"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 propel his first album The Crusader into the top position. Scribe became the first Kiwi artist to simultaneously have a number one single and a number one album. The Crusader has 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. Further singles have followed.
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 many. How many times do you hear the director namechecked in a song? Not many. Chris Graham's 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.
After his hard-hitting debut single 'Stand Up' and the hit remix of 'Not Many', Scribe took a gentler approach on the third single from his five times platinum debut album. Rolling clouds open the music video, which trades bombastic beats and ominous synth tones for gentler piano. The chart-topping hook, originally written for Che Fu, was sung by Scribe himself after encouragement from collaborator P-Money. Photos from Scribe’s childhood appear on screen while he raps about the struggle to realise his potential, before glimpses of 'making of' footage from previous videos.
Director Chris Graham toys with black and white in this performance-based clip, which accompanies possibly New Zealand's best-known remix. Graham shoots Scribe and company in colour, but apart from skin tones makes every ‘colour’ used either black or white: including the hoodies, caps, milk bottles ... and the dog. Film speed is tweaked to the beat, and the result is monochrome magic. Scribe is joined by a crusading crew of Kiwi hip hop luminaries (Savage, P-Money, David Dallas/Con Psy). 'Not Many' originally topped the charts as half of a double A-side, alongside 'Stand Up'.
Scribe's first single ‘Stand Up’ conquered the charts, paired as a double A-side with soon to be signature tune ‘Not Many’. But where ‘Not Many’ is a statement of personal intent, ‘Stand Up’ flies the flag for Kiwi hip hop: the video features many of the fellow musicians namechecked in the song. Shot in a basement below Auckland's Real Groovy Records in black and white (except for the ‘Not Many’ sections), Chris Graham's NZ Music Award-winning video offers an energetic, confrontational performance from Scribe, who took another five NZ Music Awards in the same year.