend who's an upcoming model, Mayce Vassago Baker, to play the part of Dolph. I wanted to use this video as an opportunity to tap into my effeminate side and show that black boys can be feminine. It's also a huge slap in the face to the homophobic portion of our world. When people with homophobic ideologies think of gay men, they often label us with "rainbows and glitter." I wanted to show them that I could not only do what they can do and accomplish the unthinkable–rap and deliver amazing bars–but I could do it while fitting into their ridiculous stereotype.
What's the story or message you want to share through your music?
Pushing the boundaries and closing the gap between the gay and straight world is something that I want to do with my musical platform. I want to portray the message that you can do anything you put your mind to, regardless of how you identify. Inspiring LGBT youth is my number one priority.
Phil is a Noisey staff writer. He's on Twitter.