words: Nicola Tagoe
‘Damn Jermaine’ is the latest video from South East London Songwriter R.AE (Rising Above Everything). With a clear 90’s feel running through her music, the new video adds fun visuals and a relatable storyline to her throwback sound. Produced by Ykkub and directed by Enitan Adepitan, R.AE’s bright orange outfit and signature bucket hat provides a stark contrast to the quintessential east London backdrop the video plays out against. It wouldn’t be a stretch to compare this aesthetic to R.A.E’s sound in the UK scene. To say this artist stands out from the crowd would be an understatement.
‘Damn Jermaine’ follows R.AE’s character from initially gushing about her love interest ‘Jermaine’, to dealing with the realisation that he isn’t everything he was cracked up to be. This was obvious to us from the start as we see him moving to the infamous ‘Elaine’ in the opening scenes. The ensuing ‘f boy anthem’ follows a theme that many girls can relate to, but navigates the topic with an entertaining light hearted charm. We see R.A.E and her girls strolling and dancing down London’s streets, decked out in their 90’s style outfits, on their way to confronting the cheat. After getting some closure they walk away from the situation; a good move because Jermaine ultimately leaves with Elaine. So what the inspiration behind the video? If you were wondering whether there was ever a real ‘Jermaine’ that did her dirty, R.A.E. says that, “Damn Jermaine is fictional, I saw similar situations like this on TV and stories friends have told me, so I decided to write about it”.
Growing up in Thamesmead South East London, she fell in love with writing after her sister introduced her to Sister Act. Inspired by the likes of Left Eye, Da Brat and MC Lyte, R.A.E’s flow is reminiscent of the era of female rappers that even while discussing real issues, made you want to get up and dance at a house party. But let’s be clear, R.A.E is not a copy and paste of those that came before her. There’s clear UK pride running through her music. She puts this front and centre in her videos, with her last video ‘Oi Son’ also featuring London’s streets as the setting.
If the traction she’s already gotten from fellow artists like Dave is anything to go by, R.A.E is definitely one to keep an eye on.