DRE FILMS TALKS RICH FOREVER

DRE Films Talks Rick Ross’ MMG Takeover, Love For Visuals, And Gunplay

How does DRE Films find time to do an interview? It’s a random question that the man in charge of heading Maybach Music Group’s film and marketing division is struggling to answer. After all, when you are the visual brains behind arguably the most omnipresent rapper on the scene today, Rick Ross, you more than have your hands full. From directing videos (among the many clips Ross’ “Rich Forever” and “Yella Diamonds,” Meek Mill’s “Amen” and Wale’s “Ambition”) to overseeing MMG’s viral and blogging campaigns, DRE has built a praise-worthy reputation within the music business.

Now with the news that Rozay’s fifth album God Forgives, I Don’t is set to debut no. 1 with first week SoundScan sales of 220,000, DRE won’t be getting any sleep anytime soon. VIBE caught up with the visual talent to discuss his love for video direction, Rick Ross’ evolution as MMG’s boss, Gunplay’s swastika tattoo, why Meek Mill’s stardom was a surprise, and much more.—Keith Murphy

On other videos I did a lot of videos for Ross’ Rich Forever. ‘So Sophisticated’ ‘High Definition,’ ‘Yella Diamonds’, ‘Swear To God,’ Wale’s ‘Ambition’…Meek’s ‘House Party’ and ‘Amen’
Can you talk about the first time you met Rick Ross? What is your earliest memory of him?
The first time I met Ross was at a music video shoot that I was doing for Masspike Miles called “Street Judge.” This was in 2010 and I was surprised because Ross showed up out of nowhere. I didn’t know he was going to make a cameo. I’m just out in the middle of Carol City [in Miami] shooting and I see the Phantom pull up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on?’ [laughs]

That had to be nuts, right?
It was shocking. Just for me to know that from where I started in the game one of the biggest artists in the rap industry is coming to my set. And when Ross got there he was very cool and did what I asked him to do. And then he started shooting pointers at me like, “You have to put out a behind-the-scenes first, you have to push it like this…” Once he saw the video when it came out Ross approached me and told me he really loved it. He loved the concept and a lot of shots and told me he was going to make me rich [laughs]. That’s where it all started.

When did you know that your life would never be the same after you joined MMG and Maybach Films?
When I got a phone call from Ross and his manager Gucci Pucci asking me if I had a passport and if I was ready to go to Canada and start shooting for them. My first gig with Ross was the “BMF” video. We started shooting blogs and other music videos. That’s when it really started for me.

When did you know that Rick Ross had become a superstar?
When “BMF” came out. Everybody kinda knew he was the next star. And me being from Miami there are not a lot of acts from Miami on his level. So obviously, my goal as a director was to want to work with him. I started working with artists on his label and eventually I got his attention.

What kind of label boss is Ross? How has he evolved as a label head?
When I started with him, Meek [Mill] and Wale were not even on the label. There was some talk about it. But once everybody started coming on board I just saw Ross put on his boss hat and make sure all the necessary moves got executed. He was the one making sure all MMG artists had the right beats and the right features; that everybody was working is working and promoting their project. It’s incredible how Ross manages to come out with such a classic piece of work like God Forgives, I Don’t and at the same time he’s helping everyone else put out their projects like Wale’s Ambition and Meek Mill’s Dreams & Nightmares. It’s been great to watch.

Tell the truth…Ross has a clone, right?
[Laughs] It’s just crazy. Everything Ross touches turns to gold.

Does Ross have a secret hobby that we don’t know about? Is he a sick gardener; is he a monster at Monopoly?
Ross is unbeatable at Call of Duty! He is serious about that game. He whips everybody…I can’t even play against him anymore [laughs]. He is so disrespectful when he plays. He doesn’t care.

What was it about the art of video direction that inspired you to make it a career?
I was doing graphic design before this and my cousin Jon J, who is actually doing videos with me now and does a lot of stuff for Wale and Meek, he was an aspiring rapper. I had a camera one day and I think I had just started working with an iMac in 2009. It had iMovie and I told Jon, ‘Hey, I can shoot something. I can put something together if I can get through the tutorial.’ And we went out to the streets and we started shooting some scenes, and I spent two days editing this video. And it was the worst video I had ever did [laughs].

