In Jay-Z’s monochrome seizure of a video On To The Next One, director Sam Brown splices bombastic bling-bling, a bite of the occult and a sprinkle of fine art allusion. Behold, namely, the eye-scratching centerpiece at 1:30 — a replica of Damien Hirst’s “For The Love of God” with either black paint or oil-moneys poured over it, puckering out its little diamond snout-holes.
Jay’s art appreciation is old news; the Hova/Hirst relationship is even older. In the imagery-sundae of scintillating Jaguars, champagne glasses, crucifixes and horns, the diamond skull cherry-tops as both aggressively decadent and scaaary (oo-oo-ooh!). So, while Slate was over-thinking symbols of wealth and value, bloggers of various levels of sanity were freaking out. Take VigilantCitizen‘s thorough little treatise on the “sinister symbolism” of On To The Next One, listing offenses from “Dissing Jesus” to coding with “Kabbalistic numerology” and turning Hirst’s borrowed skull into ancient Freemason-initiation-ceremony wine-blood-chugging skull-mug. All the Internet-scribbling prompted the question: “Was Jigga a Freemason?” to which director Sam Brown replied via Vibe:
One of the great things about music videos are they can be enjoyed purely visually—it doesn't need to mean anything or make any sense… There is imagery in this video that is drawn from all over the place. None of it is owned by any one culture or belief system.
The blogosphere has since smoldered down about all this. I’m not familiar with the Freemason copyright policy and I agree with Coilhouse, the darkly video is as fun as a long click-binge of uncredited Tumblr awesomeness so who cares where it all comes from because I’m digging this video to death, yey! But the creator’s wiser for focusing on swatting off occult accusations, rather than defending the randomness of the creative process and I rather only open that can of worms just a crack, before clicking play again.
LEFT: On To The Next One, Sam Brown RIGHT: Banks Violette