Mono the Messenger - Bars Bars Bars

I honestly can’t remember the specifics of when I met Mono.

I know it happened between January and March of 2018. In Melbourne. Most likely at Horse Bazaar for a Can I Kick It? event. But I can’t remember how we met, or if someone introduced us to each other.

I don’t even know if we said more than simple pleasantries to each other.

The man just appears on stage, hushes the crowd with ease and waits for the beat to begin.

That’s when you get sucked in to who Mono he is, he easily weaves in and out of streams of conscious about Melbourne, his day, his life, all whilst keeping tabs on what the people stood facing him are doing. It’s hard to keep up with him, not because he spits fast, but because how much he has to say in each line. You’re still trying to decipher what he said two bars ago, whilst playing catching up on everything he’s said since.

Over the next few weeks, Mono helped me and my friend Ariadne out on a project. We got to hang out with him a few times, just talking about him, his life, things he’s been through, and his opinions on the world around him and us. He’s a wise guy. Then he casually drops into conversation that he’s 21. He’s a guy wise beyond his years.

Mono asked me to get involved with a music video for him, it wasn’t a hard decision to make for me. Working with him? Finally making a music video for a rapper? Some more work with some Australia-based creatives? Yes, a million times over.

Shooting the video was a two-parter; using the She Bangs Café in Prahran (RIP) one evening for the group stuff with Mono’s friends to represent his close-knit community. Then a second evening in Horse Bazaar with him and some of the people he looked up to in the Melbourne Hip-Hope game - whilst they powered through some food before that week’s “Can I Kick It?”.

Editing was a breeze, I think I did it all in the first week of arriving back home in the UK between bouts of jet lag.

And then it was done.

To be honest, this project has always been one of those things that would come to mind randomly throughout the year. It’d pop up in conversation between us from time to time, Mono’s plan for release would shift and that was totally fine. The number of times I’ve pushed things back, or rearranged them, or even not dropped them because of life happening is ridiculous.

Sorry to everyone who’s helped out on something that’s been delayed.

To summarise, Mono quickly became a good friend during my time in Oz. His perspective on the world is the sort that you could just sit, ask him about something, then watch him deconstruct the issue, and rebuild it to find a solution right in front of you. I was pretty excited and humbled by the fact he wanted me to make something for him - the guy knows everyone in Melbourne, and if he doesn’t know them, he knows someone who knows them.