Bad Intentions, No Kissing, Bad & Boujee, Double Tap, and Ian Wright–– what do these music videos have in common? They were all conceptualized by young Nigerian video director, Daps. Dapo Fagbenle aka Daps is a Nigerian-born, U.K. raised director, influencing the culture through his videos. While still under the radar, he’s directed some of your favorite music videos–both American and African. We caught up with him after his work on an upcoming video for the Migos to ask a few questions about his work.
How did you get into directing?
I started producing for my brother’s media company, producing for other directors, getting techniques and knowledge on the job, how to adjust and how to adapt. I was always creative when I was young, designing sneakers, made beats, made my own songs. Then I decided to direct my own music videos for myself, produced, funded, and directed by myself.
He’s referring to his “Ian Wright” video, which he deems to be his most underappreciated video. With “Ian Wright” Daps delivered simple, yet visually pleasing images, not to mention the song is dope too. Daps initially expected the project to garner millions of views but was disappointed when it didn’t blow up. However, that didn’t stop him from pursuing his dreams–he eventually got an opportunity to shadow renowned music video director, Director X and he’s been on the rise ever since.
How did you meet Director X?
I wrote the concept for Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”, and it was slated to be directed by X. At the time I was still in rap mode and wanted to see if I could talk X to get me through to OVO to put me on. That didn’t work but he said he liked my work as far as the videos go so I started working with him. I went on to write concepts for Wiz Khalifa, Jenifer Hudson, TI, amongst others.
How did you come up with the concept for the Ian Wright video?
Basically here’s how it happened, in 2012 I produced a documentary for Kanye West, so I was with him every day for 2 months in London, Italy, and Paris. While I was there I met Fabian Montique and he wrote the treatment for Ian Wright and I took some of his elements and merged his artistic ideas with my street ideas.
Who was the most surprising person that has asked you to do a video for them?
Well, the clients don’t even talk to the directors directly, it’s the managers that speak to my agent and my agent speaks to me. No one hits my phone directly, they go through certain channels, a video has different treatments and the client picks the best one. The only person that has hit my phone directly was Ian Wright himself.
How does the process work?
Some clients know what they want, some don’t. Some will say here’s the song, here’s the budget, we have no idea what we want to do, what are your ideas? Some people know what they want and don’t want and I bring in my ideas based on that.
What is your favorite music video that you’ve worked on?
TI and Iggy in Brazil, shooting “No Mediocre”. Director X did that but that was my first time shadowing him and being hands on. But honestly, the Ian Wright video is still my favorite outcome.
Is working with African artists any different than American artists?
Depends on what level artist and their label/management structure. But in general, the African artists are more free flowing and entrust you more with their project.
What other genres of music videos do you work on?
I’ve done videos with Jordin Sparks, BMW, and Nike, so until recently, most of my videos aren’t really hip-hop. Other than Kendrick Lamar and Migos I haven’t worked with many rappers. The main scene in King Kunta where the car was bouncing sideways – I shot that scene. (King Kunta)
What do you think is your most well-received video?
Maybe Migos – “Bad & Boujee” but when you see the new video coming out…woooot.
Any advice for any up and coming directors or creatives?
Of course, come up with original ideas and be eye catching. People never tell u how much luck played a part in their success. Everyone always says they work hard and they never give up, but what they don’t tell you Is that sometimes they were just at the right place at the right time just by chance, and its best to be pre-prepared. Have content, know how to network, shake hands, and have work ready, just in case you’re in the right place. Don’t be afraid to shadow someone, work for free, or intern.
This interview was conducted by Adam Smarte and Ayo O for Onetribemag.