"Not many, if any ..." Aotearoa hip hop was turned on its head when Christchurch rapper, Scribe, burst onto the scene in 2003 with his debut single, 'Stand Up/Not Many'. It shot to number one and stayed there for an impressive 12 weeks, helping to propel his first album The Crusader into the top position - making Scribe the first Kiwi artist to simultaneously have a number one single and a number one album. It's since sold in excess of five times platinum here and in Australia. An icon of homegrown hip hop, Scribe's second album, Rhymebook was released in 2007.
The promo for F.R.E.S.H. ("Forever Rhyming Eternally Saving Hip hop") is set "Somewhere in Canterbury" and sets off a breakneck clip: around 100 cuts in the first 60 seconds. The costuming, set changes and colour palette are dynamic; the nods to Scribe’s Mainland hometown are numerous, and Chris Graham's (how many times do you hear a director name-checked in a song? Not many. If any.) sense of pace, timing and cheeky lightheartedness — there's even a coconuts-as-horse-hooves rhythm section — propel the hip hop crusader and his horsemen into the stratosphere.
Director Chris Graham toys with the concept of black and white in this performance-based clip. Graham shoots the rappers in colour but makes every ‘colour’ used either black or white: including the hoodies, caps, milk bottles ... and dog. Film speed is tweaked to the beat and the result is monochrome magic. The performances by Scribe himself and his crusading crew of NZ hip hop luminaries (Savage, P-Money, Footsouljahs, etc) are universally strong.
‘Stand Up’, Christchurch rapper Scribe’s first single, comes bookended with excerpts from his soon-to-be signature tune — ‘Not Many’. But where ‘Not Many’ is a statement of personal intent, ‘Stand Up’ flies the flag for New Zealand hip-hop, and the video features many of the fellow musicians name-checked in the song. Shot in a basement in black and white (except for the colour ‘Not Many’ coda at the end), Chris Graham's NZ Music Awards winning video offers an energetic, confrontational performance from an artist who fully believes in himself and his scene.