Chicago's hip-hop scene gained national attention this year, but it wasn't just about the music. Since 2011, video director Duan Gaines has been showing the world a side of Chicago that was previously invisible.
The 24-year-old grew up in the Robert Taylor Homes housing projects, and has managed to build a career from the bottom up. After his basement flooded, a FEMA check helped pay for a video camera, and since then he's been shooting videos for the bulk of artists in Chicago's drill scene. His eye for talent and awareness of his audience helped drive his success. As a result, his videos have racked up millions of views, minting local stars before the media was even aware of them.
Although he's not classically trained, and it's easy to see DGainz's evolution as a videographer over the course of the past year. His style has become refined and distinctive. He's also produced a few of the scene's signature anthems ("Money Dance," "Go In"). With a tireless work ethic (his YouTube channel has 225 self-directed videos), he's inspired many others to shoot their own videos and helped create a space online for artists who previously were cut off from the music industry.
After the runaway success of one of his latest videos, Chief Keef's "Love Sosa," we spoke with DGainz about the 25 most significant videos he's ever shot.