Sligonian threesome This Side Up have been gigging and touring around the country since their formation, earning them the reputation of being one of the most hardworking musical outfits in the North West. Comprising Myster-E, Shaool, and Noone, (1 DJ and 2 MC’s) This Side Up are due to release their debut album Full Fat later on this year. The first single ‘Signs ‘, featuring Verb T. & Moreone (both London-based rappers) was released at the end of June. The single is a good introduction for the uninitiated and has plenty of the good stuff for the established fans.
The video itself is pleasingly minimalistic. There has been a tendency in recent years for hip-hop videos to be very busy, and over-packed with imagery – perhaps to distract from the music. The pared back quality if ‘Signs’ speaks of a quiet assurance and faith in their work. It begins with a quite retro shot of hands at a turntable with This Side Up’s record, before delving into straight-to-camera vignettes in black chiaroscuro contrasts. There is also a slight and subtle religious commentary running throughout. The messages of staying on the right path, references to being ‘born again’ and a final instruction to ‘fill up your coffers’ invite the notion of god and religion into the mix.
Contrast is the overarching theme of the song and video. There is the usual hip-hop aesthetic of extreme colonial opulence (shown here in the form of gilded thrones and treasure chests) juxtaposed with the sartorial trappings of the inner city.
More contrasts are revealed in the lyrics. With the recurring warning to stay on the path and keep focussed on your goals, there is also the opposite message shown visually – one of indulgence and luxury. Sign’s with ‘This Way’, ‘That Way’ inscribed on them, and the focus on the differences in one’s character after you have reinvented yourself, This Side Up are on a mission to make you aware of the past and future, the left and the right of every issue.
Signs feat. Verb T & Moreone is available now.