Run The Jewels once again find themselves at the forefront of music content and culture with the world premier of the virtual reality video for their song “Crown,” available via The New York Times’ industry-leading NYT VR app (for both iOS and Android users). A standout track from RTJ’s groundbreaking sophomore album Run the Jewels 2, the “Crown” video is viewable on smartphone or any type of VR headset. In the latter environment the effect is immediate and enveloping, placing the viewer directly into the unfolding scenario surrounded on all sides by the story’s characters. Directed by Oscar-nominee Peter Martin (whose past collaborators include Alexander McQueen, Jamie Hewlett, M.I.A. & Janelle Monae, Nick Cave and more) and produced by VR pioneers Wevr, the video illuminates the poignant and powerful dual narratives of Killer Mike and El-P, bringing their verses to life across a stark, cinematic landscape. A 360-degree version of the video will also be rolled out on Facebook and YouTube‘s 360 platforms next month.
“Run The Jewels was at the top of our list to work with in VR because they tell immersive stories set to music and art. I believe their brand of hip hop will lead VR in the right direction and we’re stoked to be collaborating with them to bring VR to a larger audience,” says Anthony Batt, co-founder and executive vice president of Wevr.
This will be the first release for VRTJ, a forthcoming platform for additional VR content the duo have in the works, including an Art the Jewels virtual gallery, live performances, and more. VRTJ will have a booth at Fader Fort at this year’s SXSW on March 14 & 15, giving fans a chance to check out the video in a fully immersive environment. Additionally, in celebration of next month’s Record Store Day, Run the Jewels will be releasing customized VRTJ cardboard viewers in conjunction with label Mass Appeal Records.
The video arrives during a characteristically busy period for the duo, as studio work on the forthcoming RTJ3 has intensified, concurrent with preparations for a handful of appearances at select music festivals this summer, including their debut on the mainstage at Coachella, plus high profile slots at Hangout, Panorama, and Lovebox (UK).
Killer Mike has become a fixture on the election circuit as a very vocal advocate for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and the policy issues he’s pushed into the presidential conversation. His impassioned and articulate endorsements have yielded a slew of television appearances, from The View to Late Night With Stephen Colbert to Real Talk With Bill Maher. Meanwhile his partner in rhyme, El-P, in addition to burying himself in the studio producing RTJ3, recently announced he & longtime manager Amaechi Uzoigwe have joined forces with Monotone, Inc., one of music’s premier management companies, whose roster includes Jack White, The White Stripes, LCD Soundsystem, Danger Mouse, Vampire Weekend, Jamie Foxx, Cold War Kids, and more.
READ MORE ABOUT RUN THE JEWELS IN THE MARCH 13 ISSUE OF NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE:
Wevr creates award-winning VR experiences and are the developers of Wevr Transport™, an independent and open network for VR creators and their audiences. Wevr experiences that recently premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival include the Blu Encounter, animated by Avatar’s Academy Award™ winning animation director Andy Jones, Waves featuring Reggie Watts, Irrational Exuberance created by Ben Vance, and Hard World for Small Things starring Keith Stanfield. Wevr was founded by Neville Spiteri, Anthony Batt, and Scott Yara, and is based in Venice Beach, California. For more information, visit www.wevr.com.