On The Cusp, Longlist - Music Video

Emir Taha, Katakulli

Quba Tukali


Quba has teamed up with Emir Taha, the Brixton-based Turkish artist to direct a surreal music video for Katakulli, the lead track on his latest EP Hoppa Pt 2. In less than a year, the viral wunderkind has cemented himself as a rising force in the global music scene, starting this year with a No.1 in his homeland, and winning over the likes of Benny Blanco and D.C. rapper Wale. ‘Hoppa pt. 2’ follows the first instalment released back in 2020, which established Emir’s signature blend of SoundCloud-influenced hip hop, Turkish-folk and sultry R&B. Warding off bad vibes with his ancient Nazar bead, the video sees Emir pick up a mysterious cab ride in the heart of South London, setting off on a dreamscape journey with wholesome characters from his Native Turkey. Quba adds: “Emir wanted something dark and trippy, having written the song while disillusioned with his environment and desiring to return home (Turkey). It fit with the track and was a great starting point for me - I’m drawn to irreverent narratives about identity and belonging, and when we decided that the video should have an aspect of travel to it, the ideas just kept forming in my head. The resulting video is a descent into frantic delirium ignited by a longing for one’s native culture. Said delirium starts off confrontational until the experience becomes something warm and familiar. It’s a pleasure working with an artist like Emir - respectful of a director’s craft and creativity, with the ability to provide insightful feedback when the time is right. During the pitching/ pre-production phase, we not only built an idea we both invested in but also a mutual trust - two things that are essential to a good video and a happy working environment. We shot the whole video 30 seconds from my house in South London. Now half my neighbours think I’m Michael Bay, the other half think I’m a wild-eyed, low loader riding, roundabout circling, silver-haired cross-dressing cab driver toating public menace. Big Win.

I wasn’t the kid with the super 8. I wasn’t even the skate video guy. In the 90s/00s, I don’t think there were many working-class kids from South London who thought filmmaking was open to them – It’s hard to place yourself in the unknown. I was no exception. But I loved to read, it almost all I did. Fast forward to an architecture degree – “creative, but not destitute” my millennial-minded African diaspora reasoning – and some agent of chaos misplaces a book titled “film art” in the architecture section. The sky opened up that day. Half a decade later, I’ve directed some promos, slaved over some docs, transitioned into advertising to feed my earthly shackle and learnt a lot of things from alot of people. Also my mums started to tell people I’m a director. So basically, time to get started.