Home News Music 15 Hip-Hop Videos Using Action Figures by Dallas Penn
15 Hip-Hop Videos Using Action Figures by Dallas Penn

15 Hip-Hop Videos Using Action Figures by Dallas Penn


DOOM Dallas Penn

Ever since the Soulsonic Force album cover depicting Bambaataa and crew jumping off the page as if they were comicbook characters I’ve associated hip-hop’s heroes in the same universe as comicbook heroes. Posse tracks would make me think of super teams like the Avengers, or the X-Men, maybe even occasionally the Defenders or the Inhumans. Okay, okay, never the Inhumans.

Even hip-hop musicians take some of their influences from comicbooks. We all know the production team which calls themselves the Justus League, and of course Method Man nicknamed himself Ghost Rider (Writer?) and Ghostface Killah is Toney Stark(s). With the hip-hop universe being so completely inspired by the heroes of our youth I made the connection to creating my fanboy videos to songs I enjoyed using action figures from my personal collection.


The first fanboy action figure video I placed on Youtube in 2007 was to Ghostface’s verse on “Daytona 500.” It is one of my favorite Wu bangers because Raekwon, Cappadonna and Ghost all go in, but Ghost’s lyrics are particularly dense with polysyllabic words and his typical esoteric flair. YouTube summarily disabled the video and placed a strike on my account for using copywritten work. Later that year I used the still images of my various Iron Man figures to front another Ghostface song from off the Ironman album, “Kunta Fly Shit.” YouTube has yet to disable this video.


A year later I gave an action figure treatment to another Ironman track, “Black Jesus.”
This time I posed the figures more dramatically and the view count went upwards. I was geeked that more than 100 people would watch the artistically lo-fi video. What I have come to learn is that the Internet is helping people to see music as soon as they hear it. My first forays into YouTubing were also fanmade music videos. This was the perfect platform to make expressions of the music you love.

I didn’t take out my action figures again until 2009 when I brought out my Dr. Doom Marvel Icons 12″ series.


I took Dr. Doom through Brooklyn and Manhattan because I was listening to the DOOM album Born Like This non-stop. This album had the meanest Raekwon song over the E.S.G. track “U.F.O.” DOOM kills every track on this album. That is a rare feat for rappers of any era. The album got me hype enough to lie down in the middle of Fifth Avenue midtown traffic just to tape this video.


This video clip is from Sean Price’s mixtape prelude to Mic Tyson that was titled “Kimbo Price.” One of the joints on there was titled “Mega-Sean.” That’s an homage to an old friend of Sean Price and mine. The shots I made were out of focus because my camerawork is crazy more often than not. Peep the Brooklyn landmarks in the background tho’. Hail Meg!


Roc Marciano’s album Marcberg was the best rap album I have heard since 50 Cent in 2003. This track right here is the “Snow” remix featuring Sean Price. I shot this video at the beginning of the blizzard that shut shit down at the end of 2010. Good thing for me I brought my Skywarp from the Transformers animated series with me as I went to Target in Harlem to cop blizzard provisions.


Still on my Sean Price flex I put the Blitzwing figure to this untitled joint produced by Black Milk. Also, I have been using a new camera for the recent video clips. Yeah, I’m still slightly out of focus but the people whom I need to see me can hear Sean P. Along with Roc Marciano this dude Sean Price is killing shit right now.

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I had posted a fanboy video for a Meyhem Lauren track titled “Ray Lewis” using archival footage of the Baltimore Raven’s linebacker. Ray Lewis might actually be a superhero in real life. He’s the NFL’s version of Luke Cage. This song is where I get introduced to AG da Coroner who rhymes as hard as Meyhem Lauren does. I feel like tackling someone after listening to this song.


My next action figure video was for Ghostface Killah’s “Starkology” off his Apollo Kids album. I shot these stills around NYC on my way home after my day job so the lighting goes from dusk to dark. I used a Marvel Legends “Unleashed” figure in this video. The Unleashed series are larger than the Marvel Legends series figures but their articulation isn’t as great so the figures don’t offer as many positions as you might want. Rest in peace to the Virgin Megastore at Union Square which appears in the background as it did in the DOOM video.


