VIDEO PREMIERE: def.sound “12TH AVE”
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The rose that grew from concrete, the vine grown from the desert: South Central soliloquist def.sound has built a career around lush, buoyant instrumentation and polysyllabic re-imagination of a life anchored in L.A. And what a unique life it’s been. A lifelong vegan born in a food desert, he’s well-versed in contradiction and in the work it takes to water oneself until fully grown. The song—from COLORED Disc 1ne, out July 23—is built around a Vine of Shiloh Dynasty singing and playing guitar, a recent-aughts reference too good to not mention here. (From apps to slaps—damn.) For all the rhapsodic, confessional bars in his oeuvre, this is the strongest return to his roots. The video is literally shot on the block he grew up on, with anchoring, sobering shots of loved ones watching him speak the language they share. Visionary director Araeia Robinson of creative production company Passerine shoots with clarity and emotional and visual depth, the video’s characters placed against backgrounds that reveal their background. Each frame is considered and handsome, a strong complement to Def’s cinematic lyrics. Also If you look closely enough, you might recognize a wide-eyed L.A. RECORD contributor in frame. Says Def:
“Growing up Seventh Day Adventist in South Central Los Angeles in a food desert in a plant-based family in the 90s … is pretty rare. This was one of the first songs where I decided to own my story in its totality. Because I’m constantly in a state of shifting, unraveling, and becoming, 12th Ave & Jefferson is a record that took my whole life to make. It’s the first time I discussed dodging stray bullets and surviving a drive-by at 9 years old on a song—a trauma I blocked out of my memory. As a people we are boiled down to cliches, devalued by a structural racial calculus and political arithmetic we had nothing to do with setting up. The sample loop used in the song is from a VINE—remember VINE?—my homie Colin found of Shiloh Dynasty singing and playing guitar. It felt like the perfect canvas for a confessional. At times we forget how valuable our stories are and that just the act itself of telling of them is revolutionary. It’s important people know the spectrum of artists and people South Central can and does produce. I hope people see themselves in my story. The truth is the most powerful thing I can share as an artist.”