We had the good fortune of connecting with ocho and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi ocho, what do you attribute your success to?
Two things. First, my passion for Rap music. I was a rapper for over 20 years, so I understand the struggles to establish your brand as an upcoming rapper, and as a consumer of the culture, I know how it looks and feels. I have rapped, produced, and DJed but didn’t have the resources to make rap music videos, so I enjoy staying within my lane and being thankful that I can do it now.
Second, the pre-production process I use for my music videos. Cinematography is a beautiful but complicated art. I decided I would implement the professional pre-production process that you have on big-budget music videos from the beginning (even if I’m not paid for it) because that would help refine it and navigate comfortably when I do get a big budget.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a full-time Hip Hop head and filmmaker. I was a Rapper for 2o years, and I started as a content creator making videos for different brands in 2014. I took 2 of the things I’m passionate about and began creating Rap music videos in 2020ish. My biggest flex is being able to create a visual concept for a song to enhance how it feels and complements it while making it entertaining. I’m not sure if getting here was “hard” since I get to work with stuff I love and enjoy doing. It was a process, especially a mindset shift, going from only consuming media for my entertainment while working a 9 to 5 versus dedicating that time to learning new skills and staying consistent. I got to enjoy the learning process, that aha moment when you find that nugget of information that will help you move forward.
The best lesson I’ve learned as a freelancer is if you get hired for $200, you work like you’re getting paid $500. I feel like many videographers in the music video industry are doing themselves a disservice by not developing themselves and having that $500-Imma-do-the-minimum-music-video mentality.
The way I look at it is that this is not their music video only, it’s mine too. As a rapper, when you’re working on a feature with another artist, you want to give it your best because your name is on the line. I apply the same mentality to my music video work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This will be boring for most people, but here we go… As a Dominican rapper for half my life, you can expect 99% of my friends to be Dominicans who rap or like Rap music. Every day I will take them to iconic Hip Hop places like the ODB mural in Brooklyn, 1520 Sedgwick Ave, Brownsville, and places we used to hear about in Rap songs as we grew up (this depends on who their favorite rapper is). Next, a real NYC dinner experience like Gyros (I love Gyros!) or other street food places. If there are any Hip Hop live shows we are pulling up as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the unconditional, full support of my lovely Mother. My friends Ambush El Joven Lavoe for trusting my vision and allowing me to experiment with his music videos from the beginning (even when we had to stay on set until 3 am to get that shot). Also, a shoutout to MC Joha, who took me under his arm when I first got to NYC and showed me the best locations whenever I had a new project. Thanks to those who have supported me and trusted my skills to make visuals for their songs.