L&G Films [Interview]
Toronto, ON – L&G Films is easily one of Canada’s dominating urban-video crew. As the self-proclaimed “own worst critics” – the group of visionaries have only been in the game for a year and have already released a list of well-received videos (think Luu Breeze’s “Break ‘Em Off”, for example). Partners Laq, Glory and Peter took some time to sit with HipHopCanada to break down how it all works.
Having spent a few hours with them and witnessing how they work as a team, I can vouch that their business logic is way ahead of their time. Quality first and quantity second, this team can put together a product that holds its own in a world saturated with street videos.
One of their latest projects to really get people buzzing is Kid Cocky’s “Streets Keep Calling Me” which is a depicts Kid Cocky’s daily struggles through the crisp and progressive L&G video treatment. When you’re done reading the interview be sure to check out the “Streets Keep Calling Me” video as well as their other catalogue of work.
“This music video is about a man who has just been released from jail, is trying to live his life the right way but but the streets keep calling him and he is forced to make a tough decision . . . Thank you to all the artists on the song, and to all the people who came out to support and made this possible.” – L&G Films
Now let’s check out what three of the four partners had to say:
HipHopCanada: Peace, guys! Thanks for speaking with me today. What are all of your roles?
Laq: I’m the Videographer.
Glory: I’m the Video Director.
Peter: I’m the Director of Photography.
HipHopCanada: And where have people seen your work?
Glory: We actually started with Juice DVD, that was our introduction to the game. Our first music video was Richie Sosa’s “Count Money”.
Laq: That was only a year ago. Since then, we’ve done Luu Breeze’s “Break Em Off” and many more.
HipHopCanada: Why videos for hip-hop artists?
Laq: We’re definitely hip-hop Fans first.
Peter: We’re hip-hop heads so it makes sense.
HipHopCanada: What are your favourite hip-hop videos of all time?
Laq: [Laughing] I have so many. I’m going to go with Nas’ ” Hate Me Now”.
Glory: Jay-Z’s “99 Problems”, definitely.
Peter: I also have a bunch. Mobb Deep’s “It’s Mine”.
HipHopCanada: Is there one artist you really want to work with?
Glory: Anybody with a budget.
Laq: I really want to work with Drake.
HipHopCanada: Any particular Drake track?
Laq: Nah, anything.
Glory: I also want to work with Gangis Khan and K’naan.
HipHopCanada: What makes a good video?
Laq: If I can’t figure out how it was shot, then that gets me. Whether it was lighting or a certain angle, regardless, as a director, that’s what catches me.
Glory: Creativity. I think that’s what anyone watches for. That new T-Pain video is crazy.
Peter: All of that is good, but you need a great song to even get through the video.
HipHopCanada: Hip-hop videos are often criticized for taking away or exploiting original hiphop elements. Thoughts?
Glory: Hip-hop has always been about machismo . . . music videos are reflection of the lyrics. Its often about who has the biggest cars, the most girls and the largest rep.
Peter: It’s society as a whole. We’re just reflecting that.
Laq: When we first started, we wanted to show off Canadian MCs. I’ve always felt they didn’t get the shine they deserved but . . .
Glory: Let’s be honest – people dont wanna see their own lives in a music video.
Laq: We could easily film a guy at work sitting on a stoop . . . that would take no work. But I doubt many people would watch it.
Peter: I also feel there’s always been flashiness in hip-hop, like Kool C’s “The Glamorous Life”.
Laq: That’s right. Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J . . . all of Def Jam . . . everyone was flashy. It’s always been there.
Peter: Maybe because the “real” hip-hop doesn’t get the shine it deserves, people are just being critical to what’s already out there.
Laq: I want to do a video one day that has the four elements of hip-hop.
Peter: Even Soulja Boy tried to do more hip-hop, and his last album didn’t do very well.
Glory: A lot of these guys come from nothing so they wanna show how far they have come by having the expensive car and big chain. The bottom line is that if people don’t support it, then it won’t exist.
HipHopCanada: I really hate asking this question but what do you feel about the state of Canadian hip-hop?
Laq: It’s improving, we’ve come a long way but we still have a long way to go.
Glory: The one word answer is support. The game definitely needs more of it.
HipHopCanada: No doubt. What is the process to creating a music video?
Glory: The artist will hit us up, we’ve got two packages that accommodate and we’ll pitch them to the artist. We then meet up with them, talk to them about their ideas and ours, and then I will get started with the storyboard. We get their approval and then we start planning on making it happen. We’ll start location scouting, getting props, and then we shoot.
Peter: It takes about a month in total.
Laq: There is a lot of internal discussion. Glory comes up with an idea, and we figure it out with our limited budget and time . . . depending on if it’s a street video or an official video.
HipHopCanada: What is the difference between a street video and an official video?
Peter: A street video is like Luu Breeze’s “Charge It To The Game”. It’s basically for promo; it has no real concept. An official video is like Kid Cocky ‘s “Streets Keep Calling Me”.
HipHopCanada: What is the biggest pet peeve an artist can do at the video shoot?
Glory: Showing up late is definitely the biggest pet peeve.
HipHopCanada: Canada has had some serious videos . . . what are ones that stand out to you?
Laq: Shad K’s “Old Prince Still Lives At Home”.
Peter: George Reefah’s “Paparazzi”.
HipHopCanada: Do you feel the internet has been an asset?
Glory: Definitely. we wouldn’t be here right now because of the net tens of thousands of people that have been able to watch our videos.
HipHopCanada: If an artist feels they have a track that is ready for a video, what is the process?
Glory: Just hit us up via email.
Laq: Then Glory will hit us up.
Peter: And we’ll start to work if the artist is serious. Most of the time, they are not coming from a rich background and giving us a budget to work with is like trusting us with their life savings.
HipHopCanada: Any of you going to become rappers?
Laq: [Laughing] Nope.
Glory: But I’d love to run a label.
HipHopCanada: What do you wish artists knew about filming a video?
Laq: Don’t let your budget get in the way. We are in a great position right now because all of the label cuts; now artists need to be creative. That’s where we come in.
HipHopCanada: Who are your influences?
Laq: Aaron A, Hype Williams and RT!
Glory: Money!! Other than that, Rik Cordaro and Chris Robinson.
HipHopCanada: Any shout-outs?
L&G Films: Aaron A., Sharpshooter, Tara, HipHopCanada, All the artists we’ve worked with and all the artist we’re gonna work with in the future.
Editor’s note: Check out more information on L&G Films at http://www.myspace.com/landgfilms.
Written by Tara Muldoon for HipHopCanada