Last Night in Paris

Street smarts and high art collide with the undercover London art collective

Taken from the winter 2014 issue of Dazed:

Globally minded hip hop collective Last Night in Paris are yet to do a hometown show in London or appoint a PR or radio plugger, but their influence is already stretching far and wide. The group’s early track “Paris Army” met with acclaim from US tastemakers like Dazed 100 member Virgil Abloh on the back of its braggadocious verses, and Watford-based Danny Seth, a one-time resident of LA, counts Pharrell and Tyga among his devotees. His recent feature alongside A$AP Ferg on G-Eazy’s “Lotta That” has clocked up four million Soundcloud plays – no mean feat for a rapper that’s relatively unknown on British soil.

“You might not have heard of us, but that’s how we want it to be,” explains Jordon Wi-Fi, co-founder and videographer with the group, which numbers around a dozen or so members. “We’ve been putting in the work, setting it all up so the right people know what it is. We’re ready now.” The work in question encompasses the sort of genre-spanning R&B, hip hop and sample-led productions you’d expect to hear coming out of major labels in the US. But it’s the collective’s DIY approach and eye for fusing high art with street smarts that marks them out as unique. 

“We’re coming to a new generation of rap, where everything’s been said, so there’s no one we can really look at now,” says fellow co-founder Taurean Roye, graphic artist and rapper with the collective. “We’re more likely to fuck with people who push genres to their boundaries – FKA twigs, MNEK, even Sam Smith…”

The crew get wavier than ever on Pure, a trippy and disquietingly beautiful short film directed by Karim Huu Do, above. In a distinctly British twist on ratchet, the crew’s house party turns into a supernatural nightmare that makes Lars von Trier look like Pollyanna. “The guys from LNIP and I wanted to create something different, a sort of surreal narrative anchored in the real world,” explains Huu Do from his studio in Tokyo.

“You might not have heard of us, but that’s how we want it to be. We’ve been putting in the work, setting it all up so the right people know what it is. We’re ready now” – Jordon Wi-fi

“I discovered the band last year through their first EP, Roses, and was immediately hooked. I saw their visuals and thought we had a lot in common, so I emailed them and five minutes later we were Skyping about working on a project together.”

Adding to the claustrophobia are crew producer Poter Elvinger’s looming spliced beats, which play out as the members get infected by a mysterious substance they call “black poison” – a creepy, treacle-like ooze also seen in LNIP’s early videos. Here, it grotesquely spews from their eye sockets. “Throughout our history we’ve had things that correlate, and that black liquid we call our poison is an example of that,” says Roye. “Every project gives you a bit of a story, music and creativity – you’re getting pieces of a jigsaw and one day it will all make sense, black poison included.” In other words? Shut up, watch it, and see for yourself. If you dare.

Pure EP is out on December 22

Hair Sharmaine Cox at The Book Agency using Bumble and bumble; make-up Danielle Kahlani at The Book Agency using Kiehl’s; photographic assistant Sofie Gynning; styling assistant Samuel Graham