PREMIERE: Astronautalis “Kurt Cobain” Video
"Put up your hands!"
It’s been a long journey for Astronautalis since starting out in Jacksonville, Florida. Astro came up making waves in the battle rap scene and competed at Scribble Jam. But it was Pomegranate, Astro’s third studio album, that really put this dude on the map. His display of his genre-bending skills was apparent on Pomegranate–a talkin’ blues style delivery with clever lyrics and beats that blended electro, indie rock and hip hop. It was clear this guy wasn’t just a rapper. He was a sharp-tongued musician that Tegan and Sara thought was pretty rad too.
Eventually Astro moved out to Minneapolis, Minnesota, but today Mass Appeal is proud to premiere a video that brings Astronautalis back to his Florida roots. Earlier this year, he saw the release of his fifth studio album Cut the Body Loose on SideOneDummy. The visual we bring today is for the album’s banging opener, “Kurt Cobain”.
Astronautalis shared his words on the track with Mass Appeal down below.
The first time I ever had a gun pulled on me, I was 17 years old. I was running late for school in Jacksonville, doing 11 mph over the speed limit, through back streets. The cop rolled up and had his pistol in my window before I could even get my registration out of the glove box. I was a skinny kid, halfway through puberty, far from tough, or intimidating, and even then, I could see how scared that cop was.
The second time I had a gun pulled on me, it was a group of kids in Atlanta, robbing my friends and I on our way home from a bar. They were stupid, like all teens are stupid, sloppy, and reckless, but as they split us up and tapped us down for our phones, wallets, and cash, I remember seeing how scared they all were.
And it was funny to me, looking back on both of those moments, how both ‘conversations,’ between myself and that cop, and myself and those kids, they both started with the exact same line: ‘put up your hands.’ Which, as a life long rap fan, is a phrase I have had yelled at me so many times, it had basically lost all meaning…till then. It made all three processes, a traffic stop gone wrong, a robbery, and a rap show, have a common lineage, and in turn, made them all seem equally absurd. And even more so, made those in the position of power in each respective ritual; the cop, the crook, and the rapper, seem…almost powerless.
‘Kurt Cobain’ is an examination of power structures, and the power we voluntarily surrender to people, ideas, and the forces around us, be they political, social, cultural, or economic. And when the curtain is drawn back on one corner of your world, like it was for me, after that robbery, it becomes impossible to not see much of our world as window dressing.
Astronautalis is currently on a massive tour through the U.S. All 50 states are being hit, with 65 shows being performed for literally anyone to have their chance to attend. His live shows are legendary, with Astro often asking for audience-selected subjects for off top freestyles. You don’t want to miss out. Check out his calendar for a list of dates.
Peep the video inspired by Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin” (directed by Hype Williams), and Juvenile’s “Ha” (directed by Marc Klasfeld) up top in the player. Purchase Andy’s latest record Cut the Body Loose over at SideOneDummy’s official webstore.