Since they last rolled through Eugene over a year ago, Blue Scholars has been busy. They kicked off a new tour, “Town All Day,” released the single “May Day” and filmed four music videos: Cinemetropolis’ “Seijun Suzuki,” a new rap by Sabzi about the delicious Vietnamese soup phoở “WASSUP PHAM,” a collaboration with Seattle’s Sound Transit called “The Sound” and the Nov. 27 release of “Anna Karina.” Like their Seattle peers Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, they are at the forefront of not only making the music video relevant again, but also using their platform to prop up local issues.
Let’s start with the music video because, Blue Scholars is not just a music group but a brand and burgeoning creative empire, tackling filmmaking, writing, merchandising, producing, in addition to crafting beats or, as they put it, “Blue Scholars do all these things — and a hell of a lot more — every damn day.” Their latest video for “Seijun Suzuki” has distinct Quentin Tarantino-esque style (as well as hints of Seijun Suzuki himself, a nihilistic-leaning Japanese filmmaker) complete with black-framed glasses, slim-fitting, gunmetal grey suits, cigarettes and samurai swords (used to nab a fried chicken breast at one point). In another music video for “Slick Watts,” the duo pay homage to Seattle’s quick eats (The Original Philly’s, Beacon Hill Shell Station, Thanh Thao) while Seattlites wave Blue Scholars custom foam fingers around the cityscape (which can be purchased via their website). The duo proves that the hyper-local movement has reared its head successfully in the music world as well.
Keeping it local, after the May 2012 shootings in Seattle’s University and First Hill neighborhoods, The Seattle Times asked Blue Scholars’ Prometheus Brown to pen an op-ed on the city’s gun violence. He responded with the song “May Day,” which highlights the double standards and racial tensions that have been long brewing in Seattle. “Shots fired in the parking lot, nobody cares. Shots fired in the coffee shop, everybody scared,” Prometheus Brown raps over DJ Sabzi’s heavy bass. The song, released as a free download this summer, will be featured at the Dec. 4 show along with a multimedia show spotlighting short films and animation inspired by their 2011 album Cinemetropolis.
Blue Scholars plays with The Physics and Brothers from Another 8 pm Tuesday, Dec. 4, at WOW Hall; $15 adv, $18 door.