Brussels-born, Montreal-based producer Apashe touched down in Russia for a tour in 2018, and it eventually inspired a new song.
“I land at the airport,” he tells Billboard, “take a picture and ask my friend for some help with the caption. I ask how do you say ‘I am back mofo’ in Russian? He translated ‘mofo’ by ‘Uebok,’ and everyone thought it was funny I used that word. [Now], people call me that and make memes.”
He’s been fascinated with Russian culture ever since, and tapped into that influence by sampling famous eastern folk melody “Birch Tree” (some fans may recgonize it from Tchaikovsky’s 4th symphony). He called the song “Uebok (Gotta Run),” and today (Jan. 17), it gets an eye-popping music video that sees Apashe and a fearless friend roam around the country, lighting cigarettes with hand torches, hugging bears, and generally looking mean AF.
As for the song itself, the “Birch Tree” sample stomps over an evil trap beat before switching into a rowdy rave back half. Get a couple vodka shots in this crew, and it’s time to party. Apashe had the production finished, but knew he needed a dope local feature to seal the style.
“I was with [photographer] Adrian Villagomez, and we thought it could be cool to do a music video for it in Russia,” he says. “I asked everyone on socials if they knew any Russian girl who raps. Some friend suggested me Instasamka, who is highly controversial, fearless and wild. I loved her flow.”
Apashe sent her a DM, and she replied right away with the spitfire hook you hear on the tune. Her saucy stare and dead-pan attitude are perfect mood setters for this slam dunk, and the cinematic style Villagomez gave the clip makes “Uebok (Gotta Run)” a movie.
“[Instasamka] booked a flight and joined us in Nizhny Novgorod for AFP,” Apashe says. “Once landed, we both posted in our stories ‘come join us’ at a specific location tomorrow by noon. About a hundred people showed up in the rain and the music video shooting started. The day after we performed the unfinished song main stage at AFP. The crazy part is, it all happened in less than a week — and that was only the beginning of our trip to Russia…the rest can be seen in the video.”
It’s not every day a music video this wicked comes along. Apashe has more where this came from, sonically speaking. His album Renaissance is set for release winter of 2020.
Watch the official video for Apashe and Instasamka’s “Uebok (Gotta Run)” below.