Earthgang’s ominous video for “Swivel” demonstrates the dark side of Mirrorland, the fanciful alternate reality of their Dreamville debut album based on a twisted version of Atlanta. Olu and Wowgr8 shift gears for the black-and-white video, which follows one fateful night in their hometown. The duo designed the darker take on their usually whimsical lyrics to comment on urban America’s repressive effect on Black boys, who often face heightened levels of violence far too early in life.
While the video opens with a group of friends riding their bikes through town, a la the teen heroes of Stranger Things, by its grim end, the quartet has been reduced to a solo act, as the boys experience one harrowingly violent turn of events after another. The last boy resorts to cycling alone with a gun in his backpack, even despite witnessing a grisly shooting — or perhaps the murder reaffirms his decision, as the gun is now the only thing that makes him feel safe.
The video is certainly a departure for the two-man rap crew, whose previous videos — which include “Up” and “Ready To Die” involved more upbeat, fantastical takes on their album singles. They also make a thoughtful appearance in the video for “Sacrifices” from Revenge Of The Dreamers III, dedicated to Olu’s father, and bop joyfully along to Bas’ “Jollof Rice” from his Spilled Milk Vol. I EP. Olu also appears with Tiana Major9 on her soulful single “Collide” from Queen And Slim, which they performed on Late Night With Stephen Colbert just last Thursday.
Watch Earthgang’s “Swivel” video from their Dreamville debut Mirrorland above.