WATCH: Is This the Funniest Video of the Shanghai Lockdown?

By Ned Kelly, May 11, 2022

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Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Orville Maciel has been teaching Social Studies and Drama at a Shanghai high school for a little over four years.

He's also a rapper and songwriter known as Swankie the Villain, and he might just have put together the funniest Shanghai lockdown video, with his take on Biz Markie's 'Just a Friend'.

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We caught up with him to find out how it all came about...

When did you first start making videos?
I very recently started making videos on WeChat. I’ve been more active on more foreign social media sites like Instagram and YouTube.

How did you first conceive the idea of this lockdown video?
I am a rapper and songwriter known as Swankie the Villain, so I’m frequently writing and recording songs for my own projects (available on NetEase, Spotify, AppleMusic).

Sometimes, I like to just freestyle random jingles and songs around the house, and somehow the hook for this song kept replaying in my head. So, I said to myself, “Self, you better write this one down, it could be something.”

How did you pick the song?
The hook to Biz Markie’s 'Just a Friend' was the tune I kept singing this song in and, being a rapper and huge 90s hip hop fan, it seemed like the perfect blend.

Your singing is better than Biz Markie – do you feel bad showing the big man up like that?
Oh man… first of all, rest in peace to the amazing Biz Markie. Every knee shall bend, every tongue shall confess, he is an absolute legend in hip hop and in no way would I ever want to show him up.

In fact, I want to thank him for being the inspiration for my song and hope it pushes his legacy further.

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Did you write the lyrics yourself?
Yes. Poetry and songwriting are a huge passion of mine, and I take pride in writing all of my own songs.

I would also like to give a special shoutout to the background vocalists – Matthew Tolliver, Greg Zaitz and Tegan Fox – who can be heard on the hook.

Who is the cast of the video?
The cast includes all my wonderful friends who are also currently in lockdown. In speaking with most of them, I could tell that this lockdown was becoming emotionally and mentally draining.

So, I thought getting them involved in this video could help them take a break from reality and they could be a part of something that could not only put a smile on their faces, but others watching as well.

Comedy and music have always been my way of trying to brighten someone’s day.

How long did the whole thing take to make?
With collecting everyone’s collaborative videos and editing the final product, it became a fun weekend job for me.

Any more lockdown videos lined up?
Although not lockdown related, I do have a few fun, comedic and music related videos to share. As I like to say: “We only have one life to live, so let’s make it a fun one.”


Follow Swankie the Villain on WeChat to catch all his latest releases…

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[All images and video courtesy of Swankie the Villain]

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