By Grant Golden
January 24, 2021
Durham’s G Yamazawa has a knack for memorability. Bursting onto the scene with 2017’s viral sensation “North Cack,” Yamazawa has steadily released some of North Carolina’s most compelling hip-hop releases of the past few years. In December 2020, Yamazawa kept that streak alive with his superb new album Durham vs. Everybody, and now he’s released a visually stimulating new video for the album’s first track, “Riddle Me This.”
“Riddle Me This” is a song that succinctly showcases some of Yamazawa’s strongest suits, a beaming sense of pride, an undeniable hunger, and dazzling wordplay all at once. The track’s visual accompaniment brings that same energy, playing off of the song’s titular line as Yamazawa cuts up at Randy’s Pizza, where he once worked.
Directed by Dan Giraldo (who also collaborated with Yamazawa for videos for “Drumma Some” and “Breathe”), the video for “Riddle Me This,” bounces with the same playfulness as the track produced by KDRAMA. As Yamazawa raps about fishing at Jordan Lake, you see him casting a drumstick into the water. While out delivering pizza, he snags a slice for himself, accompanying the lines, “Man I hope this rap sh*t really pay off / Ain’t no other skills in my resume, y’all.”
Yamazawa’s videos have always served as solid pairings to his work, and “Riddle Me This” maintains that cadence. Yamazawa and Giraldo pepper in hyper-local references and comedic twists, while largely keeping true to the competitive, pull-no-punches nature of Southern hip-hop. The same way the video pays homage to parking lot sideshows with souped-up cars, Yamazawa wastes no time in ensuring that other rappers come correct.
“Get robbed get stole for your own sound / F*ck flow, wanna know what your soul ‘bout,” Yamazawa raps as the hook closes out. That closing stanza sums up Yamazawa’s ethos, because while he is undeniably one of the most lyrically impressive artists in the state, his bread and butter is when the gloves come off and the soul comes out.