Iggy Azalea is coming back.
"Mo Bounce" was directed by Lil Internet, the same guy who gave us the videos for Diplo's "Express Yourself" and Beyoncé's "No Angel." Complex caught up with the dude named after Al Gore's invention to talk his process, Iggy's hands-on approach, and being a part of her comeback.
You've directed videos for Diplo, Major Lazer, Beyoncé, and now Iggy. What made you want to work on this project?
Iggy reached out and wanted me to do it, which is kind of how my biggest videos have always gone. I sent in a treatment, but I don't really think it was like a pitch [situation] where there was a whole bunch of directors. That's definitely how it worked with Diplo and Beyoncé—usually my biggest stuff is like that. In that case, it's also very nice because it ends up a lot more collaborative and a little more personal.
Would you explain your process? How do you come up with these treatments?
Some people are visual listeners, and they picture imagery in their head. Some people listen to the lyrics. Some people listen more emotionally to see how it makes them feel. I'm definitely a visual listener. When I heard this song, images popped in my head. I knew she was gonna be in Hong Kong—I've never been, but I immediately got this kind of cyberfunk, Fast and Furious, gritty feel. And she was on the same tip with it, too. I sent a treatment over, and she sent back a lot of detailed notes and images. To be honest, this was the most collaborative video I've ever done with an artist. Iggy was involved the whole time and it was really, really awesome to have that kind of work dynamic. It happens a lot less than you think.
How did you find the little girl dressed in the Ferrari race suit?
Her name is Bobo, and I forget how old she is. She's really young, though. Like 6, or something. Iggy wanted some kids dancing in the video, and she really, really liked her. She didn't speak any English and rolled with an entourage. But by the end of the shoot, me and Bobo had this kind of sign language so that we could communicate. She had these set moves that she always did over and over, but towards the end, when she started getting warmed up, she started adding some twists and variations. She goes to dance classes in Hong Kong. She already knows she's a star. She's always got her entourage with her. [Laughs.]
How was this video different from your other work?
“Express Yourself” for Diplo was the first one I did that was similar to this. Beyoncé saw that and called Diplo, like, "Yo, I wanna get this guy to do a video," and then I did “No Angel” for her. That had an “Express Yourself” vibe, where you go to a city and try to capture the spirit of the place. We shot most of "Mo Bounce" guerilla style, no permits. Tun out, run in. There was a really deep collaboration with Iggy, and also a real expression of trust and willingness on her part with me where we did go and do some guerilla shit and for a star of her caliber. That's super rare.
She looked comfortable. Iggy has had a rough time in terms of public perception. She's gotten a lot of shit from the hip-hop community. Do you think the song and video will change that?
I don't really pay too much attention to, I don't know, pop culture and gossip and all that shit. I always say, "I make the Kool-Aid but I don't drink it." She came to all the edit sessions, all the color corrections. She sat there while I edited the whole thing, basically. Just talking to her and getting to know her, she has been through crazy, crazy shit. She's so cool and so genuine about her work and so honest about what she's doing and so genuinely just into it.
I can't speak for her, obviously, and that needs to be said first and foremost. I can't speculate what it's gonna do, but I'll tell you one thing: I know that this is her doing what she wants to do and expressing herself in a genuine way with music and a video that she was excited about and wanted to make. To be honest, I think seeing genuine artistry and genuine honesty— if you hate on that, that's totally ridiculous, because it's super rare these days. When the art is really genuine like that, there's nothing to do but respect it.