Watch + Listen: BRTHR + 645AR Conjur a Dayglo Digital Alien Invasion w/ ‘Yoga’
It’s a strange situation we are all suddenly finding ourselves in. So strange that BRTHR, the New York video animation powerhouse, and 645AR, hip-hop’s newest squeaking wunderkind, have managed to produce an alien invasion version of our reality from their respective places of confinement.
Indeed, the intensely psychedelic new video for “Yoga” opens with 645AR sitting alone in his apartment, soaking in the onslaught of news, information and warring opinions. Suddenly, a cute little character named Flexo-19 arrives, and they flex through their alien version of a baller reality.
But then, Flexo-19 shows his (her? their?) true colors. After the duo runs around NYC, smoking weed, eating snacks, playing ball and rapping through Times Square, the alien confesses that, “humans are not my cup of tea,” gets gnarly, and mutates into several little versions of themselves. Alien warfare ensues.
Nightmarish? Yep. Silly? Sure. Insane? Depends on who you ask about both “Yoga” and the lockdown. And what is with the high-pitched flow that 645AR spits? Not an altered reality…that’s just how he raps. Bronx-born, 645 Jackson Ave was his first address, and AR is his “government name” as he puts it.
He became a viral superstar earlier this year, known largely for that alien-cartoony voice; it’s a sound he refers to as “the squeak.” Some thought it was a joke, or joked that only dogs could hear it. But 8.7 million views of his breakaway video, “4 Da Trap,” and props from everyone from FKA Twigs to Rosalia, and it became clear that the world had more than just space for a new twist on hip-hop; they actually truly love him.
645AR maintains that the voice isn’t a gimmick, but rather as he, “feels more emotions, the frequency rises.”
And as he reflects upon “Yoga,” the 22-year-old reveals that, “with the concept of the video, we made it alien-based, and incorporated [many of the] issues going on with COVID-19. It means a lot to me, because I feel like it will show people my music is for real.”
645AR’s attempts to punt himself out of the novelty category are in earnest, and his teaming up with BRTHR is no exception. Creative forces behind videos for the likes of Travis Scott and The Weeknd, and fashion stories for YSL (feat. Edie Campbell) and Helmut Lang (feat. Jeremy Deller), they collaborate on projects that are of cultural significance…and in the process capture all the eyeballs. In this case, the instinct was so strong that they shot the video almost solely on green screens and animated most of the content in order to get around lockdown restrictions.
“Our concept bases 645AR in our reality as humans right now,” explains BRTHR’s Alex Lee, “which feels like a bad dream…but also, what if aliens decided to infiltrate us now? The hyper-surreal nature of the video is how we see the world at the moment, and the alien attempts to infiltrate 645AR’s mind and body. But when AR snaps out of its bad acid-trip-like hypnosis, he quickly realizes that the thing is evil and guns it down with a laser. He might just be the hero we need today.”
Has it literally come to a point of global culture that cartoon alien warfare is meaningful? If that’s true, may 645AR and his high-vibing flow carry on.