The late Michael Lucero used the Bay Area as a backdrop to articulate Organized Konfusion's anger and add another memorable Hip Hop video to his director's reel.
Few Hip Hop songs articulate rage as well as Organized Konfusion’s “Stress.” Halfway through the track, Prince Po repeatedly shoots a cab driver for refusing to take the duo to Queens after multiple other cabs have passed them. So it stood to reason that the “Stress” video would need to be an equally striking visual representation, and one man was clearly up for the task.
“We were working with a producer/director—may he rest in peace—named Michael Lucero, who also worked with Souls of Mischief on ’93 Til Infinity,’” Pharoahe Monch revealed in a recent interview with Distortion2Static.
Much like “’93 Til Infinity” Lucero incorporated the local landscapes into the video. But in the case of Organized, who hailed from Queens, he used them to create a vibe totally opposite from the one he used for Souls of Mischief.
“You could go up in the mountains and shoot in the snow, then come back down to the city and get a contrast between both elements with the stress of the city,” Monch added.
For some San Francisco carries a reputation as a laid back, liberal city by the bay. And while that’s true to a certain extent, the fact that the Bay Area was a major hub for the Black Panther Party and remains in headlines for the contentious relationship between police and minorities backs up the fact that the city was a prime location to shoot “Stress.” Ultimately, the city of San Francisco would be just as important a part of the video as Lucero’s direction of Monch and Po.
“[Lucero] was like, ‘You’re huge! You’re a giant! I want that,’” Monch recalled. “He told Prince Po, ‘Take your shirt off in the snow!’ and that’s one of the more standout moments in that video…that was like the first time we had directions as to what a director wanted from us visually in that video.”