About Alonzo and “Money Sex and Guns”

A true master can make a groove out of anything. Electronic beats, junkyard percussion, crazy samples — you name it, and a real artist will get it to shake. “Money Sex And Guns,” the latest single from the outrageously funky Los Angeles singer-songwriter Alonzo, is minimalist in the best way: often, there’s nothing but a shuddering beat, a distant synth, and the vocalist’s salacious delivery. For much of the first verse, Alonzo sings over nothing but an electronic blip. It’s still as magnetizing as anything you’ll hear in 2021. Then the drums come in, and the rhythm tugs like an irresistible current. By the time “Money Sex And Guns” reaches its taunting chorus, Alonzo is fully in charge. His focus is absolute, his confidence is unmistakable, and whether he’s rapping or singing, he makes an indelible impression.

The new track builds on the aesthetic success of “Feenin,” another solo single, which was released to acclaim several years ago. That production was lush, dreamy, maybe a little artfully zonked; Alonzo sounded lovelorn and distressed and crooned from a place of great romantic longing. “Money Sex And Guns” emphasizes the other side of his personality — it’s swaggering, determined, and just aggressive enough to generate a sense of looming danger. The tone fits the subject matter. “Money Sex And Guns” is a song about an affair, and as danceable as it is, it’s also an unsparing piece of storytelling. He sings about FaceTime encounters, lonely nights, and meetings too hasty to permit a change of sheets on the bed. It’s the psychological cost of secret liaisons that he’s entertaining us with, even as the beats are compelling us to move.

About the video

For the “Money Sex And Guns” clip, he turns to another narrative of destabilization: the modern horror film Get Out, a stylish, award-winning nightmare. Alonzo and fellow director Kenny Williams re-create one of the most striking scenes in the movie — the visit to the “sunken place” of hypnotic suggestion. Williams’s camera casts Alonzo into the dark netherworld (there’s even a tea-stirring interlude to make the connection between the video and the film that inspired it clearer), and when he emerges, the patterns of tears on his cheeks match those in the iconic shot of Daniel Kaluuya’s face. More than just a tribute to a movie that’s meaningful to millions of filmgoers, this video is also an apt metaphor for the mental state of Alonzo’s narrator, compelled by a relationship spiraling into obsession.