At slightly more than two minutes long, Boulevards‘ “Got to Go” is an efficient little tune. It exudes early ’80s Motown, from its chirruping synths to its nasty, strutting bassline, and the new video follows suit. In his denim jacket, turtleneck, and white high-tops, Jamil Rashad—Boulevards himself—could be from the same era.
He struts on bleachers, he stands on the beach; he rides carnival rides and buys records: it’s slick, stylish fun, like a fashion shoot set to music. Yet shortly before the final chorus, there’s a shot of Rashad standing on a blacktop as a car drifts behind him in slow motion. Soon there are two coupes circling him, smoke rising from their tires. He’s wearing a leather jacket and a Charlotte Hornets cap and he has his arms crossed as if he does this every day—and as if daring someone else to pull off the same stunt. It’s a great song with a next-level video, and it’s a bold step forward by this fairly recent Raleigh funk act.
Then again, Rashad seems to have a flair for the ostentatious: he’s preparing both an EP and an LP for late summer or early fall release, and he’s on the lineup for this year’s Hopscotch—not bad, considering the Raleigh native has only been back in town a year.
The INDY caught up with Rashad to talk about the genesis of the “Got to Go” video.
INDY: What went through your mind when you decided you wanted to make a music video for this song?
Jamil Rashad: I was approached by one of my good friends, Lauren (Gesswein). I lived in New York for a year and a half and when I moved back we reconnected. I didn’t really have plans with doing a video with any song before I did a full-length, but she came to me with this cool idea. I said “OK, let’s do it.” She and a director named Alex Christenson, they both had this vision of me, showing my personality, and making this video that complements the song—kind of a solo performance, but showing these cool, playful aspects of me. I think we really captured that. In the beginning, they came with this vision that they believed in and I believed in it and I said, “Let’s do it. Let’s see what happens.”
It came out great, better than I would have expected. I was a little bit nervous because we took all this footage and we had to fit it into a song that’s so short. They did a really good job—those guys are good! Their vision came to life.
It was their vision, but you were the guy who had people Tokyo drift around you. Were you scared?
That was kind of sick, too—kind of right place, right time. These guys were really eager to do it. They dig the song and they were like, let’s try these different takes having these cars spin around me. It was pretty awesome. It came out the way they wanted it to come out, the way we all wanted it to come out.
But I want to know if you were scared while they were doing that, because I feel like I would be terrified.
Yeah, for the first time we did it, I was. When we kept doing it, they kept getting closer to me. They kept getting closer and closer. All I could hear was the engines and I could see smoke, so I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t really hear the music. I wasn’t really scared for my life. I think Lauren was more scared than anybody, but it came out great.
A good part of your video and a good part of your persona is your outfits. Where did your love and awareness of fashion come from?
Most likely from my father and the way he grew up and what he wore back in the day. I try to keep things classic in terms of what I wear, with the jeans and turtleneck and button down shirts. I’ve always been about not trends, when it comes to fashion, but classic things that never go out of style. A black leather jacket will always remain classic and ball caps will always remain classic. It’s things I feel comfortable with. It reflects me as a person and it’s more classic.
Like I said, it was inspired by my father when he was growing up. He’s from Philly, kind of like that whole Philly b-boy, jazz type persona with turtlenecks and jeans or slacks and white shoes. That stuff fits me really well and who I am as a person. I try not to overthink too much what I wear. I try to keep it as much me as possible.