Monday, March 21, 2005

What's Up Gorgeous P.I.M.P.

Video captures via Jimmy/Austin

By now we have all realized that the joke is on us. A few years ago, everyone thought 50 Cent was a flash in the pan, and that Curtis Jackson would become relegated to has-been rapper specials on VH1. Speaking of: someone say hello to Ja Rule if you see him working at a Wal Mart or appearing on a "reality show.

Not the case with Mr. Jackson: 50 Cent is now a bona-fide $50 bill. The wanna-be gangsta from Connecticut Queens is an undeniable pop icon. Unfortunately like most pop icon's, he is more style than substance: The Massacre is aptly titled, it'sderivative and over-hyped. Some great club songs, but not much more. Candy Shop is a catchy tune, but we're listening to the same beat as Magic Stick. Meanwhile, Disco Inferno unfortunately has no relation to the seventies disco classic of the same name by the Trammps. Instead, it's a retread of Lloyd Banks' mundane On Fire.

"Like my style?" Luv the spaghetti straps

But none of this should suggest that the product has poor value. Just recently, you'll recall my ongoing fascination with his marketing. He's an eye-full, and his videos are delicious. By production standpoints, it's hard not to fall in love with the packaging. From a homoerotic POV, why do I always want to stuff $100 dollar bills in his pants when he takes his shirt off? Sure, his beats are tights, but the aesthetics of the presentation are far more fascinating.

The production values on videos like Candy Shop and the P.I.M.P. remix exceedthose of many competitors. Expensive color treatments and multi-camera shoots are de riguer. The P.I.M.P. video boasted no fewer than three cameras per scene. Moreover, the principals and much of the set were white in color. It's a radical step to associate purty with an artist whose lyrics glorify guns and violence.

Get buff or die tryin'

Moreover, shooting in white is time-consuming and expensive-you rarely see it in television-so whoever can accomplish it has my respect. Shooting against white backgrounds takes extra equipment, much more lighting and extended post-prduction. Some directors use slower speed film, it makes the forgeround look "warmer" with the mono-chromatic background. That may be the case here, as in the shot above.

There's nothing random here, each frame here is deliberately chosen. Look at the composition above. The pale white walls are complemented by the whites worn by 50 and the models. The other color on the production designer's pallette is brown, which provides depth and mimicks skin color.

This is a great shot: the camera is angled very low, probably on the floor so that 50 dominates the frame. The angle and colors make him appear much larger than life, just like his marketing. He's iggin' his adoring fan and smiling at us. What up gangsta.

The Massacre
50 Cent Official Website
Interscope Records
Da DL Crib Yahoo Group
50 CentYahoo Group