With his brand new solo EP and conceptual ‘afrobop’ project Young, Black & Blue quickly garnering critical acclaim and strong support from tastemakers such as The Native Magazine, Noctis Magazine, Culture Custodian, Accelerate TV, and The Hype Magazine, to build upon previous support from the likes of Complex, Earmilk, BandCamp and Glue Magazine, Nigerian- born Toronto artist, producer and musician IDRIS LAWAL is excited to unveil the captivating music video for the EP’s lead single and fan-favourite track ‘GUNG HO’, as premiered by The FADER.
Produced by Idris Lawal himself, with contributions from saxophonist Jelani Watson and backing vocalist Sydnee Croft, ‘Gung Ho’ excellently blends R&B, hip-hop, afrobeats and afropop elements together to create a smooth and infectious genre-fluid track, which sees Idris in introspective mood, as he reflects on his recent move from Ottawa to Toronto to pursue his dreams – reflections that lead him to appreciate similar efforts his parents took for his family when they moved away from the familiarity of home in Nigeria to Qatar, South Africa and Canada.
Building on the underlying theme of embracing your roots and heritage that runs throughout the track, the video for ‘Gung Ho’, which was co-directed with Ryan Pimenta (Nordstrom, Spotify, Huawei), not only captures intimate nurturing and teaching moments between a child and their parents, but it also takes us into Idris’ world as a child growing up in Nigeria before having to follow his parents as they left their home country for seemingly greener pastures, amplified by the clever use of traditional Nigerian outfits, and background colours and texture.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the visuals for ‘Gung Ho’, Idris Lawal says, “the music video for ‘Gung Ho’ was meant to be reflective of intimate moments between my parents and I. The moments in which my parents passed down the wisdom that guide me today as I navigate through this cold, blue world. One of the most important lessons my parents taught me was to never forget my roots, as the song’s lyrics mention so I wanted to make sure this music video visually showcases my roots – through the outfits and backdrops used”.
As for how the video came together, Idris adds that, “working on this video was a milestone for me as it was my first time as a ‘creative-director’ for a music video. Picking out the outfits, backdrop materials and props was a fulfilling process. Another big milestone is that we finished shooting this video right before the pandemic hit and we were able to complete the video via remote editing session. Lastly, I’ve always been taught to keep my friends close and the beautiful black faces you see in this video are people I am proud to call friends and collaborators”.
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