“I went from just doing my own videos, to Iggy Azalea & Rita Ora – ‘Black Widow’. I didn’t do no low budget shoots; I didn’t do no mid budget shoots. I went from my own video to a half a million f*****g dollar video.”
From High-rise estate to High Flyer.
Oladapo Fagbenle aka Daps was only 3 years old when he moved from Lagos Nigeria to London. “I was being shipped around to different places, sometimes with my mum, my dad, sometimes both, sometimes neither. So I was always very independent and nomadic. That’s how I was raised. Not having to depend on s**t.” He describes his childhood as a tough and confusing time, where he had to move from place to place until finally settling down in the notorious Grahame Park estate in (North West London) at the age of 11. He describes growing up in London as rough.
“Growing up in London was rough, London in those times ain’t London now. That s**t was wild – it was like cowboy land. Even now just Google the murder rates in London in those times and compare them to now. It’s two different worlds.” But he didn’t let this affect him, instead channelling his experiences through his love for music-particularly rap. He often credits his creative influence to his older brothers who were also into arts, recalling how they would make beats in the garage on ‘Logic’.
Before he took his career in music seriously, Daps had initially placed all his cards on playing basketball. The plan was to move to America to pursue a professional career in the NBA. With that dream in tow, followed by years of mastering his skills in basketball, his hard work finally paid off and at the age of 17, he was granted a scholarship to a private high school in Connecticut called The Masters school. Nothing however, prepared him for the culture shock he was about to receive.
“This school was so tiny, in the middle of nowhere. I was living in Connecticut with my coach, his wife and his baby daughter. They lived on a farm. So I went from Grahame Park estate in London to there… literally from the block to a farm. Imagine taking someone from the block, and then putting them in Ned Flanders’ kids’ school. They had cows, chickens… it was just a different type of life.”
Lows & Highs.
After a year of playing basketball at The Masters School, he received another scholarship to play college ball in North Carolina where he studied for four years, gaining a bachelor’s degree in the process. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out as Daps sustained numerous injuries in the process – forcing him give up his NBA dream.
In spite of this set back, all was not lost as this gave Daps the opportunity to channel his focus on a former love – Music. Not long after, his blog HeavySpitter.com was born; a platform he used to record and interview rappers on an international level.
“I’d be in Chicago recording my boys on the block out there, then I’d come to ends and record SAS in North London.”
During this time, popular music platforms such as LinkUp TV was and SBTV were also gathering momentum.
Daps’s breakthrough did not come without tough times. After graduating with his second degree, he had planned to move to New York to grow HeavySpitter.com and further his career prospects. He had a setback however, when he struggled to find an employer to sponsor his visa and a well paying job. Daps finally took a commission-only job in door to door sales, selling water coolers. Times eventually became tough and by winter he had only sold $200 worth of water coolers, most of which went towards travel. “Soon, I had $40 to my whole name, in the whole entire planet earth. Nothing more. So, started doing a lil‘ bit of this and that – got a little bit of pocket money.”
Student to Master.
His big break eventually came in the form of his big brother Luti, co-founder of the successful videography company, Luti Media. Through him, Daps was handed the opportunity to produce Bashy’s video for “Make My Day” and work alongside Director Rage, the man behind the Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat” video. From that point, a slow and steady chain reaction set off. Traction slowly built and Daps went on to become Kanye west’s video producer for his “Sixty Days to Paris” documentary. Desiring more creative control, Daps realised he actually wanted to become a Video Director but the transition wasn’t simple as he struggled to get his first job. “I was pitching pitching and pitching, but not booking jobs.”
During that time, he dabbled again in rap and decided that if nobody was going to book him to make a video, he would make one for himself. This is how his first song and music video featuring footballer “Ian Wright” came to life. After putting out a few more tracks it became apparent that he was not earning enough. Although he loved rapping and writing lyrics, he went back to working for his brother’s company. But, little did he know this setback would lead to the biggest comeback he could imagine.
A little while after going back to work for Luti Media, he was given the opportunity to write up a video concept for Iggy Azalia’s “Fancy”, which he wrote on his phone at a pub in South London. He was then flown out to LA to help out on the video shoot and this is where he met his mentor, the famous Director X. During his time in LA he tried to use it as an opportunity to showcase his music but Director X was not interested in his music, rather in the way that he shot his videos. It was there that Director X decided to take him under his wing and thus the start of Daps’ career. Shortly after, he began to write pitches which won them the opportunity to direct videos for the likes of Little Mix, Whiz Khalifa, Jennifer Hudson and Iggy Azalea. “I went from just doing my own videos, to Iggy Azealia & Rita Ora – ‘Black Widow’. I didn’t do no low budget shoots; I didn’t do no mid budget shoots. I went from my own video to a half a million f*****g dollar video.”
The rest is history! Daps is in the early stages of what looks to be a promising career. If you head over to his Instagram page below, you’ll quickly see vivid images of his adventures around the world as he works behind the scenes on his latest videos. Most likely a Migos video. His story is truly one of rags to riches and shows that once you put your mind to something, despite numerous setbacks, anything is achievable and anything is possible. Flex God Daps is a great example.
Follow his journey below…