For Meyhem Lauren’s song “Got The Recipe” featuring his rhyme co-D Action Bronson was the first time I pulled out the Marvel Legends Hulk and Hercules to rep for Meyhem and Action respectively. I call this red Hulk not because his skin is red but because he’s a socialist. Ha. Nah, I put a shirt on the Hulk because Meyhem Lauren wears clothes. Action Bronson will perform shirtless tho’. Pause.


Back to celebrate the release of the Random Axe album I made this clip to the “Chewbacca” track. I actually bought this Chewbacca figure expressly for the clip. Sean P let me hear his verse from the song so I knew I just wanted to wild out. Random Axe was my favorite joint from 2011 too. Black Milk was definitely on his Adult Swim soundscape.


For J-Love’s song “Gorilla Shit” I pulled out the Hulk and Hercules figures and included a Marvel Legends 2006 series Thor. The funny thing is that if you know J-Love then you know he just might have the Mjolnir hammer in his Benz trunk. I used digital stills from a Sony dSLR as well as video files from a Sony ‘Webbie’ handycam. I should have done a color correction before I put out the video but I was too hype from the song so I let the video fly.

The “Gorilla Shit” video might have been my last action figure video simply because I read more negative comments about the video than positive ones. I make the videos because I like the songs and the artists and I didn’t want the videos to be poor reflections on the artists’ music. People know that I’m friends with Sean Price and Meyhem Lauren and I didn’t want people thinking that these guys were paying me to make these clips because they didn’t want to spend the bread to go with a more “produced” visual representation. Thanks to Eskay and Meka for posting my clips regardless of what the commenters might say. Understand that I know how important YouTube has become to promoting music. I blame MTV for that. But when I hear a song that I FUX with, I just can’t help myself sometimes. I have to make a video clip for it.


That was my feeling when I made the clip for Action Bronson’s “Terror Death Camp” off the Well Done album he released with Statik Selektah. My original plan for this video was to go out to Flushing Queens and shoot the video from the steps of the Flushing public library facing north with the LIRR in the background. Had I executed my plan I think the video would have ten times the view count. The song is that powerful. Action and Meyhem are reprised as Herc and Hulk respectively. My new additions are the Coroner being repped by The Punisher and Maffew Ragazino being portrayed by my Walmart exclusive Ultimates Nick Fury.


The response to the Action Bronson video was favorable enough that I went back to his Dr. Lechter album from earlier in the year to make a clip to my favorite song from that CD. I think Dr. Lechter is still Bronson’s most supreme work as yet, but I hear rumors that the album he is cooking up with The Alchemist will be Earth-moving. Instead of using the Hercules figure I cobbled together clips of Yukon Cornelius, a character from the Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer TV show which gets rebroadcast every high holiday season. The best compliment I got for this clip was when Meyhem Lauren told me that when Action talks he looks just like Yukon Cornelius. Respect the mustache.


I was listening to Action Bronson’s project called Blue Chips while visiting my mother in Atlanta and I made four fanboy music video clips from the songs on that record (sorry, three were from Blue Chips and one was from Well Done). I used some iPhoto stills of the Hercules figure for this song titled “Steve Wynn” because the song that the producer Party Supplies sampled is Aaron Neville’s “Hercules.” This was a no-brainer.


Listening to Meyhem Lauren on The Alchemist produced leaked album Russian Roulette gave me another opportunity to pull up some stills of red Hulk and place them with Meyhem’s hard rhymes. Dude just rhymes like someone who would burst out of skinny jeans.

I’m thankful that people still enjoy the clips for their humor and reality but honestly I thank all the artists who make music which inspires me to make the clips in the first place. I get to combine some of my favorite things in the world—comic books, action figures and rap music, and give them back to others who share the same likes. I’m still buying figures too so I hope someone else gives me some more musical inspiration to play with my toys.

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