Flashback Friday: Doomtree

jagjaguwar (1)
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Here at HIP Video Promo, we’ve been working hard to promote music videos since 2000. It’s important to us to help younger and independent artists get the recognition they deserve. It’s exciting to be on the ground floor with artists that become household names (and with over 3400 videos under our belts in 20 years, there are quite a few). Every Friday, we’ll share a “Flashback Friday” video, where we get to reflect on one of our favorite videos from a few years ago.

If we had to designate one genre of music as the most versatile and shapeshifting, that title would have to be hip-hop. Although it has roots in the Bronx, hip-hop has made its way all over the country, infecting every American city with bouncing beats and bombastic vocals. Whether you’re in the South or on the West Coast, rap music’s language is universally understood and has evolved so that every region has its own unique take on the genre. The Midwest is home to greats such as Detroit’s Eminem and Chicago’s Kanye West; this part of the country has offered so much to rap culture that the game would be entirely different without it. It would be foolish to undermine any Midwest group that comes out on the scene, and Minneapolis’s very own Doomtree is no exception to that statement.

Doomtree’s origin story reflects the DIY attitude that has made hip-hop the phenomenon that it is today. Originally planned as a production company made by high school friends P.O.S. and Cecil, the project grew into something greater as more high school acquaintances dropped by the duo’s place to hang out and drop bars to test out the beats they were making. While it all started as casual fun, the growing group saw that the work they were putting in had the “x-factor” to make it in the Minneapolis rap scene and soon started to take their recording and performing seriously by creating their own record label. In 2008, Doomtree self-released their debut album to critical acclaim, being praised mostly for exceptional enthusiasm and high energy. Three years later, Doomtree would outdo themselves with their next album No Kings and be launched into the national spotlight with the support from their single “Bangarang” making its debut on Vice. Regarded as heroes back in their hometown, Doomtree has given themselves a praised national image by laying down the essential groundwork in growing the country’s alternative hip hop scene.

Whereas most of Doomtree’s music works to create a party vibe wherever it’s played, their effort on the single “Beacon” attempts to show the darker side of the group’s artistic intentions. Shot in black-and-white and set in a steampunk-esque frame of reality, “Beacon” is a track that tries to channel hope in a hopeless world. Each member of the collective is shown in the video struggling against their grim Victorian nightmare, but their raps profess that although the times are tough, they can make it through as long as they have a light to guide them toward the end of the tunnel. “Beacon” is a huge departure from the type of energy that Doomtree showcased in their standout single “Bangarang,” but the rap conglomerate captures our hearts with this tender ode to perseverance and strength.

Doomtree may be a band that’s critically acclaimed all over the country, but it’s clear their hearts still reside in Minneapolis. Until 2014, the group held an annual concert series entitled Blowout at some of the city’s most cherished venues. In 2015, they held their first Doomtree Zoo music festival at CHS Field, which garnered extensive press coverage from all Minneapolis-St.Paul publications. Some people never outgrow their hometown, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing to Doomtree. They love the Midwest, and they’ll continue to represent it as long as they are together. To them, it’s all about spreading the joy and passion that this mighty region has to offer the world.

Written by HIP Administrative Assistant Bryan Oliveira.