DanTheMan is a talented film maker out of Brooklyn, New York. Having worked with the likes of 50 Cent, Prodigy, J.R. Writer, Termanology and Lloyd Banks among tons of others, Dan is one of the few directors in the industry that consistently create quality videos on a regular basis. Getting his start by working with DJ Whoo Kidd and G-Unit, DanTheMan also did the videos that were featured on The Massacre Special Edition. Be sure to check out his work and keep your eye on this guy.
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Player Watch: Video Director, DanTheMan
Video director “DanTheMan” has stepped behind the lens to create hip-hop DVD’s and videos for 50 Cent, Young Buck and AZ. After directing several highly-acclaimed straight to YouTube videos for Prodigy’s Return of the Mac CD, DanTheMan is definitely a Player to Watch for in 2007.
While the name DanTheMan may not be as familiar as Hype Williams or Benny Boom, the Jersey City native has actually been in the business of hip-hop for most of his life.
“The first video I did was for M.O.P. for their rock album on Koch three or four years ago,” Dan said, before reaching back over a decade to recall his early days in entertainment. “When I started I was a dotcommer, I worked at 88hiphop [.com]. My background is audio engineering, that’s how I started in the rap game. I never went to college, I went to school for audio engineering at IAR, but I went there pre-Pro Tools. When I got outta there I was just looking for jobs and I ran across the dotcom thing, so I did that.”
After the dotcom bubble burst, Dan bought a video camera. His years at the website had given him experience with streaming video and video production, making him well equipped to produce dvds. Soon after, while working for Game Recordings, Dan met his future business partner, DJ Whoo Kid.
“Whoo Kid and I were doing the same thing on the interview tip. We started going around hanging out with artists. He got an interview with Snoop, I got another one with Nelly, and so on. We did Rewind, the hip-hop DVD magazine, it was like one of the first hip-hop DVD’s that did well. That was my first hip-hop video project that started getting me attention. It debuted at #34 on the Billboard independent charts and we put it with an audio component. That was the number one independent release for like three weeks straight,” Dan recalled.
Dan next joined the “Roc the Mic Tour,” filming behind the scenes footage and began working with G-Unit regularly. In addition to adding interview, documentary and a/v components for Young Buck and Tony Yayo projects, Dan was asked to help out with 50 Cent’s The Massacre.
“50 had this idea to do these low budget videos for every song on the album…Like 7 of the videos were basically just me, 50 and my camera and editing. After that did well, I started doing a lot of videos. I created a formula where I could do these videos by myself and make them look like I didn’t do them by myself. Throughout the years the formula evolved and the budgets progressed from nothing to something and basically now people are hiring me because they know they could get a bang for their buck and they can get a video on a level that you probably can’t get for $50,000,” Dan revealed.
His formula came in handy this year while directing numerous videos for Prodigy’s Return of the Mac which were posted straight to YouTube. Chief among these was the horror flick inspired “Mac 10 Handle.”
“I feel like “Mac 10 Handle” ushered in this new YouTube video revolution. I’m not taking full credit for it. It’s also Prodigy. Me and Prodigy sat down and we did it and within months all these other YouTube videos started popping up,” Dan said.
“The internet is a great medium because I see the love and the hate right away. I used to be a dotcommer so I go on those forums and I see what people are saying. I love it, I live for it. It’s great to have that direct response with the fans to see exactly how much they hate me or how much they like me. Sometimes it’s scathing hate and sometimes it’s super love.”
2. Prodigy: “Mac 10 Handle.” I already wrote a post about this one, but it’s worth noting that the grimy, paranoid desolation of this video does its job completely. Right now, I’m way more amped about Return of the Mac than I ever was about Blood Money (this doesn’t hurt, either), and I’ll buy a copy as soon as it comes out, if it ever does. Everyone involved in the making of this video must’ve known that it would never, ever get played on TV, and that sort of viral internet-marketing savvy can’t be taught. There’s a story here, but we only get a quick little glimpse of it. The mystery and darkness that’ve been missing from mainstream rap videos for a few years now come roaring back when Prodigy stabs his chair and it bleeds. (This is the second video in a row with a shot of someone wearing a George W. Bush mask; maybe that shot is a nod to “Get Ya Hustle On”?)
As the “Mac 10 Handle” video opens, Prodigy is coated in sweat, slumped on a floor, chugging tequila from a bottle. A second later, he’s seen silhouetted in a flophouse window, waving a machete. When he mutters something about watching Hard Boiled, images from John Woo’s best movie flicker on the screen. The film stock is harsh and grainy, bathed in a hazy glow, speeding up and slowing down and chopping around frantically while Prodigy’s eyes dart around his nasty apartment, around the makeshift ashtrays in old pizza boxes. We’re a long way from the mansions of the “Have a Party” video. Later, we see Prodigy in a nightclub surrounded by people in Halloween costumes. A girl in a vampire costume flashes her fangs. Some guy in a Michael Myers mask stands motionless against a wall. Prodigy’s not wearing a costume, and he’s staring backwards over his shoulder. And then he’s back in that apartment, hallucinating dudes in rubber demon masks suddenly appearing next to him. Snakes crawl around. Prodigy stabs a mirror, then a chair. And when he stabs the chair, blood comes out, so he keeps stabbing. An evil laugh bubbles up from the track. The whole thing is just fantastically dark and evil, a bloody fever dream from someone buried so deep in his own thoughts that he’s stopped looking for a way out.
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