Q&A with Anthony Mandler, Director of Drake’s ‘Over’ Video

Drake

Last week on a closed Los Angeles set, Drake filmed the video for “Over,” the first single from his much-anticipated debut album Thank Me Later. The Canadian rapper-singer placed his trust in Anthony Mandler (Jay-Z, Rihanna) to direct a pivotal moment in his fledgling career.

Rap-Up.com dialed up the man calling the shots to pick his brain about the visuals to the song everyone’s talking about, crafting an iconic image for hip-hop’s breakout star, the most intimidating artist he’s worked with, and how the “Run This Town” director has had enough of the Illuminati innuendos.

How did you and Drake connect?
I’m a big fan of Drake and I was really excited when he called me about doing it, and really put a lot into making it special and capturing what I think is an image he hasn’t had yet. Here’s a guy whose lyrical presence does not equal his visual presence yet, by any means. That’s something that he and I spoke a lot about. He felt strongly that nobody had really captured him, and some of the videos that had been done were less iconic than he would like to be represented as.

What’s your thought process when approaching a video?
In all honesty, I don’t really care what other people have done with somebody. If I did, I would put myself in a lane with other people. To my failure or my success, I always want to do something different, so you look at “Run This Town” or “Russian Roulette,” and it’s always about trying to separate and move the needle over. I’m not saying that he made bad videos, I’m just saying that I wanted to do something different with him. I really like to get on the phone, get in person, really kind of talk it through with the artist, and really try to understand where the song came from, what’s their overall story, who are they, what’s the character, and how does that relate.

What struck you about Drake?
This guy’s story is so fascinating. Here you have a half-black, half-Jewish kid. You got a kid that’s on a really accessible TV show, but in two years he’s the hottest thing in the streets. You got a guy that is living all the fantasies out at every level, but he is also a really humble kid and wants to have a family and live a normal life. He’s a kid who’s conflicted, and one thing he said to me in the first conversation that was so poignant, he referenced that line from “Successful”: “I want the money, cars, and the clothes…” and then he says, “I suppose.” It’s like that self doubt. It’s so refreshing that he’s confident, but he’s not arrogant. I think that dimensionality is so important in a genre that is very one note with words like “bravado” and “swagger” and “arrogance” and “promiscuity.” Here’s a guy that’s finally putting a duality to the words and saying, “Yeah, I have all that and I do all that, but I’m also somebody that’s asking, is that what I should be doing with my life?”

Is there added pressure working with an artist with such great expectations?
More than Jay-Z or Rihanna or Beyoncé or Kanye? No. I feel pressure working with artists because I have their careers in my hand. I feel pressure working with artists because they’re entrusting me with something as important as their image, which in a way is almost as important as the music.

Who’s the most intimidating artist to direct?
There’s nobody more intimidating than Jay-Z. There’s nobody who puts you to it more than Jay, as far as accountability and doing what you say, and creating the video that you say you’re gonna create. He’s the master of getting performance out of people on the other side of the camera. He really demands the best and I love that. The last thing I wanna feel is that an artist cares less than I do.

What can you tell us about the concept for Drake’s “Over” video?
I can tell you that it’s not gonna be what you expect. Drake and I were very conscious about trying to push the limits and trying to push things forward. He came to me because he wanted to throw away the conventions of a medium, and take chances and be daring and take certain themes that are relevant to him and try to visualize them in not the obvious way.

Did he have a lot of input?
We spoke at length about his whole story, about the concept of the record, he played me some other tracks, sent me some images, and I went back and did my own images, and started to craft a treatment and voilà. We kinda just met head on. We work really closely and he has Oliver, who’s his creative director. Oliver is a really smart casemaker and he comes in and lends a third opinion. It was a great collaboration between the three of us. There was very little label influence.

Is it true he wears all white in the video?
Not true. Don’t start going at me with symbolism and Illuminati and all types of stupid shit. Can you imagine what they’d say if I started putting people in all white? I’m already the “satanic, devil-worshiping Illuminati, Jewish kid from L.A.” People are so bored.

When can we expect to see the final product?
Probably within two weeks.

Drake and Anthony Mandler

Drake on the set of “Over” with Anthony Mandler. Via October’s Very Own.



