When I was in high school 20-something years ago, I would get up early every Saturday to watch Zatoichi movies on cable. One of Japan’s longest-running film series (seriously, think the Marvel movies but solely about the adventures of a blind samurai in 1830s and ’40s Japan), the movies were the equivalent of Saturday morning cartoons for me, but for the longest time, I felt totally alone in my love for them (I know I wasn’t — The Boondocks even referenced Zatoichi in the episode introducing Grandad’s feud with Colonel Stinkmeaner) but now, it looks like I have something in common with Florida rapper Denzel Curry.
Today, Curry, who has been promoting his upcoming album Melt My Eyez, See Your Future, dropped off the video for the album’s latest single, titled — you guessed it — “Zatoichi.” Apparently, he was also a big fan of the visually impaired swordsman, who he references in both the lyrics (“I’m Zatoichi, leading the blind,” he raps over an ambient drum&bass beat) and the video, which finds him training in the martial arts against a blind teacher on the banks of a sheltered, river in a verdant landscape. The song also features UK rapper Slowthai, who drops in to offer a spirited chorus.
Denzel’s Melt My Eyez campaign has so far also included references to space opera in the video for “Walkin” and Spaghetti Westerns in the trailer. He’s letting his movie geek flag fly in the build-up to the album’s release and I, for one, am truly enjoying it as a fellow cinephile.
Watch Denzel Curry’s “Zatoichi” video above.