Fifteen years ago, a Chicago emcee rapped, famously, about having his whole city behind him. Darien Pasulka of hip-hop crew Da$Htone knows exactly what that means. In the endearing music video for “Someday”, his latest single, he’s backed up by people all over Chicago – one at a time, in every single neighborhood on the map. Da$Htone took to the streets of the city with an iPhone, a gimbal Steadicam, and a small Bluetooth speaker, and charmed strangers into lip-synching lines from the song. He’s strung the clips together, line by line and beat by beat, and the result is both a tribute to the enduring power of Midwestern hip-hop, and the many people who are inspired by it.
It’s not too hard to see why Da$Htone was able to convince so many of his fellow Chicagoans to rap along with “Someday.” Everything about the track is immediately appealing, and that includes its live drums, its explosive singalong chorus, its relentlessly positive lyrics, and Da$Htone’s energized performance. The rapper has enlisted the help of some talented friends, including the Madison, Wisconsin neo-soul singer and poet Alma Cook, who handles the sung bridge with characteristic grace, and Illinois funk guitarist Ethan Butler, whose six-string always manages to bring the party (though he’s also known for his vocals, having been a contestant on The Voice). The chemistry between the three principals is palpable, and their commitment to raising spirits is absolute. There’s a long tradition of uplifting rap music in Chicago – it’s long been the home of socially conscious vocalists of all kinds – and Da$Htone and their collaborators are delighted to carry on that tradition.
They’re also outstanding ambassadors for the Windy City. The clip for “Someday”, which Pasulka directed himself, includes a small map of Chicago in the lower right corner; as Da$Htone visits different neighborhoods, red pins drop to let out-of-towners know exactly where they’ve gone. The filmmakers cover the city from O’Hare in the West to the shores of Lake Michigan, and make plenty of stops in between. Some of the areas, like Bronzeville and the West Loop, are nationally recognized ones, but the smaller neighborhoods get an opportunity to shine, too. While the country is [splitting at the seams], the “Someday” video sets the bar for unity, as Chicagoans of all races, ages, and socioeconomic classes, come together to express and celebrate a unified message of love, growth, and prosperity. Always a much-needed message, “Someday” feels even more pertinent right now. Everything in the video looks beautiful, including the outdoor tents in Pilsen, the tall buildings of Streeterville, the fountains and shops of Lincoln Square, and the many Chicago people who are excited to participate in a communal project. It’s a city united under a groove – and a gorgeous spring sun, too.