With credits as a musician, actor, writer and director, it’s no shock that the multihyphenate creative known as Darnell Williams is the mastermind behind the camera and concept of his latest video, “F*ck Hollywood.” The cinematically crafted flick from the 12 Tone Music artist, who’s also directed works for notable hip-hop figures Big Sean and the late Mac Miller, is both mysterious and intriguing. “My inspiration was life in Hollywood, specifically the nightlight,” says Williams. “There’s always an experience to be had and something to get into. It’s a playground for those with vices who don’t mind crossing over to the dark side.” Beyond the definitive LA aesthetics, the engaging five-minute ten-second video reflects the MCs inner demons – fame, drugs, sex and alcohol. Williams puts the focus on storytelling, which is grounded in rock star reality, while the song and its funk-tinged beat serve as the perfect score. What starts off as young and reckless fun quickly turns into a gripping plot twist that alters the whole mood of the narrative. The result is an unexpected ending that begs for an extended version.
Darnell often takes obstacles he’s faced throughout his life and uses them to paint vivid pictures of his music and deliver a ton of quality content. Williams is always equipped with hard-hitting lyrics and outrageous, impressive visuals and today is no different as he returns with a video for his single “Porno.”
Back in 2016 Darnell first introduced us to his Porno EP with his single “Blown” and he later told Billboard, “I came up with the concept for ‘Porno’ midway into making my album. I realized all these songs I was putting out had a lot of real emotions and pain in them that otherwise I wouldn’t talk about, but for peoples’ entertainment I did. Same for porn stars, they might not necessary wanna do what they do, but for your entertainment they share their pain.” Now almost two years later we get to see things come full circle with this new visual. The video meets the bar set by his previous videos and sets the tone for the rest of Darnell Williams’ 2018.
Darnell Williams is extremely particular about his craft. A strategic perfectionist, the Los Angeles-based artist parlayed a successful career working on music videos for artists like Mac Miller and Big Sean to focus on his main interest—rapping—and meticulously working on songs that have led to his music being featured on HBO’s Silicon Valley and landing him the coveted official 2016 X Games Anthem with “One Spot.”
The Detroit native Williams has traveled a path of hardship to come through the other side. Knowing he wanted to be an emcee since the second grade, he was in a rap trio in high school that split when he went to college in Chicago to study film. During his first semester, he met Ill Roots founder Mike Waxx who encouraged him to move to New York City to film music videos. But after they moved to Los Angeles and he split from the company, he found himself broke and homeless, forcing him to move to South Central to sleep on the floor of a friend’s kitchen. “Fuck Hollywood” is an ode to his LA experience.
Darnell Williams is an emerging MC out of Detroit that refuses to play by the rules. He teamed up with electronic-influenced producer Elohim for his next single, “Porno.” The graphically titled song is now available on all major streaming services (Dec. 8). The fascinating combination of artists sees Williams explaining life’s harsh realities over the Los Angeles based producer’s icy synths.
The Detroit native refuses to be boxed into one genre with his experimental type of hip-hop, touching on issues some wouldn’t dare to go near. Speaking on the inspiration behind the track exclusively to Billboard, he explains, “I came up with the concept for ‘Porno’ midway into making my album. I realized all these songs I was putting out had a lot of real emotions and pain in them that otherwise I wouldn’t talk about, but for peoples’ entertainment I did. Same for porn stars, they might not necessary wanna do what they do, but for your entertainment they share their pain.”
The pair of creatives crafted an unconventional sonic that allows listeners to tap into their emotional psyche. The track’s opening words employ a simile comparing the adult entertainment industry to the harrows of life, “Life is like a porno, everybody getting fucked,” Williams raps. The track’s hook is catchy but dire: “You’re the love of my life, and it sucks that you’re killing me.”
Williams also pays homage to hip-hop legends UGK and JAY-Z, shouting out the turn-of-the-century classic “Big Pimpin” deeper into the record. Stream the eccentric tune below.
Rising rap star Darnell Williams explores controversial topics using racy visuals in the provocative music video for his single “Coney Island,” an 80’s MTV-style format that is best described as Britney Spearsmeets 2 Live Crew meets NWA. Williams, who started his career as a film director, now directs his own videos including “Coney Island.” A continuously unfolding orgasmic experience in which activism, racism and police brutality collide with twerking girls, guns and street culture, this eyebrow raising video spreads widely across generations. Williams paired the power of his artistic imagination with casual shit talking over a bass-laden beat, which illuminates the rapper’s magnetic confidence.