Riz Ahmed has alter egos both on- and offscreen. In Venom, he’s playing Carlton Drake who moonlights as the symbiote supervillain, Riot. In real life, he does double duty as Riz Ahmed the actor and Riz MC the rapper.
As Riz Ahmed’s Venom premiered with lackluster early reviews, Riz MC stepped up to the plate and released a new song.
Titled Mogambo, the track is produced by Redinho, who is also a member of hip-hop trio Swet Shop Boys with rapper Heems and Riz himself. Mogambo is taken from the name of the villain in Mr. India, a 1987 Bollywood movie about a man who acquires the power of invisibility.
The song is an homage to Riz’s Pakistani heritage. It's also very political and Riz doesn’t hold anything back. “I spit my truth, and it’s brown," he cries out as he raps about the plight of brown people.
It’s brutally honest, and it comes with a brutally raw music video, courtesy of US-Pakistani director Bassam Tariq. Previously, Bassam has directed These Birds Walk (2013), a documentary about street children in Pakistan. He's also been involved in a number of activities that promote awareness on the Muslim community in America.
In a press release, Bassam talks about how the music video came about. “Our initial idea was a glamorized and intentionally composed video that challenged ideas of masculinity but after looking back at footage Riz and I shot in Pakistan, we realized that there is a raw energy that we can never recreate,” he says. “So we decided to make the footage work and embrace the pedestrian nature of it. It’s tough for my ego to put something out that feels rough around the edges but throughout the edit the footage kept telling me that we are enough to keep viewers interested. We don’t need to be flashy to have people like us. We are perfectly imperfect—shaky compositions and soft focus and all.”
Watch the music video below!