London artist Jelani Blackman has unveiled the official video for his latest single ‘Brixton’, out 20th June via 18 Records.
With a succession of sinister trap sirens interspersed throughout, ‘Brixton’ sees Jelani confront the deeply troubling scenario of growing up fatherless – with lyrics repeatedly asking “How could you lose something that you never know?” Directed by Jim Pilling, who has previously worked with the likes of Hypebeast, Adidas and Vogue, the visuals reinforce the song’s deeply personal themes by presenting a string of close-up shots of Jelani, who looks wistful while solemnly singing along to the lyrics.
“Brixton is about being separated from my dad and the area he’s from at two years old, but still feeling connected to it because I spent the beginning of my life there and it’s where his family first came to from Barbados,” Jelani explains. “The area and him have impacted who I am even though I don’t really know either of them. It was a hard song for me to write, and it took a lot of dealing with personal demons to be able to confront it as an issue. I never wanted to accept that I’d gone through that stereotypical black male experience of growing up without their dad.
His second release of 2019, ‘Brixton’ was premiered by Annie Mac on her BBC Radio 1 show, while going on to receive further support from BBC Radio 1Xtra’s DJ Target and Kenny Allstar amongst others. It follows on from the acclaimed ‘Nobody’s Son’, which was crowned BBC Radio 1 ‘Tune of the Week’, Annie Mac’s ‘Tune of the Week’ and BBC Radio1Xtra ‘Introducing Track of the Week’.
Jelani burst onto the scene in 2014 with the critically-acclaimed dark anthem ‘Twenty//Three’. Racking up over 3 million Spotify streams and coming in at #7 on the Noisey end of year poll, the track was soon followed up by a collaboration with UK innovator Brian Eno and duo Sylas for the single ‘Layer’.
A deeply introspective release tackling one of the most challenging of subjects, the sombre official video for ‘Brixton’ further cements Jelani’s status as one of the most respected voices in UK Rap.