(photos by Broccoli)
The mystery surrounding Video7 is no small part of the appeal. Leading up to their recurring Cable Nite event, held at El Club for the first time last Thursday, the public was given a poster with a list of names and not much else about what to expect. But for those familiar with the Detroit-based crew, which also boasts extensions in LA and Seattle, it was a must-see.
As I stepped into the green room what struck me most was the comradery: people draped on couches, warmly leaning on eachother; a rap cypher cycling between casual warm-up and potential new track; mirrors reflecting coordinated outfits and finessed stage looks. From the outside it’s hard to imagine a 19-person group being so cohesive, but like with many things, seeing is believing.
The intimacy backstage was telling, but of course the group’s home is the stage. Out comes Brendan Asante, co-founder and glossolalia enthusiast, starting off the night performing a song of his own before settling into his emcee duties. From that moment onward the vibe ebbed and flowed through each corner of Video7’s multi-disciplinary offerings: Jazz, Hip Hop, R&B, and everything in between. Much of their music defies characterization, with many different pieces coming together, in a sort of deliberate serendipity that can be fostered but never completely controlled. It’s not uncommon for members to feature on each other’s songs. In fact, it’s more surprising when they don’t. In this way, Video7 effortlessly embodies what it means to be a collective.
In their own words: Video7 is transcendent, it is new heights and new opportunity. It is a family, a support system, a visionary platform. It is work ethic and raw culture. It is connection, passion, and skill. It is limitless space, a dwelling place, forward thoughts and movement. Video7 is making art, sharpening vision, and being free to create again. Video7 is possibility.
If you don’t have time to get familiar with the crew, seeing a show will reveal just as much. Every show is different, each member unique, making for quite the experience.
Before Black Noi$e closed out the night in decisive fashion, including a “Yeah Right” into “Bodak Yellow” combo that left me dreaming of a Vince and Cardi collab, Video7 convened once more as a group on stage for a final jam with the whole crew.
In researching for this article I read about the origins of Video7, which made the final jam an almost inevitable exclamation point at the end of a bountiful offering of music. From their own description:
“Video7 strengthened their connection through weekly jam sessions to create songs, beats, and experiences that land just as lovingly on living room floors as they would on international dance floors.”
– written by Imani Mixon
The quote seems to capture the essence of Video7: collaboration. They support one another in their individual and collective musical pursuits through cross-pollination and selfless promotion, even reaching outward at times as they do with ProducerHaus. Their group is more than the sum of its parts, a blossoming synergy that defies expectation and embraces anomaly. Their mystery is a question without a definite answer, but with each show and artistic progression they move toward what they see for themselves as the next step. If this most recent manifestation is any indication, I can only imagine what’s on the horizon.