To say that San Franciscans are somewhat divided on the post-World Series mayhem in the streets each time the Giants go all the way would be an understatement. While what feels like half the city is high on victory (and some other substances), popping champagne bottles and setting off firecrackers in the middle of intersections, there's a darker side to the mayhem — as drunkenness gives way to violence and trashcan fires give way to overturned Muni buses that will cost thousands of taxpayer dollars to repair, it gets harder to argue each year that it's all in good fun.
The two sides to the celebration served as inspiration for rapper A-1, aka Adam Traore, a San Francisco native who thought the dual nature of the event perfectly captured some of the larger tensions in his city — and also made the mayhem a fitting backdrop for his latest tracks, a split-personality pair called “Doing the Most / Carry the Ghost,” in which A-1 starts by rapping over party-ready steel drums that eventually give way to a more anxious beat and police sirens.
[jump] We're stoked to premiere the new video, shot the night of Oct. 29 following the Giants' win (using a drone with a stock 1080p camera on it), here on All Shook Down. Give it a watch, and read on below for Traore's thoughts on the song and the mayhem.
On why he likes to shoot videos outside in S.F: I like giving people some perspective on where I come from so they can understand me and my team better. My music makes more sense when you have a visual of my surroundings to go with it. Especially with people that aren't from major cities like San Francisco, or places as liberal as San Francisco, I think by showing them that environment, it gives them some insight into why we are the way we are: progressive, open minded, free spirited people.
On the songs' double meanings: “Doing the Most” is all about having fun, being yourself and not being afraid to let loose and let yourself be free. “Doing the Most” is actually a phrase we've been using in the Bay for a long time, it means being uncontrollable or relentlessly crazy. “We stayed up for three nights dancing to house music last week, we were doing the most.” That kind of thing.
“Carry the Ghost” is about my personal struggles with family and friends, trying to make money while still living out my dreams, and frustrations I have as a young man from the city dealing with crooked laws and unfair politics in society. I'm speaking from a personal perspective in the song, but it is meant to be heard as a cry of frustration from my generation, who is dealing with all these issues on a daily basis…In the song I'm [also] saying I carry the ghost of my dead ancestors to mean that their spirit and legacy lives on through me, but it can also be interpreted to mean that I'm carrying all these inner demons that I struggle with, which also relates to the song lyrics.
On why he wanted to capture the Giants mayhem: Originally, we shot all the footage thinking we were only gonna make a video for “Doing the Most.” We figured all the celebrations, the partying, people going wild for the Giants win, would fit perfectly with the happy feel of that song. But as we got more footage, and saw people clashing with cops, fighting eachother, setting the streets on fire, police pulling their guns out and threatening people, we didn't feel like the footage was totally appropriate for such a feel-good song. With all the anger and frustrations you saw in folks as the night went on, we felt like we needed to show a darker side of the story, and address some of the underlying issues that were at play that night. We added the Julia Lewis[-produced] track in there as a part two, because that song describes a lot of the issues that are relevant to the frustrated youth of the city.
Traore says to expect a big new release from him early next year.