Music Video Research
I have chosen to use Shaggy ft RikRok’s music video for ‘It Wasn’t Me’ which falls into the Reggae/RnB musical genre.
There are many different camera shots used in this video. To begin, the video uses close ups, extreme close-ups and reverse-shots to establish the relationship between the two main characters- Shaggy and RikRok. There is also the use of shots through screens- being Shaggy’s security camera screen which features both characters during a conversation. Low angles are used to point the camera up at the main characters, seemingly connoting dominance and power. Transitions such as short takes, and cutting of editing such as eyeline matches and cutaways are used to create a relationship between the audience and the characters; maintaining their attention to the video.
Reverse- Shots: These shots make it difficult to establish who the main character is, as they’re both portrayed in the same way, thus connoting that they’re on a par with each other.
There is an establishing shot of the location which is Shaggy’s bachelor pad. It connotes wealth and power, as it features a large mansion surrounded by an expensive car and a long driveway.
The camera movements within this video are fairly simple. It features Follow shot, where the camera follows RikRok down the driveway toward the front door, Zoom, where the camera focuses into the faces of the main characters, and more importantly- the Zoom which fragments the females’ bodies within the video, adding voyeuristic elements to the video, encouraging Mulvey’s theory of the Male Gaze.
There is a clear Arc camera movement which forms a semi-circle of camera time around the two main characters. This connotes their power over the women in the video, and focuses the attention of the audience onto the men. This also encourages people to listen to the conversation they have during the song which explains the story behind the video.
The location of the video is set in a wealthy, sparsely populated area of America, which features a Mansion, neatly trimmed hedges, and an expensive car on the driveway. These features of Mise En Scene connote wealth and dominance over economy.
The entirety of the video represents wealth and power, as it also features other expensive cars/motorbikes, GPS tracking machines, Mobile phones, champagne flutes and cigars. This connotes bombast from the main characters, as stereotypically, these visual features are perceived as ‘rich man’s toys’ by the average public.
The clothes the main characters are wearing are bright- Shaggy is wearing a bright purple jacket, and RikRok is wearing a red sweater. This connotes vivacity and represents the characters as being animated and lively.
The women in the video are wearing very revealing clothing. This fragmentation of the female body encourages the audience to disrespect the women, and look at them through a Male Gaze. This causes the women to be perceived as inferior to the men, which also connotes that the men are pompous and clearly objectify the women, changing their status in the video from characters to objects.
Here, Shaggy himself is using the Male Gaze, as he focuses on the female’s bare legs.
The video contains a variety of sexual elements throughout, and especially through the use of props. For example- candles should represent romance and relaxation, however here they are used to connote sexual activity, as the lust shared between the male characters and the objectified women.
The GPS tracking device Shaggy uses connotes control over the women. They are simply pawns in his game. He uses it to track theirs and RikRok’s whereabouts in order to warn RikRok of the trouble he is about to get into for cheating on his girlfriend.
The alcohol and playing cards featured in the video represent a hedonistic lifestyle.
This video fits the stereotype of the genre; thus involving the theme of lust or love, and clothing/props that represent wealth. This is typical of the RnB genre, which tends to focus on materialism and female-fragmentation. This video has inspired many other videos in a similar way. For example, in 2006, Sleepy Brown, Big Boi and Pharell Williams created RnB song ‘Margarita’ which features visuals similar to those featured within Shaggy’s video.
Here, this video features a wealthy location, and fragmented female bodies- similarly to those featured In Shaggy’s ‘It Wasn’t Me’ video. This is intertextuality.
Graham Allen claimed that ‘In the Postmodern epoch, theorists often claim, it is not possible any longer to speak of originality or the uniqueness of the artistic object’. This claim is representative of the RnB genre, as ever since Shaggy’s video (2000), other RnB artists are following the trend. Materialism is a clear characteristic of the genre, RnB.
Due to the video being mostly redundant to the genre, Andrew Goodwin’s theory of Synaesthesia is applicable. It is possible to ‘see the sound’, as the majority of the beats and cuts are in sync with one another, however this is not evident throughout the video- it is mainly portrayed in the chorus. When the video begins, there is Synaesthesia between the two main characters during their conversation through the security camera. After this, there are a few times where Synaesthesia is present.
This shot is shown when RikRok sings the lyrics ‘making love on the bathroom floor’. It is illustrative of this event.
Just as RikRok says the line ‘I even had her in the shower’, it features an illustrative event of him and a female having sex in a shower.
It becomes disjunctive however, toward the end of the video. RikRok’s lyrics are, ‘I wanna tell her that im sorry for the things that i’ve done…’ but his actions do not match his words, as he attempts to escape from her on a motorbike and flee the scene.
Despite the video and the lyrics clashing in meaning (sings about apologising for cheating, but attempts to leave the scene when his girlfriend arrives to discuss with him), the original connotations of the men being powerful and dominant diminish toward the end, displaying a battle between gender, and eventually, the male fleeing the scene, and the women winning the race in tracking him down. This opposes the original idea of the male being ‘in charge’ and fragmenting and objectifying women, and actually reverses to ensure that during the final few moments of the video; the woman appear to be the dominant characters. However, there is a final twist in the story, which enables the video to finish on an equilibrium (the same way it started), with RikRok (the cheat) fleeing the women and returning to the mansion that represents power, wealth, and dominance over females.
The majority of the video is redundant of the RnB genre, however towards the end of the video, there is an entropic scene where RikRok jumps from a bridge and lands on a lorry. This is disjunctive and entropic, as it contradicts the lyrics mentioned previously, and confuses the audience.
Shaggy and RikRok as artists have successfully developed a star image/persona as a result of making this video. Shaggy’s pompous behaviour was originally recognised in 1995 when he brought out the song ‘Mr Bombastic’. This enables Shaggy to become a commodity. People buy into his image, as well as his music, simply for what he stands for; thus again, in this video- promoting wealth, dominance and power. This is redundant of Shaggy as an artist. The bright colours he wears and the expensive props he features in his videos are significant to Shaggy’s work, as he is materialistic and self-focused. He is recognised for objectifying both women and money.
Shaggy- Mr Bombastic (1995)
Fragmentation of the female body. Supports Mulvey’s Male Gaze theory. Shaggy is watching her, and the audience are subjected to her exposed mid-section also.
There is an unclear narrative structure within this video, however, there are elements of Propp’s theory, regarding victims and villains. RikRok is a self-professed villain within the video, as he has cheated on his girlfriend, who is now considered to be the victim. However, as the video pans out, RikRok finds himself victimised by a group of women who switch roles and play the villain, who subsequently hunt RikRok down, and force him to flee the scene. This is a pivotal moment within the video, as it reverses the stereotypical, redundant roles that are predominantly evident in Shaggy’s music- thus meaning that the women become dominant and powerful, leaving the men to act as victims. Shaggy is likely to appear as the hero to men- as he attempts to help RikRok escape the women, but will appear as the villain to women, for the very same reason. This allows us to believe that Shaggy has more male fans than women, as he is perceived as derogatory towards women.