Friday, September 11, 2009

"Victory" -- a music video retrospective

I think what gives Puff Daddy's credibility guise away is his constant need for a new stage name. Endlessly searching for "the cool", he never realizes that the first nickname was what he should have stuck with all along (Sean "Puffy" Combs). What's more, many people don't grasp that most of Diddy's best songs are actually Notorious BIG hits featuring him (and probably also featuring Mase). So, his after-Biggie life has been all about emerging as a separate entity.

Have you seen Bad Boys II? Diddy was trying to sell "Shake Ya Tailfeather" so hard that, as "Executive Music Producer", he played it every possible time he could in the flick. My friends and I based a drinking game on this sobering display of triteness.

OK, to the music video:

With lyrics like "get your math on", "hot for a long time/burning like a candle"; and bragging about going platinum, you know that "Victory" is pop-rap. It's like the Cristal that Puffy is so fond of--bubbly, expensive and not really filling.

It's a basic "Most Dangerous Game"/Running Man take-off. Lots of helicopters, fireballs, rain machines, searchlights, rollerblading cops and supermodels and are employed. It somewhat resembles the directing style of David Fincher. Let's look at a few video stills:

Wait a minute... Year 3002 A.D., and he has a pager? His top speed 320 km PER SECOND??? That's roughly 715 mph... Obviously, the producers were not that worried about the details and the metric system. If they invested more in the little things, and less on Danny DeVito and Dennis Hopper, who knows.

The late Notorious BIG fills in the creative gaps, dominating PD's rhymes posthumously (for the nth time). Even Busta Rhymes makes Puffy sound lazy. When the NWO President (Dennis Hopper) says "delete" (maybe that's how they say it in the year 3002?), I think that just sums up the quality of the video's script.

The lamest part of the video is the apparent suicide of "Contestant #5". The animation of him jumping off the building is just laughable. It reminds me of the Joker's death in Tim Burton's Batman... the same CGI used 10 years later. Why not spend another $30k on some better effects; make it an even 3 million dollar budget?

Video facts
Length: 7:50
Director: Anonymous (Marcus Nispel)
Date: March, 1998
Est. Cost: $2.7 million

When this video debuted, there was no (living) black artist as high profile as Puff Daddy. With Biggie's death, he catapulted into the mainstream, with the help of MTV. The video for "Victory" is Puff Daddy's parallel of "Estranged" by Guns N' Roses: it marks the pinnacle of overindulgence and the waning of popularity. Maybe Diddy's next album will be analogous to Chinese Democracy. "Estranged" is a classic... is "Victory"?


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