Appreciation: GBE Videos
The more I watch videos by a GBE artists, the more I expect this particular setting of an empty white house with bunch of people surrounding the rapper. I’ve done some light searching on YouTube to look up a few GBE videos to see who’s responsible for them. Couple production names along with their Twitter handles are immediately seen included in the header: AZae Productions, Will Hoopes, D Gainz. I don’t know who in particular started making this a focused thing, but I love the whole “aesthetic” (If you can call it that) that whoever decided to include every time in these GBE videos.
More basement videos like GBE’s is cropping up on YouTube. I assume it’s more of a budget issue rather than any so-called influence of the other GBE videos. And more basement videos are mutating by adding what has become cliches in mainstream rap videos. The productions rent cars to prop up in the background like other “rich” rapper’s videos. For some, they flaunt guns, which makes GBE’s criticism of violence associated with the clique much, much worse (though, I doubt they really care). On one hand, these videos are bluntly low-budget, placing the rappers and their crew in a simple setting of an empty house, but on another, here are props usually available in upper class rappers, and it’s a weird contrast between the rich and poor. The contrast between the materialist appropriation, using expensive cars as props in this case, highlights the class difference between these rappers by a big margin.
I dislike videos like French Montana’s “Pop That” that basically sets up a hip hop music video cliche of rappers residing pool side with bunch of money, scantily clad women, and jewelry. Sometimes cars, if they’re not in a pool. I’m more bored than offended; this hip hop image has been told for decades and it’s really selling nothing but maybe the product placed in by the video’s sponsor (if there was one). And maybe, sure, GBE is in line with that music video cliche because all of its characters in the video are doing is rapping and flaunting things. But there’s something I find interesting and exciting in parts of the GBE videos when they’re rapping together in a giant empty room, and that’s a sense of family.
The setting does not matter in those scenes in the GBE videos. It’s practically a blank canvas with an empty house, and they got nothing to flaunt but themselves. And unlike other higher class rappers, they lack flashy jewelry and apparel. Still, they’re fucking cool and intimidating. They’re with their friends rapping full of energy, and that’s what I admire from these guys: these guys have a lot of energy to put on wax, and these guys are a tightly knit family. While the music may sell its fearsome and heavy raps, the GBE videos complete the full picture by bringing you what happens in the flesh when the GBE family comes together. That might be bunch of dread shaking, rap hands and weird hand signs I don’t understand, but it tells a lot of personality to me more than a popping champagne video ever could.
GBE videos have some new ones that flaunt guns in them, which I wish they would stop but at the same time, with much violence in their raps, it might be an aesthetically appropriate prop. I like the parts where they’re hanging out in empty basements rapping for fun a lot more than bunch of guns being held. If there’s anything positive that has entered GBE videos as far as props go, dune buggies got rented out for Chief Keef. I support rappers riding dune buggies 300%. If it can facilitate a great GBE hangout and them doing enthusiastic rap hands without violence, I support it.
People wanted less materialism in rap videos, so here you go. You can’t get more essentialist than those basement scenes in GBE videos. I’m really liking it right now, for whatever reason.