Rap music videos are an interesting creature. Some range from expertly crafted and artful, such as Kendrick Lamar’s “ELEMENT” or OutKast’s “Ms. Jackson.” Others are more sensational, focusing on the lavish and expensive lifestyle the rapper lives such as Gucci Mane’s collaboration with Bruno Mars and Kodak Black “Wake Up in the Sky.”
The rap world was greeted by Roddy Ricch’s self-directed and long awaited music video to his chart-topping breakout hit “The Box,” and it lies somewhere in between these two sects of rap videos.
Featuring some impressive sequences with fun and unique camera work, but boiling down to the 21-year-old Compton rapper living every teenage fantasy every boy has had, “The Box” straddles the line between artistic and indulgent, resulting in a music video that despite being fitting for the song doesn’t live up to the high bar culturally set by the song itself.
What the music video essentially boils down to is Ricch living out a series of fantasies in which he is the heroic/masculine/“cool” character. We start off with a car chase filled with more finesse and charm that the last four “Fast and Furious” movies combined, and make our way through various other scenarios, such as scaling a burning building, slam dunking a game winner and lying on gold sheets in a purple pool full of sharks.
All of these sequences are filmed in a surprisingly unique and artistic way. Ricch himself co-directed the video with Christian Breslauer, with whom Ricch has collaborated with before, and the level of talent behind the camera is palpable.
The CGI, despite being entirely too present, isn’t terrible, and the video seems self-aware enough to warrant some of the lesser visuals. Each sequence is exciting, multi-layered and the performance Ricch gives is engaging and a lot of fun.
At the video's core is the song itself, which is worthy of all of the acclaim and pop culture praise it has gotten. Smooth production, a charismatic performance from Ricch and an incredibly catchy hook make the rap sensation a fun listen.
At the end of the day, however, it is still an incredibly literal translation of the song, and as such, doesn’t really have a lot to say. Ricch becomes so self-indulgent that it becomes redundant by the second chorus.
The video is ambitious and clearly wants to try and do something different and unique, but at the end of the day, it boils down to the same dull rap trends that have been seen so many times before. Ricch let his self-indulgence get in the way of crafting a unique and unexpected experience.
“The Box” is a weird music video. Its production value and style is remarkable, but it falls back on the same braggadocio that plagues modern music. Ricch might have crafted the most memorable song of the year, but a much more restrained music video will be required to make his stamp on the world of the music video.