If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Right? Wrong! Since the invention of music videos, the use of props has evolved and with each, the game went a notch higher. Or has it? Manuel Ntoyai calls out talents on their worn-out ideas
This week, social media was animated when a certain TZ blog exposed Diamond Platnumz over what they called copying Davido’s set and location for his video, Eneka.
While at it, the blog painted a picture of a desperate act trying to act successful, adding fuel to the alleged beef, that the two continental heavyweights are said to be having. However, a statement from Davido’s camp eased the tension as fans were already throwing blistering tirades of insults to each other.
Turns out it was all a case of overused props and location, nothing but “coincidence” courtesy of video director, Sesan. This is not the first time that there has been a discussion of artistes copying video ideas, but the buck stops at the video directors who knowing or unknowingly might use certain props and location to the point that it is noticeable. Here are some of the most common used props.
Artistes want to be seen as successful and in most of their music, they will talk about the money, paying everything in cash, stating poverty is not their potion. At shoots, they make it rain, flossing wads and stacks of the mulla, something that they know their audience (fans) can only dream about.
The prop money is fake and there are companies that take care of that angle of business by providing the two main types of prop money. The standard grade, which is printed on both sides and used when the artiste is chopping money for the cameras. The second, high grade, is more expensive and could pass for the real thing.
It’s used when the video director wants some close up shots. Either way, one needs to get a licence before they use either, otherwise law enforcements may stop the production and land you in jail.
A throne is a symbol of power, royalty and dominion. In the hip-hop world, the king is the most sought-after title and often, you will see self-pronounced ‘Kings and Queens’ of rap or whatever genre that the artiste dabbles in.
Music video directors have been using this seat to power their message visibly on who reigns and when mixed with another element like sexuality, the results are rewarding. When Sauti Sol released video song for Nishike, the steamy video got many tongues waging noticeably for Bien’s role, with the video director Enos Olik getting the better out of the set.
Goût de Diamants is the world’s most expensive champagne and goes for more than Sh250 million per bottle. While it is safe to say that no local artistes has had an interaction with this bubbly in his music videos, it is common to see them and their colleagues popping bottles and having a good time, while sipping expensive drinks.
A while back, Beyoncé caused a frenzy when she poured the luxury drink to a bubbling jacuzzi when she was featured on Nicki Minaj’s video, Feeling Myself. The pricey looking champagne was later identified as Armand de Brignac, which is owned by hubby, JAY Z. Locally, artistes are known to place expensive looking bottles during shoots, but you can always tell a prop from the real thing. But who are we to judge. It’s showbiz after all; fake it till you make it!
Remember when Calif Records ruled the roost and Charles Luche was the best in the game when it came to directing local videos? In September 2009, Jua Cali released video for his song Niimbie, which featured Enika.
The video starts with an old TV playing the script. It is one among the many videos that has seen old tellys used as props and most of the time, they are used to bring that static effect and throwback the memories when Great-Wall TVs were revered more than any electronic device in any household. Talk of an antique touch!
Cars and private jets
Fast cars and flashy lifestyles go hand in hand. With their flashy lifestyles, most celebrities tend to make news with every step they take since hiding such affairs, is not not their thing.
Locally, no brand surpasses the Range Rovers star power. It started with Jaguar, then came Ringtone, cue Willy Paul, who used it in Lala Salama, socialite Huddah Monroe has hers painted pink and recently, the self-acclaimed OG Khaligraph Jones caught the fever and he could not resist showing it off. I
t is with the same magnitude of ego that the same folks will try to out do each other in their videos, a lot of the time, hiring this luxury wheels at times to painful costs just to pull stunts for the camera. Private jets are yet to make news in the region, and when Nigerian superstar Davido posted “his” jet, tabloids rubbishy stated that it was Daddy’s and not his.
We don’t know about you, but Octopizzo’s flashy rides in his TBT video are part of the reason the video is almost clocking a million views on YouTube.
American model and actress Ola Ray, debuted her first cameo as video girl in fellow countryman George Benson’s Give Me The Night, and later did other TV programmes before landing a role in Michael Jackson’s Thriller. She thrilled indeed and her career skyrocketed to Hollywood.
Years later, in May 2009, she sued him for royalties, something that was later settled after his death. Decades later in Kenya, a music group P-Unit launched their video song You Guy, which in turn would launch popular video vixen Vera Sidika into the limelight, an opportunity she grabbed with both hands.
The curvaceous beauty told blogs that she was paid Sh500,000 to appear, a fact that many took with a pinch of salt. Not deterred, by her haters, Vera has now transversed the continent appearing in music videos, a trend that is sure to continue.
Smoke bombs, fogs and haze
When Robert Yale created the first smoke bomb, it is highly unlikely that he had video directors in mind. Years later, the brilliant invention made its way into our screens as video directors tried to outshine each others, with colour to create that extra pop.
The use of fogs and haze in cinematography has evolved how video directors and artiste tell their stories. Not just setting the tone, but they do add depth and help create an atmosphere desired. Nezzoh Monts and Johnson Kyallo are some of 254’s video directors, whose love for the effect, has worked for them.