Earlier this week, Pries released a video for "You Know I Know," the latest single from The Lonely Kid Show. After seeing the clip, which was filmed in front of a mural at Guerilla Garden, Jolt, who painted the piece that serves as the backdrop, took to Facebook to voice his frustration with the content of the song in contrast to the meaning of the mural.
"How many fucking rappers are going to do a video in front of my 'Social Change' community mural... fuck that I ain't co-signing that shit," wrote a clearly exasperated Jolt on Facebook. "'I want the fame and the money and the cars, you know it ain't nothing to a boss???' this is not what my mural is saying."
Pries and his crew had a brief exchange with Jolt on the morning of the video shoot, and so he was a bit taken back that there was any issue with the video. "I love artists," he says. "I'm a big artist type guy. I'm talking about the changes I'm going through, my own social change. I don't talk about what people want me to talk about."
"I believe whoever is saying these things didn't listen to the second verse, where I talk about that," he goes on. "I am a kid that lived on the streets; I lived in L.A. on the streets. Now I am trying to give light to my home. I'm a seed of social change. I love my city. I had kids at the video shoot watching. I am trying to give an example if you do it yourself -- painting, singing, whatever you want to do -- you can do it,"
The painting itself, says Jolt, who confirms that he indeed spoke with the team that morning because he knew one of the guys on the video crew, is taken from a quote from Chicano poet Cesar A. Cruz. The mural was done in collaboration with teachers working on grant-writing proposals, who received hands-on training in creating the mural.
Marijuana Deals Near You
"They took the info we gave them back to their schools in order to keep it going, producing more murals," Jolt explains. "That [video] is a total contradiction to what the art represents. Kool Keith said it a long time ago: 'Graffiti backgrounds are played out.' So we know that is played out, but usually the two cannot be connected. This video just makes a weird statement in front of that particular piece.
"It made a weird statement, and people need to be aware," he continues. "The wall is not out-shined by the rapper. It creates its own piece. I definitely believe that he is not aware of what the piece represents and possibly didn't even read it. Rappers think they have to act like this and fit into this role to be able to have success. You can pimp the system and still get your money or whatever, but you have to be aware of what you stand for and have some integrity and originality."
Pries actually seems pretty self-aware. "People see the guy in the music," he says. "They don't see the guy who worked for the rec center in Swansea for four years, mentoring kids and giving out food, playing basketball. I am never going to be one of those industry artists who doesn't give back to the community. I'm not that type of guy who does fundraisers and wants all the attention. I don't just do stuff when the camera are on. If a school asks me to do something, I'm with it, and I come to speak or whatever because I am all about the kids."
Jolt says he has no ill will for Pries and notes that he's not even the first person to shoot a video using Guerilla Garden as a backdrop. "There are always guys out there shooting videos," he says, "but this particular video bothered me because of the message being said that I felt was contradictory to the message of the mural."
"People be loving this dream of stuff they don't have," he observes. "Dreaming about cars is the stupidest thing we can spend money on. I mean, who really drinks champagne like that? Things like that are why people in our communities are stuck in the 'hood."
From the sounds of it, Pries and Jolt are ultimately on different pages of the same book. "I'd be more than welcome to help out and work with anyone," says Pries. "I have dealt with the kids and mentor them because I've been there. I would love to sit down and get with him. Me and my family do a toy drive every winter, and I'm sure there is work we can do together."
"I am happy he feels that way." says Jolt. "That's awesome, but I just believe in the message of my art and stand by that."
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.