“Samurai Jack”, the newest music video by Portland born rapper DMarx featuring up and coming producer J.Hixon, simultaneously calls back to classic 90’s hip hop and transports viewers to another dimension. On the single, Marx stays true to his signature rap style, spitting urgent lyrics with a catchy refrain and upbeat tempo impossible not to bounce along to. ”I’m checking them trap for trap, my plug look like Samurai Jack, finesse I’m not calling him back, you fall my phone again you gone get slapped” he calls outs cleverly melding early 2000’s cartoon allusions with more traditional rap images of drinking and smoking.
Directed and edited by Taylor Bradberry, the video is anchored by a motif of Chinese characters, flower petals and crumpled paper creating a dreamy landscape which, although clearly set in Portland, Oregon (landmark building Big Pink makes a few feature appearances), feels foreign and surreal. Through heavy handed special effects riffing of the cartoon reface in the title, one scene of the video seems to melt into the next. The white sky is really crumpling paper which becomes a white pair of sneakers and then the inside of a Re:Stash jar. As the camera dives in, the viewer is spit out with DMarx onto a street in chinatown, then a fish tank.
The sense of cartoonish instability permeating the video seems to hit at the dark side of the lifestyle depicted in t”s, bitches, and racks comes the refrain, “my work disappeared so fast, you trying to make it all last.” Like the stylized scenes of the video which seem unreal and constantly verging on melting away, the hustler lifestyle is unmaintainable. The lively visuals of DMarx’s Samurai Jack make it a fun watch, but the real musicality and message make it a must see.