SƠN TÙNG M-TP’s video is banned in his homeland
While ‘There’s No One At All’ is rough but it could save lives
In SƠN TÙNG M-TP’s latest video, ‘There’s No One at All,’ we are seeing the Vietnamese singer/songwriter/rapper riding on the back of a trash truck, wearing a Nirvana shirt, and listening to a cassette of his mother’s voice saying she will be back for her baby. As the song starts, the video goes to a memory of a baby left outside of an orphanage with a cassette tape in the basket, so we know that this is Tùng.
As the Trap snares and drums drop, Tùng starts bumping into people on the street and being a trouble-making bully and bad boy. ‘There’s No One at All’ first sounded more like a break-up Trap song, but it turns out to be the cry of someone lonely and hurt, as we see the flashback of Tùng being bullied when he was younger. Because bullies are often victims of bullying themselves, they tend to inflict pain on others in the way they have received it without processing or healing from the troubles.
Soon, he’s causing a ruckus in a sushi place and the cops are called. As he’s thrown on the front of the car, he sees his younger self. Soon, he’s at a school he hates and is punching mirrors. Tùng is then running in circles and sees his body lying on the ground after jumping off a building. In the end, [spoiler alert] Tùng has a tear run down his face as he jumps.
The final shot is a rough one. It got ‘There’s No One at All’ banned in Vietnam because the ending is definitely not a happy one. According to the Ho Chi Minh City's Department of Information and Communications, the music video sparked public uproar due to its inappropriate and violent mindset which was spreading among the youth. Like most bannings, this one backfired because kids are more eager to see it and they know how to use VPNs and watch it from other countries. In other places, it comes with a warning stating “This video may be inappropriate for some users.”
Tùng explained, "The purpose of producing this video is to convey a message: let's understand the feelings of lonely people, and the importance of loving, protecting, and opening our hearts before it is too late. Further, I want to express my compassion for unfortunate lives, hoping they know that they are not alone and there are many others just like them.”
This song is a lot like Logic’s ‘1-800-273-8255,’ which is the phone number for the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Both songs express the vulnerable dark side of life so that we can be aware, understand, and care more about people who are going through these rough times. The difference is that Logic gives the plot a twist and shows a happy and hopeful ending. Maybe if Tùng used a similar approach it would have sparked fewer complaints from the public.
It is applaudable for artists to address these difficult subjects through Hip Hop or any music or art form. Hip Hop is not always about being positive and powerful, because life is ever-changing, so people have to learn how to ride both the highs and lows. Hearing these songs could actually help those in pain, and that can actually be a lifesaver.
Check out SƠN TÙNG M-TP’s ‘There’s No One at All’ below.
[Original video taken down. Replaces with lyric video]