“We originally reached out to Steven Spielberg about tying the video in with Ready Player One’s release, but after we got no reply, we decided to hit WIRED magazine up for a debut. Today, the home-coded video-game-video from Jean Grae & Quelle Chris is out.” –Michael Tolle, the head of Mello Music Group
Quelle Chris designed and animated the video himself, a loving and painstaking recreation of the sonic and visual aesthetic of early 1990s video games. “Zero” follows Jean’s assassin character Zero as she tracks down an evil CEO known as Mad Red, leaving a bloody path of destruction in her wake. Supporting characters include Lt. Quelle of the Detroit Revolt Sector; Littles, a filthy-mouthed getaway driver (who happens to be a cat); and Michael Tolle, the head of Mello Music Group, as a heroic liquor store owner. The game is soundtracked by take-no-prisoners lyrics over a thumping Quelle beat, intercut by 8-bit recreations of the melodies from the track as well.
“I wanted watchers to have a ‘phantom joystick’ moment. I watched hours and hours and hours of game playthroughs and speedruns to get the authenticity and pace of the video just right. Jean has always had her assassin story running through all of her albums so I decided to go with that as a base and squeeze in as many references to my favorite type of games as I could…I plan on having at least three fully playable levels done by the end of 2018.”
“Zero” is the third song to be released from ‘Everything’s Fine,’ the first full-length collaborative album for longtime creative partners Jean Grae and Quelle Chris. Featuring special guests like Michael Che, Nick Offerman, John Hodgman, Anna Wise, Hannibal Buress and more, ‘Everything’s Fine’ (which is available to pre-order via iTunes | Bandcamp | CD | Vinyl | Spotify) is a deft work of satire and abstractionism that interrogates our society’s 21st century ennui.