For years, Hip Hop heads have complained too much of the culture has become stagnant artistically. I often hear/read rap fans say “everything is the same now, no one’s doing anything original.” Well, Boston-based rapper Michael “M-Dot” Januario is consistently pushing the boundaries of the art form through his innovative music videos.
M-Dot’s latest work is yet another example the former college basketball player approaches his craft in an entirely unique way from his peers. His visuals for “123 Flow” provide viewers more than just a few minutes of an artist performing in front of luxury cars or two-stepping beside scantily clad video vixens. While those type of videos have their appeal, M-Dot chose to provide an interactive 360° experience with his groundbreaking clip directed and edited by Victor Keys.
AllHipHop.com connected with M-Dot via email to get more information on how he and his team put together the avant-garde “123 Flow” vid. Supporters should also be on the lookout for more extraordinary visuals as well as the Own Lane Music representative’s debut LP Ego & The Enemy. The double album will feature production by Hi-Tek, Marley Marl, Buckwild, M-Phazes, Marco Polo, !llmind, Da Beatminerz, 7L, Snowgoons, and more.
How did you come up with the treatment for the "123 Flow" video?
My brother Victor, who has done photography for years, had always been fascinated with capturing panoramic 360° flicks. He'd shoot every angle with a fisheye [lens] then piece it all together for a "my planet" panoramic feel. We'd constantly talk about shooting that same vision in full motion for a music video, but we still needed more equipment and the right editing tools.
Our focus for many years now has been to stray away from filming typical "rap videos", and this new visual would be the epitome of reaching that goal. I had ideas in the process of making this one and have taken part in co-directing almost every video I've released… this, nevertheless, I wanna say was all Victor.
How long did it take to film the entire video?
We shot pretty quick actually. The song isn't long which shortened the amount of time consumed by retakes. We shot late night at an indoor location in Worcester (that is video 2 coming in the next weeks), then slept 3 hours or so (due to schedules we had a small window), and woke up and shot the outdoor rooftop scenes (warehouse in Worcester area) you see in the video currently out. All and all, probably 4 hours (shooting wise). Quickest visual I've shot surprisingly.
What was the most difficult part of finalizing the video?
The plan for releasing. We have had this video pretty much ready for 6 months (similar to "Shine" with Method Man), but we were strategizing how to market it. Facebook, for instance, still doesn't have the full technology for all mobile devices to view properly. And with YouTube you need to watch it in the YouTube app.
Our fear was people weren't gonna get the full experience. People often view it flat due to a phone not being updated or not watching it in the right browser. It's something we wanted to avoid. But we figured we couldn't wait any longer and just let it loose, as the next objective was to start working towards what we wanted to do next visually rather than being stuck on this.
Your visuals consistently push the boundaries of the art form. How are you going to top an interactive 360° video?
There is something special we are already working on now. I hope it has the same effect. The past 5 videos have all been completely different (animated, 360, zombie, green screen, sans rapping b-roll visual story), and that's what makes it fun to create (and I hope watch), as it's not a repetitive cycle.
What can listeners expect on your upcoming Ego & The Enemy project?
I think concepts and stories have become more seldom seen over the years. I definitely feel that albums have had less cohesion as well. I'd hope to bring more of that to the forefront again. The album should have a roller coaster ride - similar to a movie - with a climax, and a dark side (enemy) and a prideful, happy side (ego) all providing an experience.
Nowadays we are sadly in a microwave generation of singles and immediate fixes. I hope people still are willing to digest more than 1 minute at a time and conversely are open to digesting a whole piece of work. Thank y'all so much for having me. I have dug the site forever. Shoutouts to my family… Own Lane Music, EMS, DJ Workshard, and Revalation.
Download/Stream M-Dot’s 2014 Jake LaDOTta mixtape below.