Where U At? was produced for hip-hop artist Malaysian MC in 2005. It was distributed in Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries.
In my research for this project, I discovered that many Asian hip hop artists at the time tried to emulate the “straight from the ‘hood” style of American hip hop artists. But it felt tacked on: an affectation.
I wanted Where U At to be more true to the Malaysian experience. But we were shooting in Los Angeles, not Kuala Lumpur. Plus I had only $500 and a green screen at my disposal.
The video’s bold colors reflect local culture, drawing heavily on the colors of the Malaysian flag. The song’s refrains, translated into Malaysia’s four main languages, are used as design elements. I also embraced the digital aesthetic to appeal to the tech-savvy Malaysian audience.
The video’s ultimate purpose was to build Malaysian MC’s image of toughness and fearlessness. The video's political content, while mild by U.S. standards, could have gotten Malaysian MC jailed back home. His portrayal in the video reflects the risk he was taking in speaking truth to power.