Swedish-American (by way of Liberia) rapper-singer Mapei has been bubbling up since late last year, when her eerie, leftfield pop-R&B offering “Don’t Wait” appeared on countless blogs and thrust the musician into the role of Next! Big! Thing! four years after her debut EP Cocoa Butter Diaries. Born in Rhode Island, but raised between America and Sweden, Mapei’s music draws from the tradition of both countries, as the musician blends rugged pre-meltdown Lauryn Hill rhymes and soul-inspired vocals with buoyant pop.
Three months after releasing the Don’t Wait EP, featuring remixes of the song by Brooklyn electronic producer Kingdom and Chicago MC Chance the Rapper, Mapei looks to Bob Dylan’s “Subterranean Homesick Blues” for inspiration for her new video “Change,” which doubles as a love letter to her current New York residence.
In the clip above, taken from the singer’s upcoming debut album Hey Hey, directors Philippe Grenade and Jarret Egan update the lyric video, pulling New Yorkers from all five boroughs and socioeconomic positions to hold pieces of cardboard written with lines from the song. Times Square superheroes, international DVD salesmen, carnival barkers and halal food vendors all make an appearance, with a video that’s as much a love letter to Mapei’s current New York residence as standard promotional clip. Think Edward Norton’s 25th Hour “Fuck you” speech with martial drums, inspirational lyrics and an irresistible hook.