When it came time to express the themes of his new opus Bang Thang visually, Compton-based singer/songwriter Dyzzee Phuq faced a complex aesthetic choice. The song’s passionate themes and explicit lyrics could have lent themselves to an irony-tinged Spike Jonze dreamscape, or a self-contained narrative short. But after some of the finest minds in hip-hop shared their creative vision, the song’s essence was distilled into a single, recurring image: bikini-clad hos.
Initially leitmotifs focused on a blue-filtered montage of Phuq’s kevlar-plated Hummer limousine and the ostentatious wearing of gold jewellery to denote status. Fellow musician Dr Fist suggested the idea of draping a woman over car’s bonnet, and his embryonic vision was a catalyst for what followed.
“There was no one moment where we made the decision,” said iconoclast director Joseph Street. “We’re planning to have Dyzzee performing the track in a huge mansion, while scantily clad women undulate sensually all over him, on podiums and – most importantly – towards the camera. That we all agreed on from the first. Then someone – I can’t remember who it was – said ‘hang on – why can’t these women be hos?’ That was the eureka moment. From there, it wasn’t hard to make the creative leap from one bikini ho to a whole bunch o’ hos.”
The collective soon realised that such a bold vision meant earning trust of the audience. “The most difficult thing about the whole concept was working out how to signify the bitches are actual hos, instead of just regular girls in bikinis,” said Dr Fist. “We were stuck for a time, but then from out of nowhere, Dyzzee improvised this moment where he gives one of them a fistful of dollars, and she unbuttoned his fly. It was like the scales fell from my eyes – I thought to myself, ‘that there is a fuckin’ ho’.”
A further breakthrough occurred when director Street decided to intercut the mansion scenes with gritty footage of Phuq rapping in front of a graffiti-clad wall, thereby demonstrating he hasn’t lost his street credibility. “Then Dyzzee asked if we could add the hos into the street footage as well, and I just thought to myself – hold on, rap world, you’re about to be rocked to your very core.”
Casting was also key. “We workshopped a lot in rehearsal,” said Mystique, whose body features prominently in the film. “They were absolutely professional and let me understand the kernel of the character through unscripted dialogue. I’ll always remember when I asked Joseph what my motivation was, and he said simply ‘cock and money’. It was so enlightening and cathartic.”
For his next project, Phuq is developing a vision of unique convertibles with special hydraulic fixtures that make them bounce.