A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE “VICTIM” - by Neeraj Kaushal
Photo: Phil Frankay
Have you got a dinner jacket?
Quality tux, mate — but what for?
And can you be at the shoot for 8 a.m. on Friday?
Trust me I’ll be there — but what’s my role?
We have the perfect role for you . . .
So there I was, clean-shaven, looking suave and handsome as I arrived at a swanky hotel in Manhattan. I was met by Michael, the Director. He gave me a reassuring handshake and told me “not to worry” and that “everything would be just fine.” I was then introduced to a make-up artist and a beautiful actress called Julianne who would be my “wife” in the scene. We shook hands and it was at this point I wondered what the hell is going on? Where is Supreme? I thought I was just going to be standing around in the background! I had no idea what drama was about to befall me — “The Fixer” obviously had other ideas. All a bit creepy.
We made our way to Room 1501 (the Crime Scene), a suite of quite exquisite décor, and there in the living room was a table on which sat a platter of the finest fruit. This is the sort of place that I am accustomed to, so I began to feel at ease — but there was definitely an air of uncomfortable inevitability around me. I was asked to get changed into my evening wear (at 8.30 a.m.) and get ready for my scene. The realisation of the importance of everything was ramped up when Julianne coolly and calmly got ready and began having her make-up done (I thought “wow this is REAL”). As I prepared, I heard the familiar voices of Messrs Supreme, Icepick, and Shaka Shazam. We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries — jokes were flying around about my “brief” role in the video (I was still non-plussed about what was going on). Tomsta (aka OPS manager akin to Inspector Todd in Beverly Hills Cop) took great delight in preparing the Crime Mug Shot Board – I recognised the familiar faces of Dyer, Swaby, Marga et al so it felt like home from home. Although I have to admit it was slightly surreal meeting the H.Q. “Fraternity” on the 15th floor of a hotel in New York – I thought the 159 bus from Brixton stopped at Oxford Circus?
Everything was set and we were all in position to do the “handshake” scene where my “wife and I” enter the drinks party and I happen to notice an old business colleague in the distance. Supreme approached me and said “you will need this” and pulled out a gold Rolex watch for me to wear. Damn I loved that watch! It was then I realised that my role was going to be a key part of the storyline for the music video (no pressure).
Top: A quick selfie as makeup gets underway. Bottom left: A photo with my onscreen “wife” Julianne. Bottom Right: That Rolex!!
A couple of takes in (it’s so difficult to do a perfect handshake) and there was a break in proceedings. I heard a loud American voice entering the hotel room. Now, there had been some murmurings of a possible surprise guest in the video — I thought perhaps it was going to be someone from the U.K. or the fact that I was the surprise (ok, that was a joke). In comes the O.G. himself — ICE T! He came and shook my hand (get in!) and sat down like he was just one of the lads. I was completely starstruck and I recall Icepick remarking that “he has never seen me so quiet!” It was so cool and totally unexpected. Again “The Fixer” was in total control of events.
After my part was over, I took the opportunity to watch the other scenes unfold like when Icepick enters the crime scene with Julianne crying at the loss of her gorgeous husband (she was heartbroken!) as well as when IcePick is in the bedroom with the CSI crew (led by Tonee) exploring the evidence and trying to understand how such a clinical murder could have taken place. I was also lucky enough to watch Icepick being filmed dropping his lyrics over the backing track for the video.
Everything about the video was so professional and of such a high standard. Jokes aside (and there were lots), we were there to execute a fine piece of film and anyone who has watched the video cannot deny that the bar has been raised. I just want to thank everyone who was involved in creating such a masterpiece.
I left the shoot that day and it wasn’t until the video went live on the 9th September did I see that I had become the “Victim”. I would like to know why the business man was taken out …surely not just for a shiny timepiece? But I guess the stars aligned in the sky and my fate was sealed. A question for another day. But only “The Fixer” knows (and there I was thinking he was such a nice guy).
Well, I consider myself to know most things about the UK hip hop scene that we have all learnt to love, but what this video has reaffirmed to me is that DJ Supreme is a musical genius and visionary who will not accept anything besides utter perfection in his trade. None of us expected this in 2017. Supreme has delivered a long overdue electrical charge to those who thought a Brit-American collaboration of this scale was impossible. His productions skills must drive beat-makers crazy and force them back to the drawing board.
There is a line in the track that Icepick spits: “What do you know about Soops?” — I thought I knew; I actually have no idea what he might do next. Just don’t be his next “Victim”
Only “The Fixer” knows.
Meeting the legend Ice-T on set was one of many highlights from that day.
Myself and “The Fixer” Soops dressed to impress, ready for our scene together.