By Jack Barnes
Skating over smooth beats indebted to ’80s electro-R&B, East Oakland’s Ezale serves honest street tales with a healthy helping of funk. With his metronomic flow floating above bright synths and sublimely cheesy electric guitar, Ezale reflects on the precariousness of life in the hood in “All It Take,“ illustrating the difficulty of staying on the straight and narrow while surrounded by drugs and money. “That’s all it took,” rhymes Ezale on the hook, “when the money got him lost and the dope got him hooked.” In the new video for the 2016 track, Ezale posts up in a bando with a spiffy suit on, conducting his business until a drug deal goes horribly wrong. Enjoy this video stream below after the jump.
Presented out of chronological order, the clip vacillates from depictions of Ezale’s past to his present, represented by subtle shifts in the video’s coloration. Produced by Hawk Beatz and premiered today by The FADER, “All It Take” is the latest video from Ezale’s critically acclaimed The Tonite Show with Ezale, a full-length collaboration between Ezale and DJ Fresh.
Explains Ezale, “‘All It Take’ is a video about repeated behavior in Oakland. It’s a weird cycle. We don’t really get to choose our destiny. The little boy in the video represents me in my childhood. The video is saying how you can’t hold no one’s hand through life, even if you try. The boy is enjoying his innocence playing outside and wants to hang with my character (who represents an OG), but I have to leave to go handle something else and while I do that the kid gets robbed. When the boy picks up a pill at the end, it shows how you can only guide someone but at the end of the day, it’s up to the individual to make their own choices. It’s crazy how something small can affect a person in a big way. Like for example, if you saw your father hit your mom at a young age even just once – that’s something that can make a man grow up a woman beater. That’s all it takes. These small but significant things have a ripple effect that can turn into a big wave.”
A potent blend of Bay Area mob music and early-to-mid ’80s electro soul, The Tonight Show With Ezale earned a huge amount of critical acclaim in 2016, with XXL calling the project “one of the best albums of the year.” Featuring hits such as “We Want Some P*ssy” and “Day Ones,” which The FADER named one of the 115 Best Songs of 2016 and Passion of the Weiss named one of the year’s top 25 songs, The Tonite Show is the most focused and funkiest project yet from the young rapper. Ezale’s rapid rise began three years ago with the release of the “Five Minutes of Funktown” video, in which Ezale enlists 100 of his closest friends to mob around the neighborhood and give into the funk. Inspired by Whodini‘s 1984 classic “Five Minutes of Funk” and the nickname for his Oakland neighborhood, “Five Minutes of Funktown” racked up nearly 1.5 million views on YouTube, earned the rapper a feature in Buzzfeed, and his dance moves inspired a popular Instagram challenge. Look for Ezale to continue his rise in 2017 with more videos and more music.
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