Music Video Anatomy #10 – Tough Cookie (ft. Don Mills)

Missed what I’ve been doing with Music Video Anatomy? For the most recent installments, I covered WA$$UP (와썹 and Bermuda Triangle! We’re back on our bullshit this time and talking about Zico and hip hop masculinity!

You can’t actually embed the music video for the song because it’s age restricted, but go pull it up on YouTube to get what I was reacting to/responding to.

Title:  Tough Cookie (Feat. Don Mills)

Artist: Zico


The most iconic setting of Tough Cookie really is Zico in the bathtub and I think it’s what everyone thinks of if they’ve seen the video before.

However, I can’t stop thinking about how this video is set in different working class settings (a warehouse, a garage and its parking lot) and luxe-ish nightclub and barber shop settings. Fadeaway, an 1LLIONAIRE collab video with a bunch of heavy hitters in Korean hip hop that we’ll tackle later, has a similar but more polished feel when it comes to the juxtaposition of scenarios/settings.

I don’t know that Zico or the MVs director ever talked about why they chose the settings that they did, but I think it really does work for the understanding/presentation of hip hop as something simultaneously linked with Being Poor but also having success and excess.

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Music Video Anatomy #9 – Bermuda Triangle

Title:  Bermuda Triangle

Artist: Zico featuring Crush and Dean


I don’t know that I get any particular vibes from the settings used in “Bermuda Triangle”? The video opens with a wasteland shot in black and white, swings to a neon-lit alley where the trio play at being gangsters for Zico’s first verse and part of Crush’s, the second verse is set in… maybe an outdoor restaurant… Then there’s the hotel room – very luxe even before the introduction of  the money all over the bed and the hot tub surrounded by expensive alsochol bottles- and the church – because Zico’s Catholic faith is so important to him that it was actually maybe one of the first things I knew about him?

There are things about “Bermuda Triangle”’s different settings that I can… squint and see as nods to hip hop culture and other artists’ videos? Shots – like Zico in the hot tub – that give me “Godfather” energy and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was on purpose because of how hip hop artists worldwide reach for that film to signal at how hood and hardcore they are.

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