In January this year, Baauer announced his debut album Aa with a live performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Rapper Leikeli47, looking masked and militant, takes the mic while the song’s synthesized horns and ratatat snares blare over the system. Baauer himself, however, sits on a couch on the side, playing the song off his laptop. “I don’t wanna put up some setup where it looks like I’m performing it live, because I’ve never performed it live,” explains Baauer, the alias of 26-year-old Harry Rodriguez, over the phone from New York City.
Rodriguez’s career took off following the unlikely viral success of his single “Harlem Shake” back in 2012. Since then he’s been travelling the world with his laptop, recording sounds, meeting collaborators like M.I.A., Future, and Korean rap star G-Dragon, collecting the material that would eventually make up Aa. The album’s artwork depicts Rodriguez’s journey from would-be novelty hitmaker to the artist he is today: a tree grows from an upturned motorcycle helmet (a helmet that resembles the one that appeared in the original “Harlem Shake” meme) as digital artefacts spring out of it.
Baauer is the focus of Dazed’s new documentary, which follows him around a wintry New York City, behind the scenes of his Colbert performance, and into a studio session fuelled by psychedelics.
Director: John Merizalde
Producer: Kevin Staake
DoP: Kristian Zuniga
Edited by Andrew Litten
Client: Dazed & Confused