Run The Jewels Balance The Bad Cop/Good Citizen Fight in Brutally Awesome ‘Close Your Eyes’ Video

Fresh off a series of absolutely killer performances at Austin’s SXSW festival, Run The Jewels have unveiled the AG Rojas directed video for their track “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)” featuring Zack de la Rocha, the latest single from their recent critical masterpiece Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal Records). It’s an absolute killer, and serves a magnificent social value in depicting the struggle between aggressive cops and average Americans – with an ending that should give us all pause. 

Bad Idea: Run The Jewels Attacked Onstage at SXSW (Video)

The jaw dropping clip stars Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire; Wolf of Wall Street) and Keith Stanfield (Selma; Straight Outta Compton) as a white cop and a black youth locked in a violent struggle that appears to have no beginning and no end, nor a clear instigation or purpose. Rojas has issued a statement on the video, excerpted below (read the full statement at the group’s site):

When Run The Jewels sent me this track, I knew we had the opportunity to create a film that means something. I felt a sense of responsibility to do just that. We had to exploit the lyrics and aggression and emotion of the track, and translate that into a film that would ignite a valuable and productive conversation about racially motivated violence in this country. It’s provocative, and we all knew this, so we were tasked with making something that expressed the intensity of senseless violence without eclipsing our humanity. For me, it was important to write a story that didn’t paint a simplistic portrait of the characters of the Cop and Kid. They’re not stereotypes. They’re people – complex, real people and, as such, the power had to shift between them at certain points throughout the story. The film begins and it feels like they have been fighting for days, they’re exhausted, not a single punch is thrown, their violence is communicated through clumsy, raw emotion. They’ve already fought their way past their judgments and learned hatred toward one another.  Our goal was to highlight the futility of the violence, not celebrate it.”

For El-P of Run the Jewels “this is a vision of a seemingly never-ending struggle whose participants are pitted against each other by forces originating outside of themselves.”  

Adds partner Killer Mike “this video represents the futile and exhausting existence of a purgatory-like law enforcement system. There is no neat solution at the end because there is no neat solution in the real world. However, there is an opportunity to dialogue and change the way communities are policed in this country. Salutes to AG Rojas for his unique take on the subject matter and to Shea and Keith for giving us their all and bringing it to life.”

As for the former Rage Against The Machine frontman’s inclusion, Zack has been all but a ghost since Rage’s last album over 14 years ago, including a one-stop EP with The Mars Volta’s Jon Theodore back in 2008 (but a full album was recorded, where the hell is it?). But on this track, Zack slips a knife in the side of the track, taking aim at the social degradations and authoritative chokeholds surrounding us in 2015. 


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