Kiwi-Korean artist Hans. has blown us away with a fun music video to accompany his silky-smooth single Be Grateful.
With a laid back drawl, as if his lungs are smoke-clogged and he’s just ripped three Christmas tree-sized cones in a row, Hans. raps effortlessly over a groovy ghetto house beat. Words teeter, threatening to slide and tumble into the next, but it’s all style and not at all careless. Hans. is poised, catching himself and holding himself back before leaning into a new verse.
The tone is tongue-in-cheek throughout and amplified in the music video which zeroes in a model’s pristine feet – a reference to an inside joke within the rapper’s friendship circle.
“One of my friends used to sell pictures of their feet online and make some decent money, and that made me wonder at the time if I could sell mine. I never got around to it but yeah, that’s where the feet inspiration came from”, Hans. explains.
Comfortable being himself on camera, Hans. dances in an oversized suit, channelling zany rappers such as Tyler, the Creator.
“Never sold a fucking thing except a couple of little lies”, Hans. raps cheekily. The delivery is deadpan.
“I wanted a song people could dance to, and I imagined it for the clubs and nightlife fans after we got out of lockdown”, Hans. says.
As hip hop exploded in the Antipodes in the 90s with artists like Def Wish Cast, Hilltop Hoods and Trem One, the music press derided it as a middle-class white phenomenon. “Barbeque rap” it was labelled. While this was not entirely accurate – the music grew out of earcher culture and the boredom and struggles of suburbia – the scene was predominantly white and male. Nowhere to be seen were the labels we cherish today such as Bad Apples Music, founded by Briggs to amplify First Nations voices.
In New Zealand, pioneering Maori and Pasifika artists such as Otara Millionaires Club (OMC) and Scribe did give the Kiwi hip hop scene more diversity.
Hans.’ staunch representation of his own heritage is a timely reminder of the recent diversification of hip hop across Australia and New Zealand and the importance of preserving this development.
The single is not only a breath of fresh air, it’s a gale-force wind – an indication of what is to come, and one likely to sweep you off your feet.