If you were cruising through the city with your friends and someone spiked your drinks and sparked a collective hallucination, it might feel like watching Bushwick-based rapper Kassa Overall's virtual reality music video for his new single "MAC & CHEESE."
The four-minute video joyrides from the dreary industrial reality of Bushwick into a CG mac and cheese Mario Kart universe. Cars and trees melt away to become a TRON-like labyrinth, a giant pot of pasta, and the hotel from The Shining—splattered with cheese instead of blood. Kassa's stream of consciousness lyrics feel at home in the nonsensical world that Jordan Fish—who has directed videos for 2Chainz, MGMT, and Das Racist—created for the film.
Kassa wrote the lyrics for "Mac & Cheese" by turning on a Beyoncé instrumental and spitting what he calls "improvised gibberish," which producer WILS stitched together into the final track. Fish took Kassa's lead, outlining a loose concept for the video and letting Kassa and the extras freestyle while imagining a spacey netherworld.
Fish followed Kassa's lead on the visuals. He used consumer grade tools to create a DIY, improvised look that matches the song's easygoing tone. A GoPro Odyssey sunk into the backseat of his friend Daniel Lynas' car captured the 360° footage, which Fish stitched together with Google Jump. Then he built the VFX in Cinema 4D, composited them in After Effects, and edited it all together in Premiere. "The whole process from the beginning to the end had a heavy connection to improvisation, from the lyrics, to the video, to who was in it," Kassa tells Creators. "It was always a feeling of 'let's find it.'"
The film can be viewed on desktop or mobile, but an FBI "warning" urges viewers to watch in a VR headset. "They're like 5 bucks and you'll need one for the future," it reads, and we agree. Grab your HTC VIVE, Google Cardboard, or Oculus Rift, and plug into the video below.
See more of Jordan Fish's work here and hear more Kassa Overall here. The "Mac & Cheese" video release party is on June 7 at PaperBox in Bushwick and will feature live performances by Kassa and a Q&A with Fish. Learn more here.