There is something heartwarming about witnessing a fusion between the mainstream media sphere’s clean-cut aesthetic and the pockmarked familiarity of a local embrace. With his latest video “Cruisin’ in the E,” Edmontonian rapper JoThrillz has done just that.
City snapshots and words paying hometown homage portray our Albertan capital from a local perspective. Behind a group of friends goofing off in a thrown together truck bed-lounge flashes the suburban sprawl and utilitarian high-rise developments we in YEG know all about. The embodiment of youthful jocularity, Joel calls on his listeners to grab their girl, “cut open a Mr. Freezie, bump the jams, grab (their) water gun” and let off a couple rounds while bopping along to this summer track; an upbeat Cutlery remix of the Five Stairsteps’ “O-o-h Child.”
Casting his best friends as an entourage, Joel parks his friend’s Porche as a tongue-in-cheek status symbol and grabs a seat in one of two abandoned La-Z-Boy recliners atop a “1988 Chevy BucketofBolts” (complete with orange tarp for rain protection). An embodiment of the fleeting Edmonton summer he raps about, Joel makes easygoing look easy.
However, one must not downplay the effort of this internet entrepreneur. Backed by a social media army (43K+ Twitter followers and over 2 million YouTube hits), Joel Vaillancourt’s peer-to-peer fan base thrives on the artist’s uninhibited enthusiasm and personable nature; qualities essential to the act of carving out a niche in mainstream hip-hop’s official opposition.
With sharp tongue, friendly demeanor, and unpretentious “goony” attitude, JoThrillz is well on his way to propel his Value Village aesthetic into the public eye.