Sat | Dec 15, 2018

Jr Gong teams with Kassa for latest video

Published:Thursday | March 2, 2017 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Damian 'Junior Gong' Marley performing at the 2017 staging of Trench Town Rock, held on Saturday night at the Boys Town football field.
Ras Kassa
Ras Kassa in director mode during the video shoot for Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley's Roar Fi A Cause.
Ras Kassa (right) preps the 'champion boxer' during a scene in Roar Fi A Cause.
Jr Gong casts a watchful gaze over the street in a scene from the music video.

Damian 'Jr Gong' Marley and Ras Kassa have collaborated once again for his latest video, Roar For A Cause.

The last of three days of shooting ended in an abandoned building on Prin-cess Street. The downtown Kingston setting was deliberate, portraying Jr Gong as a watcher, concerned for the lack of watchfulness over inner-city communities.

In 2005, Ras Kassa and Jr Gong worked on the music video for the breakout single, Welcome to Jamrock. Ras Kassa expects that with the pending release of the video will come a re-energised appreciation for artistry in music-video production, as he believes was evident in Welcome to Jamrock.

"It's a song that kinda speak to the streets," Jr Gong told The Gleaner. Roar For A Cause is a song that communicates the necessity of the watchful and concerned eye, and the video is expected to artistically reflect that notion. Certain kind of discipline weh we know, that people who are community leaders, or so-called 'dons', dem would really uphold. Especially when I was a yute, there were certain principles that these people would uphold in their communities. This is to reassure them of those principles, or remind them of those principles," he added.

During one of the scenes, Jr Gong is placed by a window, casting a watchful gaze over the street three floors below.

"Basically, this is a picture of life in Kingston, and based on what Kassa wrote, it applies directly to Roar For A Cause," Knoko Chapple, assistant director on set, told The Gleaner.

"Really, what he's talking about [is] the disenfranchised. He's talking about mistakes people make and wrongs that need to be made right, and tries to play on that imagery. It's a graphic structure on which he gets on to the top of it, as a way for him to peer over the city, and keep an eyeball on everything that's going on in the city, like the great Batman," Chapple continued.

... Kassa reveals thought process behind video

Ras Kassa opined that this directorial execution is meant to bring artistry back into music video production. Shot over three days in downtown Kingston, Ras Kassa told The Gleaner that this music video is all about art and nuances.

"I feel like there's this big distraction in music videos right now, where you have artistes buying cameras, and having their friends shooting it, and they think 'oh, it's cheaper'. No, the video look like garbage. People don't care about music videos anymore," he said.

"When I make a music video, I think about a lot of things, not just to make something creative. I look at what's going on," Ras Kassa continued. "It's been 12 years since the release of Welcome to Jamrock. This is the 12th anniversary," Ras Kassa told The Gleaner.

"The lady washing her hair or the lady who snap her finger, it has spots," Kassa said. "I'm saying to the politicians who don't want me to make videos like that, if you don't want to see these things, get rid of the ghettos. We're gonna show it. Music videos supposed to break all of the rules. You're supposed to be creative. It's not just what's there. I'm mixing it with art. Art dabbles in fantasy, politics, everything. I'm an artist and art does not compromise. It's supposed to be something to remember," Ras Kassa said.

"I'm not sure I wanna give away too much, but this is gonna be the greatest thing you've ever seen on film out of Jamaica," Kassa promised. "We have a syngery," he explained, noting his role in conceptualising the Welcome to Jamrock album cover. "It's a bredrin vibe, and a syngery vibe, and like [Roar For A Cause] says, real recognise real."

Roar For A Cause was released on January 25, 2017, and is available for streaming on Soundcloud.