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‘Take them by storm’: Student rapper films music video


Members of a local Bloomington rap group film their music video Feb. 27 in the Jordan Avenue parking garage. The music video was for IU senior and rapper Agboola Bankole-Hameed's song "Next Up," which comes out March 20. Courtesy Photo

Luxury cars. Designer clothes. An entourage.

The only thing missing from IU senior and rapper Agboola Bankole-Hameed’s music video shoot Friday was a glamorous location like New York or L.A., but he doesn’t think you’ll be able to tell the difference. 

The music video was for "Next Up," Bankole-Hameed's song, which comes out March 20. Filmed in different spots around Bloomington, thevideo, which is set to come out about a week after the song drops, is lavish enough to compete with the videos of distinguished rappers, Bankole-Hameed said.

“It’s the craziest shit I’ve ever seen,” Bankole-Hameed, whose rap name is AG Bankrolls, said. “I’ve seen Drake’s videos, and they don’t hold a candle to this.”

When senior Bankole-Hameed met Sam Koch in his freshman year business presentations class, there was no way of knowing that in three years, the two would be working on a song and music video together. When Koch introduced Bankole-Hameed to IU wide receiver Jacolby Hewitt, who also raps on the song, they began freestyling about climbing their way to the top. Within one recording session, “Next Up” was born.

"Next Up" is about breaking out onto the music scene and gaining success, which Bankole-Hameed said is reflected in the extravagant, Fast and Furious style of the video.

“It’s about our hunger for more,” Bankole-Hameed said. “We want the recognition for the work we’re putting in.”

Koch, a senior studying marketing and minoring in arts management, produced “Next Up” and was the creative director for the shoot. He said the video, which is set to be released about a week after the song, is diverse because of all of the different people involved, many of whom were Chinese international students.

“All different personalities, backgrounds and races just came together,” Koch said. “That’s what music’s about, bringing people together.”

Koch said the video was a community effort, with volunteers bringing their luxury Mercedes and BMWs and their Off-White and Balenciaga hoodies to be used for the day. As the creative director, Koch was in charge of choosing the filming locations and creating the concept for the video, but the thing he said he’s most proud of is that every person who worked on the project contributed something special.

“Everybody sprinkled in a little bit of their magic into the video,” Koch said.

Sophomore Joseph Nieto, who filmed and directed the video, said there was no written script for what happened in front of the camera. Once they arrived on location, Nieto said he and his team would spontaneously decide on the angles, lighting and setup.

“Everything just felt organic,” Nieto said. “The energy was just natural, it didn’t feel like we were forcing anything.”

Nieto, who is studying sports media, is editing the video as well. He hasn’t finished the video yet, but he said he hopes to give it a Cole Bennett-esque trippiness by adding fast cuts, color changes and possibly animation.

“My artistic vision is to make people feel that fast-paced energy I felt when I was shooting it,” Nieto said.

Although the song and video won't drop for a few weeks, Bankole-Hameed said he’s already eager to start working on other projects. The message of “Next Up” is to keep hustling, which he plans on doing until he makes a name for himself.

“The whole concept was we’re coming for everybody,” Bankole-Hameed said. “We’re next up. When we come, it’s going to take them by storm.”

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