But I bet you thought it was the greatest thing ever put to film at that point, right?
Right! We thought it was the shit! I really enjoyed the time I spent outside driving around looking for shooting locations. I enjoyed the editing process. I got hooked after that. I started investing in myself and into cameras and its been on ever since.

Have you sat down recently to watch that video?
Yeah, I have. But it’s hard to find. Whenever I do see it I’m like, ‘Man…’

Some of your recent videos like Meek Mill’s ‘Amen’ and Ross’ ‘Yella Diamonds’ have been very controversial. Did you realize you were going to get push back from those clips?
Around that time we knew “Amen” was controversial. But I don’t think the video was controversial. I felt like the video was fun. There was no religious imagery in that video. We were just thanking God for the good times. And Meek was just thanking God for his success. He’s on tour with Drake and he’s flying in private jets. It’s a dream come true and a blessing. That’s really Meek’s lifestyle and there’s nothing fake about it. I think all the controversy came from that pastor trying to make a name for himself.

Before we get into ‘Yella Diamonds,’ are you shocked at how big Meek Mill has become within the hip-hop landscape?
When I first met Meek, I didn’t know he would become what he is today. I didn’t know of him when I first met him. That’s when he was just signing with Ross. And Ross told me during a video for DJ Khaled’s “In My Hood” to shoot “Ima Boss.” So I ended up shooting the viral version for it, but I didn’t know it was going to become that big. For me to be attached to that was crazy.

What was your reaction when the video for “Yella Diamonds” was banned from television?
I come from a background where I’m just hungry and willing to experiment. I just felt like for that record I had to bring Ross’ lyrics to life. And those lyrics are pretty raw. I wanted to get in there and make some people act. That’s the lane I’m going for. I’m preparing myself to direct a feature film.

What are some of your upcoming videos fans should be looking out for?
We have “911” off of Ross’ new album. We are writing a treatment right now for “Ice Cold” featuring Omarion. And I have a big surprise dropping this week.

Is it a clip for “3 Kings”?
[Laughs]…I’m not saying.

Hip-Hop has always been about characters. And one character that everyone seems to be talking about is Gunplay, who recently talked about his inspiration behind his swastika tattoo. Did you do a spit-take when dude was interviewed about his controversial ink?
All I can say is Gunplay is a unique individual. He’s very talented. The thing about Gunplay is people don’t see that kind of wild character in hip-hop today. People are attracted to that. He has that crazy, I-don’t-give-a-fuck energy.

So no comments on the swastika? You are good.
[Laughs] I’m not going to touch that one. I just feel like Gunplay is an underdog story. People saw him come from the bottom. All of a sudden people see him getting all this attention.

What’s the best part about being a part of the MMG team?
I’m just blessed to be in this game. I feel like I’ve helped to create a powerful movement. I’ve helped with the visuals and made sure we are consistent with the blogs and virals because it’s all about the fans. I’m proud of that. For me, it’s not just about being a director. You have to make sure the visuals are promoted in the correct way. I go extra hard on the promotions and marketing. I’m tweeting all day. I don’t want to put that in somebody else’s hands because it’s my project. I’m just doing what I love.

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Serena Williams Graces The Cover Of Her First Wheaties Box

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"Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second," she captioned. This honor makes her the fourth female tennis player and the first active tennis player since 2000 to be featured on Wheaties, as reported by ABC News.

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In 2001, Wheaties paid homage to a true champion and an icon by putting her on the cover of a Wheaties Box. Althea Gibson was the FIRST Black Woman tennis player to be on the box. Today, I am honored to be the second.

A post shared by Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) on Jun 25, 2019 at 6:00am PDT

"I have dreamt of this since I was a young woman and it's an honor to join the ranks of some of America's most decorated athletes," Williams said in a statement. "I hope my image on this iconic orange box will inspire the next generation of girls and athletes to dream big."

The recognition will be added to her immeasurable list of accolades which include 23 Grand Slam single titles and 14 double titles, as well as being named the Women's Tennis Association 'Player of the Year' seven times. Athletics is not her only accomplishment, as she also launched her own clothing line in summer 2018.

As many fans on social media have voiced, the professional's new praise is long overdue.

 

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White Man Blames Autism For Harassing Black Women Who Were Minding Their Business

A known troll on the web has taken his abilities to the next level as he reportedly harassed two young black women for drinking wine at a community pool.

