Over the past decade and a bit, the resourcefulness of British music, particularly Black British music, has made it the cultural powerhouse it is today. Rappers and producers from the UK are now setting pace across the globe, but a big part of that success is owed to the tireless creatives working behind the camera lens.
A select few have broken through and become stars in their own right; Daps has directed videos for Migos and Cardi B; Kaylum Dennis is the director of choice for Stormzy and stands as one of the most in-demand directors going; Rollo Jackson is now an international heavyweight making documentaries and short films; Luke Biggins is creating visuals for everyone from Dizzee Rascal to Morcheeba; and Chas Appeti and Capone’s decade-plus of output has become the gold standard in music vids. But what about the next wave?
There’s a highly prolific wave of directors working right now, and key to their success is keeping their ears to the ground and elevating emerging talent with slick, high-end videos to help them secure the attention they very much deserve. They run the full gamut of what a music video can be, from understated performances out on the block to 10-minute epics with special effects, story arcs and character development. In the past, a lot of these decisions would have been dictated by major labels, but now the power is in the grassroots and the risks taken by this new gen are giving us some insane treatments—just look at Teeeezy C’s “Lagga” video for M1llionz or the “AVEN9ERS” video for Unknown T, KO and V9.
Here are 11 music video directors setting new levels in British rap.