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Will Hagle doesn’t care about your Pokémon Go progress.
In the “Fortnite” video, 03 Greedo isn’t wearing purple and talking about his neighborhood. He’s wearing a “USA” jacket and talking about the most popular video game in the world. With the video’s numbers climbing steadily, Greedo may obtain even wider appeal from “Fortnite” than through his appearances in the many publications he mentions throughout the song. Perhaps that’ll be due to the hundreds of thousands of twelve-year-olds who, like me, discover the song by reaching a new personal online low and searching an aimless “Fortnite” into YouTube’s search bar. Perhaps it’ll be because it’s just a really good song, or, of course, most likely it’ll be both.
In 20 or so years, Fortnite may seem like a distant memory to Greedo, a relic of a time when, at the height of his success, he had to go away. But right now, a little joy of life like playing a PS4 game with your daughter has to feel like the most important thing in the world.
Or maybe not. I don’t want to project my own psychology onto Greedo and his incarceration. The truth is that today is Day 4 of challenging myself to give up Fortnite for a single week. If you want to know how deep I went, let’s just say I feel responsible for the World Health Organization’s recent classification of gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. In these past four days I’ve learned many valuable lessons, like listening to music all day is preferable to pattering footsteps and distant gunshots. Detoxing is painful, but 03 Greedo’s “Fortnite” is the best methadone.
The video could be better, and maybe more referential to Fortnite. The pasted weapons bar in the corner and 03 Greedo’s sulking around with his own real-life weapon he discovers after dropping down onto the (could-be-construed-to-be-metaphorical) map is, however, just enough commitment to the song’s theme. From an aesthetic standpoint, it feels kind of as if the video director wanted 03 Greedo to look and act more like Schoolboy Q and himself. It’s flashier and designed for broader appeal than Greedo’s other videos, but if it succeeds and attracts more ears to his music, then it’s worth it.
Greedo’s already stated that he has plenty of songs and videos piled up somewhere, slated to be released while he’s unable to record new material. He’s hinted at projects to come, but hasn’t really revealed when they’ll arrive or what they’ll look and sound like. The “Fortnite” video is a surprising early gem in this alleged bevy of content. What could have been a throwaway song about a niche subject has resonated. The song, tragically unlike its creator, is currently in the right place at the right time.
Even though Greedo is popular to many people, it seems impossible that the relative success of his relatively short career will maintain enough momentum to outlast his outlandishly long sentence. It’s concerning but inevitable that the media will lose interest in him once his story is no longer captivating and fresh. Someday the music will dry up, too. And he will just be in prison. Or at least that’s the fear.
Part of what’s drawn so many people to Greedo’s story is the fact that he dismissed this obvious negative thought path and remained so resilient in the weeks leading up to the date he had to turn himself in. He was making money, playing shows, recording, and having fun. He lived his career to the fullest, well-aware it had been issued a proverbial death sentence. His appreciative attitude was contagious, and he karmically found himself on the receiving end of an outpouring of love and support.
The lyrics of “Fortnite,” which reference the likes of the LA Times, Pitchfork, XXL, and The Fader, demonstrate that Greedo feels thankful for, but conflicted about, the journalistic coverage of his music and his case. The media was at least somewhat accountable for his rise and initial public perception, and will remain accountable for at least a portion of his continued relevance. If they don’t talk about him, again goes the fear, he may fade away.
With “Fornite,” Greedo appears to remain resilient despite the worst odds. Everyone will have to cover this video and talk about it, because it’s too good not to. That should at least propel Greedo along a little further, and we’ll see what happens next. To put it in Fortnite terms and paraphrase Chance The Rapper, though, there should be thousands of people who would pay a million V-bucks for an 03 Greedo skin. Hopefully everyone, including those who, like me as of four days ago, don’t play a child’s video game and/or have no idea what any of this means, will watch the “Fornite” video and understand that they would, if they had an Epic Games account, do the same.