Hip-hop video director Daps found out about the video for Migos’ and Drake’s “Walk It Talk It” on a Monday in February — and by Friday of that week, he was leading a production crew inside an L.A. studio and trying very hard not to laugh while the film was rolling.
“They were like, ‘We shoot on Friday,’” he recalls. “I’m like, ‘Huh? Excuse you?’ We had to scramble to get everything done super, super quick.”
But Daps, real name Oladapo Fagbenle, is used to putting visuals together on the fly by now. This was his 12th time working on a music video that starred or featured some portion of the Atlanta hip-hop trio Migos — he’s able to rattle them all off over the phone to Billboard, with impressive speed — who just released the “Walk It Talk It” video on Sunday night. Sometimes, schedules don’t allow for preparation.
“If Drake is available and Migos are too and the stars are aligning, that’s it,” he asserts. “We’re going.”
The “Walk It Talk It” clip has all the ingredients of a viral hit. The Soul Train-inspired visual stars Migos and the song’s featured guest, Drake, grooving in retro ‘70s outfits that are equal parts cool and ridiculous — mostly the latter. There are some truly incredible leisure suits, glorious afros, and genuinely impressive dancing.
“It was hilarious,” Daps admits. “You know what, we were the ones — the background cast, the extras, the production team — we were the ones that were laughing. Migos and Drake? They were getting it. They were really in character.”
Drake especially, who spends the video sporting a Jheri curl that makes him look somewhere between a GEICO caveman and Randy Watson from ’80s comedy Coming to America, has one of the video’s most memorable roles and looks — a guaranteed meme waiting to happen. And apparently no one had to convince the man to really go for it either. “That was all Drake’s team,” Daps says. “But me and him did speak on the phone prior to the shoot, and he let me know, ‘Hey, look, I’m wearing a Jheri curl, so I hope everyone is wearing afros too.’ I was like, yeah, we’re going in.”
Another surprise to come from the new video is the fairly impressive dance moves from Migos member Offset, which sort of caught Daps by surprise. “I’m not going to lie, one time I saw a YouTube video where he was doing… not the Macarena, but some kind of salsa dancing. And I was like — ‘Wait, this isn’t wack. It looks good.’ So I knew he could move, but when he started popping and locking I was like, ‘Oh, shit!’ This is the first time I’ve seen him dance like this.’
“Apparently Offset is the fucking best dancer in the whole world and no one knew about it,” he concludes.
An 11th-hour Jamie Foxx cameo also came through, thanks to famed Migos manager Coach K. “We had a couple Instagram comedians on standby, but it wasn’t really fitting well,” the director recalls. “Luckily, Coach K knows [Foxx] and called him. He didn’t get confirmed until midnight the day of the shoot.”
Daps — who was born in Nigeria, raised in London and took a detour playing college basketball in the NCAA before he found his way into hip-hop — has also directed videos for signature Migos hits “Bad and Boujee” and “T-Shirt,” among others. But this one brought with it a couple firsts for Daps.
For one, it was his first time ever shooting a video on real film, which he and the team wanted to do to capture the authentic Soul Train spirit. It was also the first time he got to shoot a video with Drake, who was on his short list of dream collaborators. “He was a really, really cool guy,” Daps raves. “Easy to work with.”
And despite the last-minute scramble of it all, this was one of his easier gigs with the group. It helped that everything took place in a single, enclosed location, but it’s also nice to have such a strong, longstanding relationship with Migos.
“Whenever we come together and collaborate,” Daps says, “we always try to give the people something they’re not really expecting.”