Since the video for Jay-Z’s “On To The Next One” was released on New Year’s Eve, the music industry has been abuzz on rumors of Jay’s supposed ties to the Illuminati and Freemasonry due to the clip’s dark overtones. Recently, the video’s director, Sam Brown, spoke to Vibe about his work.
Telling Vibe that the “visually illiterate” have gotten it all wrong, Brown reiterates that the video has no ties to anything.
“I think when you're dealing in abstract imagery people are going to want to draw lines between things and make sense of it,” Brown said. “However, I've always felt that the viewing public was, in general, extremely visually literate. They don't always want or need things to be spelt out for them. One of the great things about music videos are they can be enjoyed purely visually—it doesn't need to mean anything or make any sense...
“There is imagery in this video that is drawn from all over the place,” he continues. “None of it is owned by any one culture or belief system. You can connect anything if you try hard enough, and make it mean anything you want it to.”
Brown also added that while Jay-Z gave him a concise summary of the concept of the video, the end result was ultimately his.
“He gave me a very loose brief, and made it clear that we should be progressive with the video,” Brown said. “All the imagery was thought up by me and was a response to the track itself.
“For those interested, the idea is actually about a funeral for old imagery and ideas, hence all the gothic and oppressive stuff,” Brown explained. “I was also trying to contradict the excess of hip-hop videos by making something brutally simple and claustrophobic.”
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