We spoke to Daps, director of Stormzy’s Big For Your Boots video
If a music video is a classic, you can usually tell from the first time you see it.
Last night, Stormzy’s legion of fans got that feeling in their guts when he dropped the visuals for Big For Your Boots – the outrageously hard first single from his debut album Gang Signs and Prayer.
Directed by Daps (who’s also recently received high praise for his work on Migos’s Bad and Boujee and T Shirt videos), the Big For Your Boots clip sees Stormzy join a female gang of music industry players, hang around in a Morley’s with Maya Jama while rocking a pink bomber jacket, and confront racial tension in the conclusive scene. Daps called us from his LA home to talk us through it.
Hey Daps, when did you shoot the video in London?
What’s today? The 3rd? We did it last Tuesday. About 10 days ago.
How long were you planning it for before that?
Only a couple of days
Tell me a bit about the original vision for the Big For Your Boots video…
I like having a lot of juxtaposition in my videos. In my Migos Bad and Boujee video or my Migos T-Shirt video, I always try to create some kind of juxtaposition. For this video I just wanted to show different aspects of London life and put in elements that you wouldn’t normally see on screen. On the estate, girls instead of boys. The girls are acting aggressive and acting like boys. In the pub, there’s a bunch of black boys dressed in all white. You’re not gonna find a bunch of black boys dressed in all white at a pub.
Then you have the Sikh men, just random Sikh men hanging out with a black boy like Stormzy. Then in Morleys – the quintessential South London chicken shop – you have Stormzy wearing Yeezys and a flashy jacket with his girlfriend [Presenter Maya Jama] hanging out reading the paper.
Do you think those juxtapositions are representative of Stormzy’s music and the role it plays for young people?
Perhaps. I think a lot of urban music in general bridges gaps. Urban music – let’s stop fluffing about, it’s black music – black music bridges a lot of gaps anyway. You have a high number of black and non-black consumers listening to the same music for different reasons but they all feel it emotionally. If you go to a show, even of the hardest MC or grime artist, you’re going to see a bunch of different people.
Tell us a little bit about those final few frames where Stormzy is squaring up to that gang
I think that frame has to be left up to people to work out what that means to them. It’s metaphorical.
The female presence in the video is really powerful
How were those individuals selected?
Stormzy selected them. He pulled out his rolodex – wait it’s not 1980 – he was able to pull out his phone and holler at his associates and friends. They came through for the love. In terms of what they were wearing, the stylist made the final pieces but I was able to show them what I wanted it to feel like.
What did you tell them you wanted it to feel like?
I wanted it to feel like the girls on the block were guys. When you see a lot of music videos, a lot of women are either dressed a certain way or doing certain things. Especially women of that calibre, everyone in those scenes are notable. I just thought it would be cool to have them in that aesthetic.
Did you speak to Stormzy about the concept for the video?
I had to brief him and he agreed to the concept. There wasn’t really any pushback. Stormzy believes in the vision and, thankfully, believes in the director!
I can’t talk to you without mentioning your video for Migos’ T-Shirt. Was juxtaposition a focus there too?
I just wanted to shut it down with that one there. I wanted to bring a different kind of visual to a, rap music and b, trap music. I just want to thank Migos for being so open-minded and so easy to work with in terms of creativity. A lot of rappers wouldn’t wear what they wear or go where they go or do what they do for a project. Them helping me is helping them. A lot rap content is very abrasive – drugs and guns. I love the content but I want to put people on a different plain and a different pedestal to push them forward. So, how can I fit in with their ideals and my ideals? You just create metaphors. Instead of a room a cocaine, you show a mountain of snow. Instead of a gun, you show a bow and arrow. It’s just making it consumable. If you know, you know. If you don’t, you don’t.
With a lot of your videos you’ve definitely used metaphor but it’s a very brash use of metaphor. Is that intentional?
I have ideas and some work out way better than I thought they would and others don’t so you guys never see it! I always try to put in some kind of thinking piece. In the T-Shirt video, people didn’t even catch it that a person who hunts animals for fur is called a trapper. So you have trap artists, making trap music, wearing trapper outfits. Nobody even caught that.
Stormzy went away for a while and this video was his re-arrival. What else can we expect from him this year?
He’s going to have a huge year. Debut album, Gang Signs and Prayer is coming. Artwork is crazy, the undertones and the underlying message is crazy. People should expect a huge year from him – more visuals and just putting his foot on the neck of the competition.
And what have you got in the pipeline?
Oh, I’ve got a lot in the pipeline [laughs]. Give me two or three weeks and you’ll all see!
Follow Daps: @FlexGodDaps