Brooklyn-based directing duo Alex Lee and Kyle Wightman, better known in the creative world as BRTHR, have been crafting memorable visuals since they met at New York City’s School of Visual Arts in 2010. Fast-forward a decade later and they’ve worked with some of the biggest names in music including the likes of Travis Scott and The Weeknd, bringing their mind-altering and reality-bending aesthetics to the masses. Today they’ve teamed up with rising artist 645AR to direct his latest single “Yoga.”
645AR burst onto the scene thanks to his squeaky vocals and immediately became a viral sensation. After “4 DA TRAP” garnered millions of views and introduced the hip-hop world to just how experimental a rapper can get with their pitch, 645 inked a deal with Columbia Records and dropped “In Love With A Stripper” and his collaboration with Brodinski and Tony Shhhnow, “Fast” . With “Yoga,” the Bronx rapper continues to expand his portfolio through a bass-heavy,
As for the video, BRTHR imagines a world currently in the throws of the coronavirus pandemic, just with the arrival of aliens and their advanced technology. The rapper is greeted by an extraterrestrial named Flexo-19, and the two go on a citywide journey, landing in Time Square, cruising through another dimension and eventually landing back at the rapper’s apartment with a newfound Men in Black-inspired Neuralyzer to help the audience forget about it all.
BRTHR joined HYPEBEAST for a quick interview about the unexpected collaboration which you can read below. For more of the directing duo’s creative process, check out HYPEBEAST’s Behind the Lens feature.
How’d this collaboration come about?
645AR just signed to Columbia Records and somehow his management and the label thought of us first to bring this music video to life. We had actually already been following AR’s work through Fulltac, his producer. Few e-mails and texts and we made it happen (although the pandemic started to screw with how).
What’s the inspiration behind the video?
Before this pandemic even broke out, we already had our minds set to incorporate aliens, and just have it be this really bizarre visual universe. Obvious inspirations are Men in Black with the ending, but other than that it was really just inspired by how AR is. The squeaky rap thing is new to us and everyone, so we wanted to make something that follows that trajectory.
With the current coronavirus keeping everyone home, how did you actually pull this one off?
645 and the label man Saul Levitz just let us explore whatever, really. So like we said, initially we had this alien idea, but as the pandemic started to unfold, we shifted gears and re-conceptualized. We had been following everything super closely and were just like, “We have to shoot something before New York City goes on lockdown, and it has to be relevant to our situation”. So we shot this with a crazy run and gun crew of sox people and went HAM in post.
Our concept bases 645AR in our reality as humans right now, which feels like a bad dream, but also, what if aliens decided to infiltrate us now? The hyper-surreal nature of the video is how we see the world at the moment, and we thought it’d be a fun way to create something that directly pokes fun at our shitty situation, kind of how South Park does. The alien attempts to infiltrate 645AR’s mind and body, but when AR snaps out of its hypnosis, he quickly realizes that the thing is evil and guns it down.
What’s in-store for your creative output in the future given just how uncertain everything is given the current climate?
At the moment we have had some jobs come in, the film industry is most definitely in flux, but everyone is trying to figure out how to move forward and coming up with creative solutions. For example, for our upcoming gig we are directing talent all via webcam, in their own homes.