Detroit-born director Lawrence Lamont making waves in music industry
DETROIT – It's the video that has been nominated for BET's Video of the Year, and most recently MTV's Best Hip Hop video by Big Sean, but many don't know that a Detroiter was the creative force behind it.
Meet 26-year-old Lawrence Lamont: a Detroit-born writer and director making a name for himself in the music industry by working with big names such as J. Cole, Big Sean, and Kanye West.
Lamont went to Southfield High where he was named prom king, loved acting and writing, and met Sean Anderson, otherwise known as Big Sean.
Extra web clip: Lamont talks about meeting Big Sean
"I'm fortunate," Lamont said. "I'm very happy."
Local 4's Karen Drew caught up with the busy director at one of his favorite hangouts -- the Mercury Bar in Corktown, Detroit.
"I guess I'm in the moment now, but I think in a few years I'll look back and be like, 'What? I was with Kanye West?'"
Lamont directed Kanye West in Big Sean's "IDFWU" video.
Extra web clip: Lawrence Lamont talks about directing Kanye West
The video has almost 80 million views on YouTube. So, how'd the idea for the video come along?
"Not only do you have to be playing football, you have to be the star quarterback," Lamont said about selling Big Sean on the idea. "You have to be down, you have to come back and be victorious."
Lamont told Drew about why his music videos are so different than typical hip hop style videos.
"I don't like music videos that are just normal. People rapping in front on the camera or girls dancing in the club," he said.
Another Big Sean video directed by Lamont, "I Know" had Big Sean and Jhene Aiko channel their inner senior citizens.
Lamont said he told Big Sean, "What if you and Jhene dress up as old people, break out of a retirement home and have a night on the town and come back young. He was like, 'Yeah.'"
Lamont also directed J. Cole's video for "G.O.M.D." which takes places on a slave plantation.
"We were literally two hours out of New Orleans on a sugar cane plantation from 1840. We made some magic with some amazing people," Lamont said.
So, what inspires him?
"Storytelling has been around since the beginning of time," Lamont said. "You know it's never going anywhere and music is so big, especially in the hip hop world, why not tell stories and have fun."
Lamont's father, Lawrence Lamont Sr., is a long time barber in Detroit.
"When he started getting involved in plays and putting on shows, I said, well, maybe he might have a little something going here," said Lamont Sr.
It's that love and support from family, Lawrence said, that gives him the ability to take chances.
"I want to make films," Lamont said. "I want to cross that Academy Award stage."
Lamont has already written eight feature films, we expect his next project to draw some big names.
In the meantime, the Hollywood director makes plenty of time to come home and visit.
"You can't teach passion and Detroit is a passionate place," Lamont said about Detroit's resurgence. "Everyone is a go-getter and won't stop until you know we have complete happiness."
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