When Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek first debuted as Reflection Eternal 10 years ago , the duo’s most well-known visual stemmed from their breakout hit “The Blast.” The video for that song found Kweli and Tek sitting on a park bench outside a housing project as they rapped in a rainstorm — the epitome of the underground hip-hop aesthetic at the time.
These days, the duo’s creative process is far different. After individually pursuing musical projects in the ensuing decade, Reflection Eternal were ready to step out of their comfort zone when they came together again for their new album Revolutions Per Minute. The pair took a novel direction on the Alex Moors-directed clip for “Midnight Hour,” a doo-wop inspired number.
“I think it’s more conceptual. It brought us out of what we normally do — you know, the real hard hip-hop [videos],” Hi-Tek told MTV News of the video, which features Estelle. “It gave us a chance to get our acting skills on, to have fun with a video as opposed to being so serious about it. … [Instead], we just had fun with the music.”
“It’s just a look, we were going for a certain vibe,” Kweli added. “Graphically artistic.”
The opening shot shows a record spinning before the camera pans up to reveal Estelle crooning the chorus into a 1950s-style microphone. Kweli and Hi-Tek are dressed sharply in conservative looks: a slim-fitting suit, tie and glasses for rapper Kweli, and a cardigan, bow tie and newsboy cap for the producer.
The video is mostly performance-based and centers on the three collaborators singing and dancing. According to Hi-Tek, the song was originally slated for Estelle’s debut album. But when it didn’t make it to the Brit singer’s Shine, the track went unused for two years until finally landing on the hip-hop duo’s Revolutions. Reuniting with Kweli for their sophomore set gave the song a new release opportunity.
“I was working on joints for her album, and I was working on my third [solo] album and we cut two records,” Tek explained. “One for my album and [one for Estelle’s], which we wanted to submit for the project, but it was too late for her album. It was sitting for two years, and I played it for Kweli, and he loved it. I didn’t really think it was a record for our album, but we made it work. And it’s a classic piece of music, so it should be heard rather than sitting in my crates.”
What do you think about Reflection Eternal’s “Midnight Hour” video? Let us know in the comments!