The incident between Nick Starr-Street and Gaëlle Claude and her friend happened Sunday (June 23) in Hyattsville, MD when Starr-Street approached the women for drinking wine at a community pool at The Edition Apartments. Claude, who posted footage of the interaction on social media said they were taking photos and drinking when Starr-Street approached them. He told the women they were breaking the rules and continued to record them. One of the women is seen pushing his phone out of her face.

After the women tried to leave the area, Starr-Street called 911 and followed them for nearly a mile. "This white man literally stalked us from his apartment for damn near a mile just cause we were at the pool drinking wine and taking pictures," Claude said in her tweet about the incident. "Called the police and all...I cannot make this up smh."

This white man literally stalked us from his apartment for damn near a mile just cause we were at the pool drinking wine and taking pictures. Called the police and all...I cannot make this up smh pic.twitter.com/96tGTSykUZ

— sodium. (@BestFlaws) June 23, 2019

Claude goes on to say that she and her friend tried asking for help after Starr-Street began following them and calling them racists. "The whole time we were walking no one was trying to help us. Not one soul," she tweeted. "We were walking and telling people on the street the man was stalking/harassing and no one cared so yes we did ask for help and called security."

Starr-Street took to Facebook and claimed one of the women attacked him when she knocked the phone out of his hand and left him with a purple bruise on his chest. He also posted a 16-second video of the incident, though Claude's footage is much longer.

In addition to his claims, Starr-Street blamed his reported harassment on his alleged autism. "I’m autistic and lack a gauge that goes anywhere but 0 and 100," he posted. "When I see a lease violation, I call it out and do everything in my power to make sure it is resolved, no matter who is the person violating. 

My husband called 911 and they fled. I called 911 and chased after my attackers as I wasn’t going to let someone get away with physically assaulting me, again the autism thing where my sense of justice and right and wrong go right to 100%."

But there appears to be a trend in Starr-Street's behavior. The day before the incident with Claude and her friend, Starr-Street called the police on seven black women for playing music at the pool. The women also had a glass bottle at the pool but removed it after they were told by Starr-Street that it was a violation of their lease. Felecia Soso shared the incident on Twitter and said after the police were called, they showed their videos of Starr-Street's behavior and decided to leave the pool.

We are told to turn our music down so we do so.. and now it’s like barely playing we have food and drinks and are chilling talking (not loudly) and enjoying ourselves..

— Lil Fort Wash Posh (@SuggSavage) June 22, 2019

The Hyattsville Police Department posted a statement on their Facebook page but did not arrest anyone in either incident.

Since the incident, Starr-Street claims he has been called a racist for his behavior. "That’s where we are today. We will seek as much justice as possible, but our apartment has been vandalized, the apartment complex has been vandalized and we’ve been called the worst horrific things imaginable," he said. "So many death threats. All of which are far worse than anything falsely alleged by these women."

Starr-Street has a history of spewing hate speech towards Jewish people and the LGBTQIA+ community. In 2016, he reportedly made an insensitive comment towards Roxxxy Andrews just days after the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub. The tweet read, "Seriously @RoxxxyAndrews? Isn't she a has-been not a star? Where her people at? I thought they were all shot."

Celebrities like Kathy Griffin have defended the women as well as many others who have questioned Starr-Street's actions. Claude is currently seeking legal counsel against Starr-Street.

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Cardi B Pleads Not Guilty In Strip Club Fight Case

Cardi B reportedly pleaded not guilty to felony assault charges in connection to an alleged fight that took place at a New York City strip club, Reuters reports. The rapper appeared in at the New York Supreme Court in Queens on Tuesday (June 25).

The plea comes shortly after the "Press" artist was indicted for the alleged incident. As previously reported, Cardi is accused of facilitating a hit on two bartenders at the Angels Strip Club in Queens, New York in Aug. 2018. According to reports, Cardi ordered to associates to attack the two women with bottles and chairs.

Following her indictment, Cardi B participated in the 2019 BET Experience, where she told fans that she would not be going to prison. "I ain’t going to jail," she told the audience. "F **k you mean? I ain’t going to jail, I got a daughter!"

 

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After being indicted #cardib says....

A post shared by 945TheBeat (@945thebeat) on Jun 23, 2019 at 2:27pm PDT

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