The Five Best DFW Hip-Hop Videos of 2013 (So Far)
As we approach the halfway mark of 2013, it's time to recap the five most interesting local hip-hop music videos released so far. There were plenty of releases to choose from, so to keep things diplomatic, I kept it to one per artist. Although lyrical content and beat played a part in the decision, the deciding factor was the visuals. Those chosen each rep Dallas in their own way. Some videos use the city as milieu, for others it plays a character. Most of all, the city's skyline remains in the background, with the artist's talent front and center.
Song: "Can't You See?"
Director: OG of Luxury Mindz
Slim Gravy and Paris chill in the middle of nowhere with DJ Sober before the duo ride aimlessly through the deserted environment. The video embodies the darker, more personal tone of the song by taking the duo out of the glare of the city's lights, and placing them out of their element, exposed and vulnerable. The minimal setting brings out the best from the duo, especially Paris, who seems to be growing into his role as an "anti-social socialite."
Artist: Bobby Sessions (Brain Gang)
Director: Jeff Adair
Bobby Sessions' debut video, the title track from last winter's EP, begins with Sessions seated in his throne as he weaves a story filled with violence and lost innocence. Adair's style seems to take cues from The Tree of Life, jumping back and forth between time and place, but always returning to Sessions, as his eyes burn into the camera, daring you to question the source of the songs title.
Director: Simon Phoenix of 13th Village
In this video, director Simon Phoenix brings us into the brain of Team From Nowhere member, KoolQuise. We follow the young MC as he walks through Deep Ellum, grabs a slice from Serious Pizza and kicks it playing Marvel VS. Capcom on his way to finding inspiration. His room decorated with The Fader, XXL and THRWD Magazines; you can tell that even when KoolQuise isn't on stage with -topic and the rest of TFN (clips of which are inter-spliced with moments of him relaxing in his apartment), he's studying the history of hip-hop, carving out a niche based on substances and individuality, much like another MC he has framed on his wall, Danny Brown.
Artist: Brain Gang
Song: "What Ya Know?"
Director: Jeremy Biggers
In front of a solid white background, Biggers swings the camera from member to member, introducing you to Dallas' wildest bunch of genius punks, Brain Gang. The video deftly captures each member's individual swag, while displaying the common threads which unite them under their collective. Known for clean yet stark branding with his Stem & Thorn clothing line, Biggers steps back just enough, relinquishing control to the group to define themselves in front of the lens.
Artist: Dustin Cavazos
Song: "1000 Words"
Director: Dustin Cavazos
Compiled, directed and edited by Cavazos, the songwriter paints a beautiful portrait of the Oak Cliff neighborhood he calls home. Told through a collage of photographs, there are subtle nods to the small businesses that make the neighborhood unique. Lucky Dog Books, Studio 410, Norma's, Home Run Pizza and Taquería El Si Hay. At :50, look for a guest appearance by Cavazos homeboy and standout local DJ Internet TrapGod.