Director Anthony Yano Hays immediately sets the tone for the hyper-anxious, “Stop Shooting” – a djemba-thumping track whose erratic visual counterpart begins with a precautionary seizure warning. What may seem gimmicky at first, quickly becomes justified as flashes of neon and disorienting effects thrash alongside producer Mount Cyanide‘s pulsing bass and drum rhythms. It’s thunderous foundation gallops along as if to replicate a tribal war-time song and dance. A sort of restless adrenaline, that when combined with Old Man Saxon‘s spitfire rhyme scheme, evokes a sense of impending danger that lurks around the corner.
Clips of modern, real world violence are juxtaposed against silhouettes of the Silverlake based rapper, as colorful stripes and patterns dance on his face like war paint smearing from a heavy sweat. Daunting imagery that aims to further perpetuate a feeling of fear and paranoia, as if charging into battle under enemy attack. Though it’s not arrows and blow darts that Saxon is fearful of, it’s the fatal gun fire that has become so prominent and commonplace in our modern day American society. Not running through a jungle in a loin cloth, but rather escaping a crowd during a mass shooting – dodging bullets exchanged between rival gang members – or praying for your life as a crooked officer aims his firearm in your direction.
It’s a powerful statement against gun violence that Old Man Saxon divulges in three verses, but sums up easily in just three words — “Mothafucka’ Stop Shooting!”