“Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love)” featuring William Hart [Video]
Hip-hop meets old soul, by Adrian Younge Presents the Delfonics
(Watch it on Vimeo.)
© 2012 Wax Poetics Records
Director: David Wong
Director of Photography: Mark Austin
Editor: Adrian Younge
Starring: William Hart, with Saudia Mills
On an initial phone call during the summer of 2011, two artists quickly struck up a friendship. A few weeks later, William Hart—the lead singer of Philly’s quintessential sweet-soul group, the Delfonics—hopped on a plane bound for Adrian Younge’s Los Angeles studio for the first of two sessions. The two would write and record relentlessly for a week, realizing Younge’s vision of a modern-day Delfonics album. One of the first tracks recorded was “Stop and Look (And You Have Found Love),” which features Hart on lead, with Saudia Mills and Om’mas Keith on backing vocals. Electricity was in the air that day.
When the song was being discussed as the first single, Hart let it be known that he had always wanted a music video, something that artists of his generation generally missed out on. “I’ve always said, if we had videos back in our time,” Hart muses, “when we had our eighteen top chartbusters, there would be no tellin’ how big the Delfonics would have been.” Selling millions of records ain’t peanuts, but you get his drift.
When Younge began to write the script, he conceived of a way to connect the different generations visually. “The Delfonics have been sampled by many hip-hop artists,” says Adrian, “from the Fugees to Wu-Tang; these guys have had a long connection with hip-hop. The director, David Wong, and I wanted to touch on that in this video. It represents a time when the underground hip-hop culture united through fashion, DJing, graffiti, rapping, dancing, and the knowledge of hip-hop itself.”
The video features William Hart as well as Saudia Mills, who sings with William on much of the upcoming full-length album (due out March 12, 2013, on Wax Poetics Records).
Making a cameo in the film as a dancer, Younge sought to capture that early ’90s era of hip-hop, and even shot in 16mm black-and-white film as a nod to the obscure PBS-aired 1992 documentary about freestyle dancers in New York, Wreckin’ Shop – Live from Brooklyn. “Dance crews like NYC’s Elite Force/Mop Tops and California’s own Soul Brothers, Scheme Team, and the Pharcyde were paramount in spreading the culture around the world,” Younge says. “That being said, this video not only pays homage to William Hart’s legacy, but also shows respect to the crews I admired as a young freestyle dancer.”
“Adrian has been able to capture the old feeling of the early ’90s,” mentions Bootie Brown of the Pharcyde. “The black-and-white increases the feeling of the clubs; it also adds that grit to the smooth ballad tones of the Delfonics. Those headphones she is wearing are not Beats by Dre…very classy. The dancing adds that much more flavor.”
To achieve the feel of the early ’90s, Younge and Wong started with the look, recruiting George Nguyen and Rudy Diedrick for wardrobe help. “Cali had a huge underground hip-hop scene in the early ’90s,” Deidrick says, “and this is how I remember the parties. Back then, we had a legendary hip-hop spot [in Los Angeles] called Unity. Not everyone was rockin’ ’Lo, because they had crews that rocked exclusive brands like Nautica, Champion, Starter, Tommy, et cetera. We would go there dressed up to see who could really outdo each other, but it was not just about fashion, it was also about the hip-hop culture.”
“This video reminds me alot of Alive TV Wreckin’ Shop,” recognizes legendary Mop Top/Elite Force Crew dancer Buddha Stretch, who was in the 1992 documentary. “The art of rocking Ralph Lauren is a lost one! This captures the golden era of hip-hop seamlessly… The entire clip is a tribute to NYC’s rich history in freestyle.”
“Old school Polo was simply the fly shit during the golden era of hip-hop,” says A-Plus of Souls of Mischief. “That’s how we did it around our way. Dress code. Young people get a lot of the flyness by looking back into times when things were different artistically, and adding their twist. That’s been going on forever. When kids check this vid out, they’ll be able to see not only the differences but also how some things are constant.”
“This particular piece of music and the video represents at least two generations of coming together for the love of music and culture,” comments DJ Rhettmatic of the Beat Junkies. “The Delfonics represents that classic soul era from the ’60s and ’70s that our older generation has grown up listening to. Adrian Younge represents the generation that grew up on the classic ’90s golden era of hip-hop, yet has the knowledge and the aesthetics of the ’60s/’70s musical era, from a young Los Angeleano point of view. This video shows and flips the meaning of ‘Old to the New.’
“It reminds me of the early days of Unity,” Rhett continues, “the premier Los Angeles hip-hop club event during the ’90s, when who’s who of hip-hop like the Wu-Tang Clan, the Beatnuts, Jeru Tha Damaja, Nas, the Boot Camp Click, just to name a few, would rock the mic, while freestyle dancers who bust crazy dance moves in a circle, up-and-coming emcees would rock in cyphers on the side, while the DJ would play the hottest songs and dopest breaks throughout the night. And Unity was the place were you had to earn your stripes and get your props. Rest in Peace, Bigga B.”
“This video and this song is sorely needed in hip-hop today!” states DJ Mark Luv of the Zulu Nation. “It shows a time of hip-hop when we didn’t take ourselves so seriously. We focused on the content of the music, our style of dress, our style of hair, and how much fun we could have in the party—whether it was busting out a fresh dance move or seeing that fly girl, this video represents that to the fullest. It reminds me of Unity in the ’90s. And being one of the original DJs at Unity, with my man Bigga B (RIP) and Orlando, there are not too many things I can say brings the essence of what Unity was about. This video hits the mark beautifully without taking away the fact that he has a legendary group that’s the star of the video. What if the ’60s met the ’90s? The question has been answered. Big up!”
“This reminds me of the days when the Soul Brothers started venturing into the original soul music to elevate our boogie skills,” says Legendary 1 of the aforementioned dance crew. “Samples were not enough; we needed the whole meal, for real, Playboy. We always listened to it all the time, but when we started to boogie to it, that bridged the gap between the late ’60s, ’70s, and ’90s, and our audience grew. The Delfonics represent the smooth hip-hoppers, the fly hip-hoppers, and the around the way girls.”
KCRW DJ Garth Trinidad comments further: “This video is historically relevant in its profound, exquisite illustration of closing generational gaps that plague jazz, blues, rock and roll, and hip-hop cultures.” Detroit producer Black Milk concludes, “Nineties visuals with ’60s soul as the soundtrack equals timeless music and Nautica jackets—dope video.”
“I compare seeing this video with me riding down the street and hearing my first record on the radio,” William Hart says thoughtfully. “It’s like I was dreaming.
“I am fascinated by the simple fact that I did a video with all of these beautiful young people and they accept me. It’s something that I’ve never had before. Knowing that I am the only one from my era that has a video is very special. It’s like a dream come true.”