You may know Brooklyn rapper and singer SAINt JHN from his full-throated look alongside Blue Ivy Carter (and, oh yeah, her mom) on “Brown Pores and skin Lady” from this 12 months’s The Lion King: The Reward film companion album. However a number of months later, he was the one providing a music legend a spot on a music. It is the rationale he named his second assortment of music Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs: He counts Lenny Kravitz as an enormous inspiration.
That is what makes “Borders,” the duo’s silken R&B team-up, so momentous. It finds Ghetto Lenny buying and selling croons along with his idol, culminating in a volcanic guitar solo from the elder Lenny. The pair shot its accompanying steamy, black-and-white, extraordinarily hanging video in Paris, the identical metropolis the place they met and laid down the music. However SAINt JHN joked that his contributions to the clip had been principally appearance-based. “I used to be only a model,” advised Adut Akech Bior for MTV Information. “They simply used me for my abs.”
In an age of multi-part blockbuster visuals hyped and coordinated and filmed on as grand a scale as that of movement footage, “Borders” is intimate and lean, permitting its two results in take middle stage when the body is not occupied by gorgeously lit our bodies. The entire enterprise looks like a tête-à-tête between you and no matter comfortable scene lies on the opposite facet of director Mathieu Cesar’s lens. SAINt JHN praised the “uncooked” intentionality of Cesar’s imaginative and prescient.
“I like when there is no excuse for when one thing’s lovely or when it isn’t lovely and it is flawed,” he mentioned. “There’s nothing else within the image and you need to be actually centered on no matter that is in entrance of you. It was quite a lot of that. You may see it — it is me and Lenny. If it ain’t attractive, I do not know what it’s.”
SAINt JHN mentioned he did not develop up round different artists, so he had to determine his personal creativity by himself. However working with an inspiration like Lenny — “the one black man in music being attractive and being aggressive all on the identical time,” he mentioned — helped him see different strategies of working. The actual Lenny taught him that “it is cool to have be particular and have an eye fixed and a spotlight for element.”
That form of specificity runs by means of Ghetto Lenny’s Love Songs, whether or not self-taught or not, because the sonic emotionality bounds from the booming lure beats of the Meek Mill collaboration “Something Can Occur” and “Who Do You Blame” to the tender A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie team-up “Monica Lewinsky” and, in fact, the pin-drop quiet intimacy of “Borders.”
One facet Kravitz was particular as hell about is that wispy guitar solo on the finish of the music — particularly the way in which it performs out within the video, with Kravitz wailing by means of his trademark Flying V as SAINt JHN pantomimes on air guitar. There’s a viral tweet making the rounds now that posits the 55-year-old musician’s fame in 2019 is generally sustained by memes, and that now, extra folks find out about that scarf than, say, “Are You Gonna Go My Means.” What’s cool about “Borders” is that it is a correct reminder of Kravitz’s immense potential, proper as he makes use of it to spotlight the likewise lustrous abilities of a descendant like SAINt JHN.
“Think about your hero faucets you on the shoulder and passes you the baton to maintain working,” SAINt JHN mentioned. “That is what it felt like.” Watch that dynamic on full show within the evocative “Borders” video above.