There’s more to Daps than meets the eye. The Nigerian-born, UK raised music video director is bringing his world class expertise back home.
“No one else has done what I’ve done,” Daps said.
As the first Nigerian music video director to have worked with the likes of Director X, Rita Ora, Kendrick Lamar, 2 Chainz and most recently, Iggy Azalea – he’s absolutely right.
Daps’ story is an interesting one. From early beginnings in North West London to playing college basketball (he’s 6’8”) in America, working with music videos happened by chance, but has ended up being the most lucrative part of his career.
“I’ve always been creative,” Daps said. “In America I thought I would get a job right out of college that paid well, but that didn’t happen. Long story short, I ran out of all my savings, but then my brother was like ‘hey do you want to produce a music video for me?’”
He ended up taking the gig with no experience, but found that some things come naturally.
“He transferred money to my account and said, ‘figure it out, Google it.’”
That’s exactly what he did. Daps went from producing his first music video on a whim to accompanying his brother to Los Angeles and back to London, working on scores of other shoots. Soon, he was in the same room as Kanye.
“We did one long project for Kanye in the beginning of 2012,” he said. “We basically produced a documentary for him.”
“I was soaking it in… seeing how he works, seeing how creative he is… I was literally watching them make his next album in a hotel in London.”
The inspiration led to Daps going out on his own, deciding to try directing in addition to producing. He began writing concepts and treatments, using his own platform as a locally known rapper to showcase his filmmaking portfolio.
“I’d been making music my whole life so I decided to direct the videos for a few singles myself,” he said.
The first one, an edgy black-and-white video for his song “Ian Wright,” immediately made waves. Soon after, three more followed – including a crazy video shot entirely at the Tate Britain museum in London, accompanying his song “Trophies.”
“I did things people had never done before,” Daps said. “The response was all good.”
America’s Director X soon got in touch, after Daps’s brother asked him to write a concept for Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy”. The female rap superstar loved what he was able to come up with, and they eventually used it for her video – which has since amassed over 700 million YouTube views. It was a pretty good return for something Daps wrote on his phone in a South London pub.
Director X immediately took notice of Daps as an asset, enlisting his help with many of his concepts going forward – including Iggy Azalea’s next big budget drop, “Black Widow” ft. Rita Ora.
On that shoot Director X let Daps take the helm, directing the second camera unit entirely.
“Everyone was like… ‘uh you sure?’”
But X trusted the young up-and-comer’s vision.
“Just like that I’m directing a big scene in the video, and I got my directing credit,” Daps said.
He went from not being able to book a job in London, to one of the top music video directors in the world co-signing his talent on a big budget shoot. The rest is history.
Daps became friends with Nigeria’s famed director Sesan, after meeting him in London, and getting acquainted on the set of Dbanj’s “Mr. Endowed” with Snoop Dogg years earlier in LA. The duo have been working closely together ever since.
“Sesan was the one that put me on in Nigeria,” Daps said. “And we’ve been able to do a lot of projects together. Every time he’s on a heavy hitting project he brings me along.”
He was on set for Davido’s “The Sound” ft. Uhuru and “Fans Mi” ft. Meek Mill, Runtown’s “Lagos to Kampala” ft. Wizkid and plenty of others.
“He got my foot in the door,” Daps added. “Now we’re ready to make more noise in Nigeria.”
The musician turned director is ready to flex his muscles – and the mission is simple. His expertise is needed to catapult what’s being done here to the next level.
“Nigeria has a culture that hasn’t fully been exploited,” he said.
“We have some of the best music on the continent, we have some of the best visuals on the continent. Countries like Jamaica have exported their culture to the point that now they’re a tourist hub. A part of that is the entertainment factor, and people are drawn to it. I know we can do that too.”
“I was born here,” he added. “I just want to push the culture further.”
– Written by Chiderah Monde