Ask a hundred rappers how to get famous, and chances are you’ll get a hundred different answers. Build street cred by selling drugs and flashing weapons. Polish the lyrical linguistics. Perfect the freestyle. Make a YouTube video. Have an uncle who’s a record producer. The list goes on, but very few rap artists – one, actually – can say they achieved any level of fame because James Franco played them in a movie or one of their music videos.
For his film Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine was influenced by the dreadheaded independent St. Petersburg, Florida rapper Russ “Dangeruss” Curry, whose video for his mixtape single “My Fork” caught Korine’s eyes and ears. He met with Franco, who tried to use “My Fork” in the film, but Dangeruss allowed him to use the song from the above video, “Hangin With Da Dopeboys,” and Franco certainly gives 8 Mile a run for its money when it comes to race-transcending characters who also rap.
The video for “Hangin With Da Dopeboys” wasn’t so much “directed” by James Franco as it was a compilation of footage that Franco shot of Dangeruss as the two spent an afternoon together. Here’s what Franco told MTV.com about the experience.
“Danger and I rapped onstage together for the film. It was a rush. We had an audience of hundreds on the beach, MTV style. It was my first live rap appearance. He led me through. I felt like a gangster. I didn't want the relationship with Dangeruss to end so I asked him if I could film him for a video. I liked the idea of shooting him doing his daily routine, simple and autobiographical like his music. He watched basketball, he drove over to his friend's house, they smoked blunts, they freestyled. Later, I flew Dangeruss to LA and we filmed more in the old movie palace downtown where Chaplin's "City Lights" had premiered. He was epic. This video is the result.”
Spring Breakers intrigued SXSW viewers, and was the number one grossing limited release last week at the same time Oz: The Great and Powerful held onto the number one spot at the regular box office. Will this have a larger effect on Dangeruss’ career than it already has? Time will tell, and it will use a slow Southern drawl when it does. Check out the drug references a plenty in the inspirational video for “My Fork” below.