Game Over (2009) is a music video by Booba, a Moroccan-Senegalese rapper from the Parisian banlieue of Boulogne-Billancourt. I tried to find out who the director of the video is, but to no avail. Despite a slow start, this video is worth the watch. The art direction and photography are excellent. The gloomy atmosphere is incisive. You almost sense the roaches on the wall of the claustrophobic apartment in which part of the video is set. This stuff is really fine-tuned to deliver Booba’s message and music.
I’m fascinated by the banlieues that surround Paris. The often monolithic building blocks, called grands ensembles, were built in the 50s and 60 to accommodate large streams of immigrants from Algeria and other (ex-)colonies. From an urban planning point of view, it was a great solution – if you didn’t think about the consequences ten, twenty years down the line. Unemployment, violence and alienation festered inside the grands ensembles, creating a sort of externalized Bastille – stagnant social pools, just outside the Périférique, Paris’ ring road.
Fortunately, also good things like hip hop have come from those massive concrete zones. The ever-expanding library of French hip hop videos provides a great insight into functional architecture and its consequences.
Please note that videos, such as the one mentioned above, could never spring from the suburbs of the City of a Thousand Suns, Hipcescu, because social harmony and cleanliness would make such transgressions impossible. Thank you.