Some of my favorite recent hits have taken months to peak—Chief Keef's "Faneto,"
for instance, came out in October 2014 but didn't achieve omnipresence till spring 2015. I suspect Kami's "Payload" will follow a similar arc, and not just because I love the song. Kami is betting on it too: though the Save Money rapper initially released it on June's Superstar
(a five-song follow-up to April's luscious full-length Just Like the Movies
), he dropped the video for it last week.
The retro synths and melodies of Just Like the Movies
sound big enough for an IMAX screen. "Payload" preserves that larger-than-life musical ambition—but where Kami spent most of the full-length in crooner mode, on "Payload" (and the rest of Superstar
) he puts rapping first. In the song's hook, his battle-ready vocals react to the ringing synths as though they were a starter's pistol—he races through those bars like he's got a big lead in a 100-meter dash.
photographer Jake Osmun shot the party scenes in the "Payload" video on a VHS camcorder when Mensa returned to town to open for Jay Z at the United Center
last month. The cheap-and-dirty look of the VHS format (augmented by Osmun's digital processing and effects) dovetails with the song's gritty euphoria. The party shots feature almost everyone connected to Save Money (including Vic, Chance the Rapper, and Joey Purp
), and the variety of locations—Studio Paris nightclub on the Near North Side, Bert's Car Wash in West Town, and what looks like the back lot of the new Fat Tiger Workshop in River West—seems engineered to make the point that "Payload" can start a party anywhere in the city.