Casino's "Killin Shit" Video Radically Reimagines 'Spring Breakers'
“Killin' Shit” still captures the darkness and energy of Korine's movie, reflecting its freewheeling maximalist energy, but it doesn't play its hedged hipster post-everything game for even a moment.
Frequently shouting Freebandz'er Casino's video for “Killin Shit,” directed by Todd Uno, which premiered on Noisey last Tuesday, cribs keys elements from Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers. In particular, the robbery scenes from the infamous Britney Spears “Everytime” montage, in which gangsta guru Alien and the slummin' it, in-quotes thuggin' it, white girls stick guns in frat boy faces and take all the money they brought down for a week of raging out in St. Petersburg. The result is a video that acknowledges Spring Breakers as part of the hip-hop canon, while doing away with some of its iffy representations and resolving some of the tensions that, for better and worse, Korine threw out there with a decadent shrug.
Spring Breakers was an immediately predictive movie. In one sense, it was “Trap” (as in the EDM genre gone huge thanks to Baauer's “Harlem Shake”) in movie form, and therefore, totally early 2013. At the same time, it anticipated the soon prevalent inside-out and backwards popularity of blinding, cloying whiteness into mainstream rap culture, thanks to Macklemore's snake oil salesman conscious hip-hop, and Miley's twerk totemizing. Spring Breakers was an auto-critique of these issues before they were even issues, and a thorough, if sloppy and above-it-all deconstruction of these issues that sought to reconcile opposites and find commonality through self-destruction. Whether it failed or not is almost seems besides the point.
All that context boils over during Spring Breakers' final scene, which twists the violent ending of hip-hop classic Scarface when the Spring Breakers girls shoot up Gucci Mane's Florida mansion. It's a hot mess of racially-tinged revenge that felt transcendent, yet still kind of comes down to a bunch of white girls going gangsta on a bunch of black people for some absurd laughs. You can't leave that scene feeling one way about it, which seemed to be the point of Korine's movie in the first place.
Wisely, “Killin' Shit” doesn't just mimic Spring Breakers. It shoves its vision back into the world of hip-hop good and proper. Spring Breakers' white girls in pink ski-masks are recast black women. That's an important change and one that needed to happen less than a year after Korine and company pillaged so much from hip-hop culture. And even the almost pubescent bodies of those Spring Breakers leads getting replaced with the fuller bodies of video girls seems significant, here. “Killin' Shit” uses Spring Breakers' vision towards a conventional hip-hop video, rather than a high-concept, insider-outsider art film that is ostensibly about whiteness and co-opting but at some point or another, boldly but not without its problems, climbs away from that world into a maelstrom of ineffable Midnight Movie weirdness.
Along with Nicki Minaj's “Lookin' Ass Nigga,” a video that we're all still processing, which celebrates the female body while literally killing the male gaze dead (indeed, the most nagging element of Spring Breakers is Korine's inability or refusal to not leer at the leads' bodies every chance he got), you've got an interesting pair of female-centric rap video readjustments. Director Uno isn't paying homage to Spring Breakers with “Killin' Shit,” so much as he is remixing it – which is kind of what Korine did with Scarface, Belly, and “trap rap” culture. “Killin' Shit” still captures the darkness and energy of Korine's movie, reflecting its freewheeling maximalist energy, but it doesn't play its hedged hipster post-everything game for even a moment.
Brandon Soderberg is a writer and dog owner living in Baltimore. He's on Twitter - @notrivia