Gone in a Blink: Shad drops powerful new video for “Stone Throwers”
Our Song of the Day is the powerful new Shad video, released in support of his latest album, A Short Story About a War.
“Allegorical and clearly pointed at the world of Trump and Brexit and nationalism… Shad has a gift for delivering a stark tale in catchy, often unusually colorful ways.” – WNYC
The video for “The Stone Throwers (Gone in a Blink)” was directed by Matthew Progress, and brought to life through the skillful contributions of actors Oluseye, Shae-Lynn Masik, and Max Mohenu.
There were two main things that Shad hoped to convey with the new release and those three played an integral part:
“What I hoped to capture in a visual for this song were two things: Vulnerability and Rage, the two main feelings I associate with powerlessness. These emotions are represented here in the nakedness (vulnerability) and the screams (rage) of these brave actors.”
You can find “The Stone Throwers (Gone in a Blink)”, and A Short Story About a War, on Spotify and other streaming platforms.
“Deeply political…an allegory for our divisive, hair-trigger times.” – Flood Magazine
The 36-year-old artist has already racked up countless notable accolades, including beating out Drake for Rap Recording of the Year at the JUNO Awards in 2011, but some critics have labelled his powerful new work as his best to date. Either way, great news for Shad fans all around.
Check out the new video below along with the official press release which has even more insight from Shad, as well as director Matthew Progress, on how the video came together and what the pair were looking to achieve creatively.
Shad unveils potent “Stone Throwers (Gone in a Blink)” video
from hip-hop saga A Short Story About a War
Toronto MC/producer Shad’s A Short Story About A War was recently released on Secret City Records and is a true hip-hop saga with its own rich mythology that takes place in a dystopian desert world riddled with violence.
Since its release, Shad has appeared on Microphone Check with A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Mohammad, The Intercept’s Intercepted podcast to discuss the political themes of the album, The Ringer’s On Shuffle, NPR’s national culture show 1A, and beyond. Shad has been touring behind the album since last fall and the run continues into February.
Today he unveiled the music video for “Stone Throwers (Gone In A Blink)” —a song that Shad wrote about powerlessness and violence. The video is deliberately unsettling and designed to capture the feelings of vulnerability and rage. Watch it here.
Well after the song was recorded, and the video was filmed, Shad felt that the story behind the song was unfortunately turning into reality as he watched the news in late fall of last year.
The Stone Throwers song and metaphor is all about powerlessness and the hypocrisy of the powerful: In this Short Story About a War, The Stone Throwers are characters who are “forced to go toe-to-toe in a war zone with only stones to throw.” They are “vilified by all sides” because their violence is brutal and ugly (bludgeoning), but this is only because they don’t have access to the more powerful and sophisticated weapons that others use against them. Weapons that may seem less crude and barbaric but actually do much more harm.
Stories in the media of poor folks throwing stones to defend themselves from state violence have brought this metaphor to life in painfully literal ways lately. But I still think of The Stone Throwers as a metaphor for all powerlessness (especially the powerless here) and for the hypocrisy that’s an ever-present temptation for any of us with power.
In line with this, what I hoped to capture in a visual for this song were two things: Vulnerability and Rage, the two main feelings I associate with powerlessness. These emotions are represented here in the nakedness (vulnerability) and the screams (rage) of these brave actors. Through these visuals, I hope listeners will be further immersed in these two feelings, as they are difficult but nevertheless central to the human experience. As for the hypocrisy of the powerful, I also hope that this raw representation of powerlessness will cause the viewer to consider their very personal response to seeing another person’s vulnerability and anger. Fight or flight? Love or fear? Repulsed or compelled to empathize? How do we respond to another person’s pain (or our own!) and why? These are all questions at the centre of this album, and ones that I’m trying to raise with this visual too.
Says Toronto-based artist and director Matthew Progress:
The Black experience is surreal, and genuine catharsis can be grounding. Openly expressing rage and vulnerability is a way to take back power.
My goal was to provide a unique look at the classic narrative of struggle and marginalization addressed in ‘The Stone Throwers’. I was interested in using the monotony of the big city commute as a lens to examine the rage, vulnerability and isolation felt by many people of color navigating modern society. We set up a camera in an empty white room and left each of our actors alone. They were directed to channel real moments of rage and desperation they’ve experienced, and then react with no filter. Shooting the entire video on camcorder is a reference to the DIY style footage often seen in viral videos depicting police brutality. It is also meant to reference closed circuit security footage and the growing surveillance state.
You can follow @ShadKMusic on Instagram.