15 Hip-Hop Videos Using Action Figures by Dallas Penn
Our take on Inside the Actor's Studio profiles the most unheralded director for the YouTube generation, 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.
GHOSTFACE KILLAH “KUNTA FLY SHIT”
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.
GHOSTFACE KILLAH FEAT. RAEKWON, U-GOD, POPA WU “BLACK JESUS”
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.
DOOM “MIRCOWAVE MAYONAISSE”
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.
SEAN PRICE “KIMBO PRICE”
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 FEAT. SEAN PRICE “SNOW” (REMIX)
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.
SEAN PRICE “UNTITLED”
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.