Words by Rodney Carmichael
Watch: Higher Brothers, The Chinese Migos, Flex Like ‘Franklin’
Geopolitics might not be the first thing that comes to mind as you watch the NPR premiere of the new Higher Brothers video for “Franklin,” featuring Jay Park, but the global implications are real.
The crew hails from Chengdu, China and flows like Donald Glover‘s favorite Southern trappers, Migos. Unlike their American counterparts for whom conspicuous consumption fits the capitalist agenda, Higher Brothers are revolutionary by virtue of their very existence in communist China. Even their transmissions are often covert. Yet they’ve broken through the Great Firewall of China to release a debut album (Black Cab) that highlights their infatuation with American culture — from the single “711,” a homage to the convenience store chain, to “Franklin,” a song inspired by the gun-toting Grand Theft Auto 5 character of the same name.
Just like the popular game, the visual from Black Cab is virtual fantasy made for stealth flexing. Lounging on Cadillac hoods in all-black, members Masiwei, DZ Know and Psy P. look every bit the part. The video comes courtesy of 88rising, the same outfit behind Rich Chigga, who turned rappers, from Ghostface Killah to 21 Savage, into believers with his fanny-pack attack on “Dat $tick.”
If all politics are local, Higher Brothers are proof that the trap has gone worldwide.