The Communicator

L$D (Music Video)

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A$AP Rocky, real name Rakim Mayers, released his third and final single L$D on May 21, 2015, preceding the release of his second studio album AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP. Florida record producer Jim Jonsin eases you in with a soft guitar riff and Rocky’s hazy voice over a smooth synth in the first and only verse. As a choir of Rocky’s voice begins the chorus, you are hit by a percussion sample from Lou Donaldson’s Ode to Billy Joe and a dancing electric piano solo in the background. Jonsin’s raspy, distant voice makes an appearance for the bridge before Rocky returns for a second bridge and one more chorus.

The L$D music video, directed by London-born filmmaker and photographer Dexter Navy, was created to mimic an LSD trip. In 2016, it was nominated for Best Music Video at the Grammy Awards and Best Editing at the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards.

Rocky discusses the video in a 2015 interview with VICE’s music channel Noisey.

“This whole video was inspired by Enter The Void,” said Rocky. “Dexter Navy put me onto the movie years back. It’s crazy. Either you had a good trip or you had a bad trip. Enjoy it; it’s an experience. I’m musically giving you LSD: visually, sonically, [and] artistically. That’s very rare.”

The video’s subjects are Rocky himself and Japanese fashion designer Yoon Ahn. Ahn co-founded the design company Ambush with her husband Verbal. Since their start as an experimental jewelry line, Ambush has expanded into a fashion brand featuring collabs with Louis Vuitton, UNDERCOVER, and Off-white.

“That chick is Yoon,” said Rocky. “ I think she’s beautiful, so I wanted her for this part. It’s using love as a metaphor for a drug… I’m not really good at romance, so that’s my way of spreading my love.”

Designed to mimic an LSD trip, the two wander around the urban streets of Tokyo, where an abundance of pulsing lights from street lamps and billboards create a nebulous ambiance. They find themselves in rooms brimming with ornate decorations reflecting heavily saturated colors that fill the space.

Following the first bridge of the song, the video cuts away to Rocky rapping the first verse to Excuse Me, a song on AT.LONG.LAST.A$AP, into a cracked mirror in a white, ornate room.

“That was spontaneous,” said Rocky. I thought of that when we went up to that room. I was just like ‘Dex, look at these mirrors. I want the one with the crack. I’m gonna look into it. I’m gonna just start rapping Excuse Me. Record me.’ He was like ‘Bet. We gotta flicker the lights,’ and all this other stuff. There was a party going on. A real live party. It was crazy. There were so many people there and we were just busy being creative.”

 

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