With the internet fast becoming the main medium for watching music videos, rappers no longer have to worry much about censoring their clips for primetime. In fact, it’s now common for artists—particularly those in the underground—to create videos that purposely flaunt the restrictions imposed by MTV and BET, thus garnering points on the internet for the “realness” of their clips. A couple recent examples that come to mind are “Bullet, Bullet” by BK’s Uncle Murda (whose apparent indifference to the loss of human life reaches outright comic extremes) and Atlanta rapper Pill’s “Trap Goin’ Ham“—a sort of Citizen Kane for the reverse-elitist rap blogger set. However, leave it to San Francisco’s Messy Marv to make a video far more menacing than the aforementioned, despite a complete absence of guns, bodies, or—in Pill’s case—real-life crackheads smoking rocks.
So what does Marv do? He rides public transportation. That’s right—Muni buses, BART, and even the city’s famed Cable Car. There’s something about it that just seems gangster as fuck, because Mess comes off as a hustler just struggling to survive. Which, if you think about it, is far more menacing than someone bragging about all their drug money. A rich hustler pushing a Benz is going to be think twice before risking his future over some bullshit, but a gangster that still rides the bus? That’s the dude to watch out for, ’cause he’s got far less to lose. Shot in 2003, “World is a Ghetto” exemplifies the Bay Area tradition of doing more with less. There’s no girls, no ice, no money, and (most glaringly) no cars—and yet the clip is hard as fuck and very effective at conveying the song’s message. Meanwhile the beat is typical low-budget mobb shit, the kind of track Messy always kills. Shit is damn near terrifying in its cheapness, as well as it’s sonic “middle finger” to anyone outside the Bay. Underground Bay Area production has got to be the most menacing in the game: it’s the only style I know of that sounds like the producers would fuck you up.