Over the course of their prolific career, Canadian jazz group BADBADNOTGOOD have proven they’re not adverse to far-reaching collaborations. From their Toronto music college beginnings, they’ve worked with everybody from Odd Future ringleader Tyler, The Creator to Wu-Tang Clan general Ghostface Killah, to the Doggfather himself, Snoop Dogg. For the quartet’s 2016 album IV, they recruited an eclectic cast of guests including Future Islands frontman Samuel L. Herring, Montreal producer Kaytranada and avant-garde saxophonist Colin Stetson. One of the record’s highlights, “Cashmere,” caught the attention of Flockey Ocscor, a Düsseldorf, Germany-based Congolese dancer and artist. After using the laidback instrumental track in a live performance, he reached out to the group about making a full-length video, and they immediately agreed.
The result of this unlikely pairing is a powerful five-and-a-half-minute short film directed by and starring Ocscor, which shines a spotlight on the violence and political unrest in the Democratic Republic of Congo today. His version of the song tells the story of a schoolboy romance interspersed with shots of the performer popping across a miminally decorated room, attending church, walking through the countryside and wooing a female crush. This serenity is short-lived however, as the second half of the video shifts to scenes of rebel soldiers attacking and beating civilians. “I was born and raised in Germany, but my parents escaped the civil war back then,” Ocscor explains in an email to Playboy. “That was about 30 years ago and it’s still going on.”
“It’s a very raw, emotional performance, which is totally enrapturing,” says BBNG bassist Chester Hansen. “To see the song completely change contexts when used in that way was very inspiring for us.”
While Flockey’s interpretation differs greatly from the Canadian group’s original, it’s clear that both acts share an open mind when it comes to collaborating. On the former’s Instagram, you can find clips of him stylishly dancing to rap songs including A$AP Ferg’s “Work,” Kendrick Lamar’s “FEEL.” and Playboi Carti’s “Magnolia.” These show-stopping moves have helped him win international competitions in Tokyo, London and elsewhere. “My dance is very inspired by the flows of MCs,” he says, also citing artists like James Brown and The J.B.’s, Miles Davis, and popular Congolese rumba musician Papa Wemba and his band Viva La Musica as inspirations. “We’re all fans of a huge diverse range of music and that finds its way into what we write,” explains Hansen. “So to meet and work with people that are open to experimentation and creating in a free environment is a real treat for us.”
Watch the “Cashmere” video below and get BBNG’s IV here.