Real J. Wallace Faces His Demons With ‘Monsters'

Personal demons serve to inspire local rapper Real J. Wallace on his latest release, "Monsters"

Monsters, they can take shape in any number of forms. While some are real, like drug zombies, others are imagined -- minotaurs or werewolves, for example. But as individuals sometimes scarred by past experience, particularly as it relates to childhood, there are demons for sure.

It's a familiar idea, personal hell hounds rooted in our own upbringing, and it's one that's served to inspire San Diego's Real J. Wallace on his latest release, "Monsters," an "upbeat children's lullaby" produced by DNYKAY, with a visual treatment that doubles as a mini-horror film.

Directed by Omar De Leon, Daniel Koestner and Wallace himself, the video plays out a ghoulish narrative via scenes dotted by shadow figures wearing macabre masks that look like they could've been plucked straight out of the movie "Scream."

But there's more to it than just stylistic trimmings, the props that give its "scary" life. There's also a genuine sense of cultural modernity, the moment -- now.

And it's a subtle thing, yet by having a black actress as the female lead -- two of them, in fact -- one as a child, the other an adult, the video centers a female protagonist of color who in the past might have been cast in a supporting role, a bit part on the margins.

Not here though, as she's the nerve center for the entire plot. And it suggests a certain progressiveness, conscious or otherwise, as it's an example -- in real time -- of what inclusive representation really looks like.

With visuals that capture the song's sense of exorcism, and Real J. weaving melody around warm percussive vibes, as a whole it's a sort of cathartic release, for the viewer, no doubt, but also for Wallace personally, as he navigates his inner haunted spaces and boldly comes to terms with his own insecurities.

J. Smith, aka 10-19, is a San Diego native, rap fan and San Diego Music Award-winning musician. You can follow him on Instagram at 10-19_the_numberman or on Twitter


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