Credit: Ryan Lewis
Fact: Every guy growing up in the 1980s dreamed of dunking like Michael Jordan. And when you’re 10 years old, buying that freshest pair of Nikes was the first — and, for most, last — step to achieving this goal. In the new video for “Wings,” Seattle rapper Macklemore uses distance and perspective to examine the gap between the fantastical dreams of youth and the pervasive culture of consumerism that prizes material objects over all else.
With producer Ryan Lewis’ orchestral, crescendoing beat anchoring the track, the Zia Mohajerjasbi-directed video centers on a sneaker-obsessed boy who changes his worldview after the murder of a friend’s brother over a pair of sneakers. “Wings” juxtaposes footage of children playing basketball and bowing to the god of Nike with the rapper educating the young group on the dangers of being beholden to corporate influence. “I’m an individual, yeah, but I’m part of a movement,” Macklemore raps. “My movement told me be a consumer and I consumed it/They told me to ’Just do it’/I listened to what that swoosh said.”
The video, which was funded by Kickstarter, purposely echoes scenes from Nike’s famed Mars Blackmon campaign, lending dramatically heightened realism to the rapper’s incisive lyrics. “When I first started writing [’Wings’], I didn’t really have the right idea,” Macklemore said in a release. “Am I writing it like ’I’m so cool, I have all of these Jordans?’ Am I writing about Nike and an anti-Nike song? In reality, it’s neither one of those. It’s just about sharing a fresh perspective.”