If you havent been living under a rock for the past few months, then youve seen the slew of music videos by Mike Jones and Paul Wall. You may have also noticed the Dr. Teeth Productions graphic in the beginning of every video. But who is Dr. Teeth? It sounds like a demonic dentist in a horror film, but in reality, Dr. Teeth is the mastermind behind some of the Souths top Rap music videos.
Born in Cincinnati and raised in Texas, Dr. Teeth has not had overnight success. Incorporating hard work, dedication and the old do-it-yourself frame of mind has finally let him live out his life-long dream of making music videos. Back then no one wanted him, now the labels are all on him. AllHipHop.com Alternatives spoke with the NAACP Image Award winner, documentarian and all around classic film buff about his recent success.
AHHA: How did you get the name Dr. Teeth?
Dr.Teeth: I got it in high school. I used to play basketball and dunk on cats. I would run down the court with a big toothy smile. They had said Dr. J but then they changed it to Dr. Teeth. When I started making videos, I was like, I need a name. Dr. Teeth came to mind, and its been that since.
AHHA: How does it feel to have your video for Still Tippin nominated by MTV for the MTV2 Viewers Choice Award?
Dr. Teeth: Its was a great and surprisingly shocking. I never expected for it to be nominate for a Viewers Choice Award. It means that people liked it and respect the work that Im doing. Before I made Still Tippin I was up for shooting Nellys Tip Drill. Unfortunately, he decided to go in another direction. When we were going to make Still Tippin', we wanted to go more street, like for BET Uncut - we wanted to go with that street Swishahouse style. We shot it in Houston, which was the way that I wanted to go. I wanted to show its culture. The girl dancing in front of the tables is like the Pied Piper. You also have candy-colored cars swaying in and out on the street. Its hood, but also artistic at the same time. It all goes together. The amazing thing is that people got it.
AHHA: How did Mike Jones and Paul Wall take to the idea?
Dr. Teeth: When I presented the idea to Mike and Paul, they were all for it. Its funny because it was a cold ass day in Houston when we shot the video, and we were in the ghetto setting everything up. Michael Watts was like, Man I cant believe you have me out here in the hood, with all of this equipment. Regardless, they trusted me and Ive developed a very strong relationship with Swishahouse.
AHHA: What are you currently working on?
Dr. Teeth: Actually, Im an R&B guy at heart. I did the video Aha for Devin the Dude. Im working with R&B guy named Cruna for BET. Its a different direction, but I like it. Im also working with Crime Mob on their new video Ill Beat Your Ass. I want to capture the true essence of their Crunk sound with mosh pits, etcetera. It will be out later on this month. Paul Wall is also on Access Granted and has been getting mad popular on camillionare.com. Im also working with Mike Jones on a new video, maybe the new T.I. Im in the process of taking to Jermaine Dupri and Young Capone, Back-Woods, Tango Redd and Lloyd.
AHHA: Do you see out artists to work with or do they find you?
Dr. Teeth: Weve been blessed since the making of Sittin Sideways. Labels began to call. A lot of artists have been telling their labels to request me, but I also get calls from the artists themselves. It puts a big smile on my face.
AHHA: How did your company, Filming Company, come about?
Dr. Teeth: I left BET to work with Tracey Hicks. I wanted to develop a company and to do a few projects - that was April. Til then, no one wanted to sign me. In June, Mike [Jones] came to me to do his video. After that all the companies that wouldnt even look at my stuff started calling me on the phone. Its funny because I had spent like two years sending stuff to them, only receiving either a negative feedback or no response. Now they all want me to do work for them. By the time they started calling, I was doing it all on my own. I developed Filming Company because I needed a place to work and develop ideas for videos and artists. Besides, it cuts out the middle man. No one works [harder] for you than you. Ive been doing all of this for four years now. In the first year I did three videos, the second it was four and now, this year alone Ive done 15. I have three more left to do for this year. It never stops.
AHHA: Sounds like youre a very busy man.
Dr. Teeth: Yeah, Weve been very busy. We just got done shooting a video for Slim Thug. It was supposed to be done in June, but because of the busy schedule, we did it in August.
