For years now, Ultra_eko has been establishing himself as one of the UK’s most prominent and impressive independent rappers, commanding a new-age sound that blends grime with his own visceral style and relentless creativity. Today though, he’s announced an incredibly exciting new project, one that bridges the gap between art forms and adds some inspired visuals to his years of hip-hop storytelling.
A feature film like few others, ‘Legends of the Underside’ is Ultra_eko’s first attempt to bring the vision and storytelling of hip-hop to the screen, crossing boundaries and traversing genres to create a truly mesmerising experience. A visionary and completely original musical feature, the film centres on the heroic journey of a rockhopper Penguin named Pingu, with the story being told by two visitors, Ultra_eko and DaRealMrLee, from a mysterious place called the Underside.
After an introduction to the Underside, the film sees Pingu travel to a seaside resort, Camber Sands, in an attempt to kick an unfortunate drug problem. There he meets the story’s other main protagonist, the senile and comic character, Grandad. A brawl between the two of them ensures, which results in them both falling into a wormhole, leading to an alternate reality of the Underside. The story’s nemesis is a character called the ‘Outsider Artist’, a vicious, serial killing psychopath, who uses body parts from his victims as material for his works of art. He is sent by Jehovah, his spiritual father, to the Underside to kill the false prophet, Pingu. A passionate and spiritual project that evolves from violent confrontations, the story evolves brilliantly with each character confronting one another and coming to terms with their true realities.
A work of brilliant originality, ‘Legends of the Underside’ has already been selected for this year’s Life-Off Global Network sessions and has been announced as the winner of the Rohip International Film Festival 2023. While the full feature is set for release later this year after its run on the festival circuit, you can view the official trailer below.
Speaking openly about the film, Ultra_eko said, “Being involved in writing and performing hip-hop music for the last five years, it was always my vision that the genre had so much more to offer from a storytelling and dramatic perspective. Coming from a background of writing prose in the form of novels, I really wanted to bring the grand, sweeping narrative vision of the novel to hip-hop.”
“This resulted in the writing and recording, with my creative partner, DaRealMrLee, of this work, ‘Legends of the Underside’. I felt though, that it really needed a visual accompaniment to do the story justice and to really capture the imagination of the audience. And so, I set about putting together the feature I now present and trying to bring this musical and narrative vision to the screen. I’m very passionate about this piece, and I’ve given it my all in bringing it to fruition. I love the way the story itself follows the classic hero’s journey arc. And I’m particularly passionate about the final piece; Pingu the Creator, which I feel contains some of the best writing and most spiritual ideas of the whole piece.”
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