First off y’all, sorry for the slowness on the music drip the last couple weeks; your editor here was in the midst of a move and shit got wacky.
Now, back to the grind. In the interval here, we received a tip-top hip-hop submission from budding Austin musician
Plato III that we are full throttle diggin’. It’s a music video and, as far as we can tell, the only track available online from this young guy whose intensely polished composition belies both his age and his small amount of material (at least, online material).
The track, called “Natalie Portman,” is all about fame- how it affects the hip-hop thing and the people that are going for it. Plato lays out his view of this monster force in the genre and how it’s a weird thing to balance his own aspirations to musical success with a personal tendency to shy away from the Sisyphean acquisition of fame and stardom.
“Yeah i’m tryin to be well known/but with knowledge of self/like everyone else/I’m gonna end up a book on the top of the shelf/collectin’ dust/it’s embedded in us,” says Plato.
Thoughtful is an overused word in criticism of hip-hop like this, and it’s really an undervaluation of the craft at play here, especially when you add in the detailing on the video. The thing, directed by
Aidan Myles Green, is a lesson in not wasting a second on anything that doesn’t serve the track, and it does what few music videos do in actually adding further dimensions to the concept that the track is based around.
It starts with constant flashes of the fame world that Plato is discussing, shots of Jordan and Monroe and rappers and Joaquin Phoenix in his crazy fake star phase and others living the big public life, all in blurry black and white with quick cuts and no long shots. These are contrasted with what are obviously real-world images from Plato’s life- little, relatable things like Polaroids with a girlfriend and walking into an apartment building. When he steps in that apartment, out of the public eye and into his own private world, the thing goes color and takes the first extended shot of Plato.
The transition is us seeing him in his day-to-day, giving a warm casual kiss to his girl and sitting at a spartan bedroom musician set-up, and this switch-over from big and chaotic and nearly imaginary to intimate (small is the wrong word) and warm and approachable is almost felt physically when you see it. She gets ready for bed in the mirror, he fiddles with a track, stops to come give her an intimate touch on the hips and they laugh together before he brushes his teeth alone, and then they both go to bed where it’s all cute love shit and not the fantasy world of beyond perfect, unreal sex that we usually see when a rapper goes to the sheets with a beautiful woman.
It’s great, authentic and impeccably done, as is the track with its 80s synths and melding of melody and rapping, of big picture commentary and personal revelation, and it gives us at The Deli a pretty fierce desire to see more of this kid, though with the understanding that we’ll probably see more when he’s good and ready to put it out and not before. “Natalie Portman,” both track and video, are just what you want to see from talented up and comers in the hip-hop scene in 2015, giving you the brain and the heart at once, and not sacrificing one bit of power in the head-noddin’ department. Thanks for submitting Plato III, and the rest of y’all, watch below. We’ll leave ya with a quote from the man’s Facebook, where he talked a bit about coverage on the track from another Austin music outlet:
‘“Natalie Portman" is an analysis of fame's consequences, not just lyrically, but also stylistically. The trendy title, the blatant use of auto-tune, and the syrupy synth-driven music are all used ironically to emphasize how originality is often sacrificed when popularity is the only objective. The song couldn't be more hip-hop in spirit.’
We agree without reservation.