AHHA: Did you know Mike and Paul before you shot the video?
Dr. Teeth: I didnt know them, but I had worked with a friend of Pauls named Qua. This was before Paul was on Swishahouse. We were at his boys house and they wanted me, so we worked it out and the rest is history.
AHHA: What directors have inspired you?
Dr. Teeth: I study Hype Williams work. Spike Jonez, Lionel Martin, Marcus Rayboy, Brett Ratner and a few others. I really like their work. When I study their work, I look at the pictures and try to envision their ways of thinking. I read historical facts. Im chameleon-like. I do more hood videos, but like I mentioned, Im trying to work with some R&B artists also. Im a story teller first. I have a lot of stories to tell. When I start getting a larger budget, I want to start incorporating green screens and more cameras.
AHHA: You used to work for BET and received an NAACP Image Award for Teen Summit. Why wasnt your work nominated for a BET Award?
Dr. Teeth: I dont know. I guess that it wasnt as popular. I spoke with Steve Hill and he told me how proud he was of my accomplishments. The Mike Jones album didnt really get popular til after the awards. He still performed on the stage with Paul. Next year well get more nominations and people will discover more about Dr. Teeth.
AHHA: Whats in your DVD player right now?
Dr. Teeth: Black Caesar.
AHHA: Thats a good film, but how do you feel about the controversy over Blaxploitation films?
Dr. Teeth: Its a double-edged sword. Melvin Van Peebles really made it all possible with Sweetback's Bad Ass Revenge. Afterwards, Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon and made their versions. Gordon Parks directed Shaft. Weve had some good films - Super Fly, The Mack, and Cleopatra Jones. Max Julian [The Mack] developed, directed and produced the film. It opened gates and gave us opportunities in film that normally wouldnt have been possible.
AHHA: Youve done a lot in your career. Youre even known for doing documentaries. Have you ever thought about making a documentary on the Houstons scene?
Dr. Teeth: Ive already done it - DJ Screw, The Legacy. Its in a couple of volumes, 1 through 3. I had developed it while in Houston. I just shot different shows and saved the footage of Screw and a few of the original artists that did it. Part 2 has cats like Trey and Slim Thug. Part 3 is more up to date featuring Mike Jones and others. Its a hot documentary.
AHHA: Tell us about your first film project 21 Crunk Street.
Dr. Teeth: Thats taking it back. Its a film about murders on a college campus, of course fictitious. The heads of the school send a special task force unit in called The Crunk Unit to investigate the murders.
AHHA: Its kind of like a CSI type thing?
Dr. Teeth: Exactly. We sold tickets on the college campus for three dollars and made three thousand. Its kind of a cultish flick.
AHHA: What kinds of other projects do you work on outside of making videos?
Dr. Teeth: I went to Texas Southern University. A lot of industry jobs are out sourced. I was really the only guy that students knew that was really doing something. I began working with the Historical Black College Film Festival. Producers and director from the industry critique the students work. Were in the third year. Its good because it says that we, as well as them can make it.
AHHA: How important do you feel it is for artists and people in the industry to reach out to todays youth?
Dr. Teeth: Its very important for them to connect with their fan base, especially Black artists. Mike Jones is good about that. You have to take time to stop and talk to them. Even just saying hi and talking to them for a second can lead to great inspiration.
AHHA: How do you feel about the work that youve done so far?
Dr. Teeth: Im really proud of the development and growth. Ive done work with the NAACP, BET and MTV. Im proud, but Im only getting started.
AHHA: Would you ever make a music video film like Murder Was The Case?
Dr. Teeth: In a heartbeat.
AHHA: Where do you see yourself a few years from now?
Dr. Teeth: Six years down the road, I want to be in the same arena as the big cats, like Hype. I want to be well respected and known by my peers. Thats my goal. I want to be nominated, not by the popularity of the video, but the quality of work. Im gonna be an icon. Ive always wanted to direct music videos. When I get more money, I want to eventually do big budget movies, but mainly music videos. I love what I do.