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15 Comments

  1. Jeffery J-Boe

    I Think This “Over” Video Will Be An Amazing Video For Drake’s Career, and Choosing Anthony Mandler For The Director Is Really Saying He Wants Something Different, But Brilliant… Congratulations On The Success, and Drake For 2010.

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  2. Brice

    Can’t wait for it!it’s gonna be amazing!!!!
    Anthony mandler is the best for me.

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  3. Pyro The SPace Boy

    Choosing Anthony i feel is a great move for drake. stepping out of the box and doing something different is always a plus

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  4. JAmEl MixKid

    this video is goin to be really hot i know it..over is already a hot song

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  5. Jordanking2311

    I think this is going to be the beginning of a new beginning for Drake. This is the season to kill all of the competition with this one album and show that this kid is really something special. I think this video will give Drake fans & others something to be shocked about and will boost how people view him as a artist. This is his first main stream CD and I bet that is going to be a classic like Nas illmatic album.

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  6. sipho

    Thats whats up

    [Reply]

  7. Justin aka big j

    Yo y’all flowin off the passisv bouta/still thinking  bout the past but the past have past away/still thinking bout every day goin
    by /still thinking y my big cuz gota die/so wen I’m stressing all I do is try to  ryme  but I feel like Im jus wastin my time/n then I sit backwita phat l  tryin to figure out how to get outa this hell/well// I relize dat my words is realy tite/wen I  no most things i do realy ain’t rite/ well im slowin down my flows bouta egnite /now im bouta  spit about dis real life /n ya no how my flow goes down in blo it’s real slow but the hoes already no how 716 boys go://
    Now I got 1 more shot to shine 1 more line to ryme yeah boy uno it’s time/now I’m bouta blow up like a proxy mine/i started puffin on dat  tree wen I was nine /by 13 ma said it was fine/I was a young boy slangin dem dimes/or da nicks on a riverside block hitten dem liks/Type of kid to get bread quick/yeah/so u better slow it down be4 u get ya u top knocked loose like a tooth//Now all  I spoken was da truth I’m bouta hit dis booth nd make another song to show ya boys dat I’m  the truth:// 

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  8. Justin aka big j

    Ima young kid from bufflalo NY.jus tryin ta get heard.my dad in jail my mom is gone n live wit my gma.n the only thing tats goin good in my life is my rymes. So comment on my rap in let see wat ya think .I got plenty more to..it’s Justin reppin 716 NY aka big j get at me

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  9. Justin aka big j

    I spit dat to the drake fear beat

    [Reply]

  10. Sexiiiredbone

    Drizzy is tha best.I cant wait 4 his new vid cuz i kno it will be hot!=D

    [Reply]

  11. cam

    drake is that nigga. his album is gon put him over the top. im coppin 4 copies. he realy is the best rapper alive

    [Reply]

  12. Rosa

    It’s quite amazing how he progressed so fastly. He makes other toronto rappers believe if they put their mind to it they can accomplish it. As for this video im sure its going to number one on BET for weeks and ofcourse their will always be negativety out there but drake has a good head on his shoulders, i doubt he will listen to anyone when it comes to taking chances.Also OLIVER with his business downtown and hes creative aspects on drakes career im sure hes going to be known very soon and very successful i might add. Keep it up boys.

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  13. bullets

    he picked a really good director i know the videos going to be good and he’s right about drakes other videos if his songs weren’t so good i would of looked at him like a dick

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  14. David Bennett

    i think drake is very talented from a influential aspect in terms of writing and structure he is witty at most in a few years he will be a lot better when it comes to the features he chooses to be a part of but to show me potential he would have to really start listening to a wide variety of other artists like charles hamilton and j. cole to further distance himself because there are a lot of great artists out there and even more that are where he was a few years ago and there only gaining ground drake is a very skilled vocalist but he will have to become a better lyricist

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  15. Kit

    Drake is different, his raps actually mean something:)
    he’s a good rapper, He’s young and already making it big!
    He is inspirational, and many people look up to him.
    The fact still remains that he has a lot of competition, but as he continues to gain many more loyal fans, he’ll make it to the top. This ‘over’ video was more than i actually expected, its like an abstract painting, it can be whatever you want it to be, it just depends on your point of view.

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