director’s statement

Mic Champion


When I heard the song "Mic Champion" for the first time, I immediately thought of boxing.  The showmanship and bravado involved in promoting a heavyweight fight matched the confidence of J Maddox's lyrics.  At the same time, it was important to show the artist's opposition to the world of commercial hip hop, personified by the fictional MC Bling.  An unsigned musician has to work tirelessly to get on the map. In the video, J Maddox's intense preparation for the fight contrasts sharply with MC Bling's champagne and gold.  This time, talent and persistence win the day and the adoration of the crowd.


It's been said that both hip hop and the music video are dead.  However, with Mic Champion we tried to show that there's still some vitality left in both forms.   In order to stay true to the sophistication, attitude and humor of the music, I treated the project more like a feature by spending extra time developing the story and characters. So, even though there's no spoken dialogue, there are a lot of secondary characters in the video who give the world of Mic Champion an added dimension.


I've always had an appreciation for the atmosphere and pageantry of a heavyweight fight. For me it conjures up heroic images of Muhammed Ali as well as the paintings of George Bellows. There is one shot of J after he knocks down MC Bling that's a direct reference to the famous photograph of Ali standing over Sonny Liston.  Cinematographer Kara Stephens and I studied paintings, photographs, and several boxing movies for both the look and choreography of the video.  Of course, a hip hop boxing video must pay respect to  "Momma Said Knock You Out," and I'm told that the antique microphone, which was our nod to LL Cool J, was actually the same one used for his video years ago.

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