If you pay any attention at all to Dallas hip-hop, there is a good chance you’ve already seen one of Dance Dailey’s music videos. His directorial resumé includes visuals for Tay Money, Lil Brook, S3nsi Molly, and The Outfit, TX. Dailey’s signature is his talent in capturing Dallas hip-hop culture for the screen: Shag haircuts, lifted Crown Victorias, and Rudy’s Chicken make frequent appearances. His work acknowledges the cultural and social signifiers of the city’s Black and Latinx communities, making him one of the most sought-after directors in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Dailey has spent the last 10 years building his portfolio locally. He remains humble as he describes his transition from recording music and dancing to directing, a scope of work he credits with informing his approach to direction. His style, intimate and organic, places the viewer in a close relationship with the artist. Take, for instance, “Work Witcha,” which puts you on a sunny basketball court with Tay Money and her friends. Dailey’s videos are equal parts interactive and participatory; his purpose is to insert you in the artist’s way of life.
You can find him jigging with the camera while filming a video for The Outfit, TX. He has edited Tay Money’s latest videos to feature 1950s-inspired pop art captions that accent the Dallas rapper’s colorful lyrics. Dailey wants to create a Dallas signature in each of his hip-hop music videos. Despite having a roster that includes many of the region’s hottest talents, Dailey said he has plenty others he would like to work with: Go Yayo, Trapboy Freddy, Kaash Paige, and LilRonnyMothaF. He already has a project queued up with the latter, who rose to regional prominence after the hit “Circle.”
We spoke with Dailey about his videography style, the city’s dance hip-hop culture, and his desire to work with more experimental artists like Teezo Touchdown.
Tay Money and The Outfit, Texas are your two most frequent collaborators. Would you consider them your muses? Mel, the leader of The Outfit, TX. That’s my brother. Him and I have a great relationship. When it comes to videos, I’m his right hand man. He does a great job at bringing something to the table. He’s the main person I shoot with.
Me and Tay have known each other for a long time. I shot “Trapper’s Delight,” the video that really popped it off. After that, she stays coming back to me, stays real, and a genuine person.
I’m familiar with Mel. I’ve interviewed him a couple of times in the past. It’s funny because I didn’t even know I was watching your videos, until I did research for this interview. That’s crazy, a lot of people say that. Except for four videos and his earlier ones, I have shot most of his videos.
On Instagram, you started to inform followers about a specific type or shot or editing style in your recent videos. Are you moving into directing as your primary focus? Over the years, I calmed down to work on directing. Four years ago, I was doing too many things at once. Now, I want to focus on directing, because it’s the hardest part. Coming up with angles, ideas, and shots has been my focus lately. Hopefully, I’ll achieve an accolade in directing.
What accolade would you like to one day receive with your directing? Man, that’s a hard question. I haven’t thought of that. Definitely, a well organized short film that inspires people and changes the world. If it’s not an Oscar, then a local award. That’s one thing that I really want to accomplish.
In your video for “Ode 2 The Skyline,” Mel tours Dallas-Fort Worth, from the Dallas Morning News office to The Parks Mall in Arlington. The song’s lyrics and the video’s narrative both highlight not only the city, but the region’s landmarks. Do you use music videos to archive the city’s culture? Everyday, Mel and I huddle and talk abut the importance of leaving that message behind. Those videos live on YouTube forever. People see those videos and are impacted by them. That’s something him and I talk about all the time. He’s been helping me find myself and making sure This Is Dallas, making sure we bring this back home. I can definitely thank my brother Mel for that. We hope to continue to bring that energy.
Dance is integral to the city’s hip-hop culture. The current trend of TikTok culture reminds me of Dallas dances. You have an eye for detailed shorts that highlight dancers in the background and the environment, like the shot of Desoto High School in “Ode 2 The Skyline.” Because of my background in dance, I know the energy of the song. That allows me to get different angles that people overlooked. I play with the song’s beat, the hi-hats, the 808s, the lyrics. I’m telling you, Mel and I got a great thing going. We’re trying to elevate the culture and show people what we stand for.
Your relationship with Mel reminds me of Funkmaster Flex’s comparison of The Notorious B.I.G and Diddy to Robert De Niro and Martin Scorsese in Biggie: I Got A Story To Tell, the Netflix documentary. In the digital era, I think a lot of people want to make it seem, like “it’s just me.” For me, it’s definitely a team effort, you can’t achieve an Oscar or Grammy without a great team. I definitely see Mel and I as Puff and Biggie, or any great duo in rap. When you got something good, why waste it? You know, just keep doing it.
I know you have a list of artists to work with, but I feel like you should be on a lot of artists’ list of directors to work with. I think he [God] wants me to work with avant grade artists, who are really artists. I think by the end of the year something crazy is going to pop off. I think I’m going to work with an artist that is going to set the tone.
I would love to see a Teezo collaboration. When I think of avant garde artists in Texas, I think of him. Everybody wants to do live videos because of him, because his aspect is putting a microphone up and doing it live. A lot of people want that. I’ve definitely been watching him for the last couple of months. He’s exactly what I call an artist and who I want to work with. I’m a firm believer in respecting artists, because he’s doing amazing with who he’s working with. We’ll see. That would be definitely be dope.
In an Okayplayer article, Teezo spoke about how he loves Dallas and the city’s rap. You know, a lot of people are huge fans of us. We just get pushed underwater. That’s why I’m trying my best to be the artist I am because that’s what Dallas really needs. It needs some different—it needs someone impactful, like another Erykah Badu. If Erykah Badu was just putting on for Dallas, just super, super hard, it would be that. People would respect it more. But a lot of people didn’t know Erykah Badu was from Dallas until, like, “Window Seat.” That’s when she started to put in ‘I’m from Dallas,’ which is dope, but I’m trying my hardest to stay strong and definitely help people get to that next level.
That stepping stone. You’re not the first to bring that up about the city and Erykah. That’s what makes me so happy to see artists like Erica Banks, Enchanting, Kaash Paige. They’re out and visible. I love seeing this resurgence of “nah, it’s just not Houston.” We have a culture. There’s so much talent out here, that’s over-washed. All they need is a button pushed. I have a list, I work with an artist named Tye Harris, an Oak Cliff artist that can sing opera. How many artists do you know that can sing opera and rap on a track? We just need that button pushed for them, so they continue to grow. There’s tons of that in Dallas.