Mike Rebel is a rapper, hailing from South Central, Los Angeles who caught the bug for the art at a very young age. Since then he’s taken his craft to new heights. Fusing his eclectic style with animating partner, Ben Clarkson, Mike Rebel has featured artists like T-Pain and French Montana on his tracks.
Lo: Tell us about yourself and how you got your start.
MR: I started off [as] a poor kid from South Central LA. Since I could remember, I’ve always rapped. I had a crazy memory so I memorized rap songs my father would play. By age seven I was performing in the neighborhood events at the park. Local stuff.
Lo: What made you decide to animate your music videos? Why is this more appealing than your average live music video?
MR: I feel the gamers and the comic writers and animators are the pioneers for change. I play some of the adventure games and there are undeniable subplots of socially revolutionary concepts. These themes hide easily behind animation. I have similar intentions with my music. The visuals help me tell the story much less threateningly. Visually the whole first album is animated. There are episodes that tie the character to my real life and lots of social commentary. I’m hiding lots of shit in the animation.
Lo: What mark are you hoping to make on the industry/world with your music?
MR: I want to tell a good story. A moving story with microphone, with animation, with Hip-hop, with fashion. I can create the world with the story I’ll tell. I’m a storyteller. I can move the world with my story. I believe we all can. And we all do.
Lo: What is your process for animating your videos and how long does everything take?
MR: Fortunately, I have a visionary partner and animator, Ben Clarkson. The process runs pretty smoothly with us. He has an amazing team of animators and color guys etc. We start with the storyboard and after that he immediately brings back sketches for approval. After that’s approved, it’s a time game. One shot could take three days to animate; others less, others more. After about two weeks we have a video ready for review. After three weeks, the final.
Lo: How do you overcome creative blocks?
MR: When there is a strong team like the one we have, there are very few. Ideas flow. The problem becomes cutting ideas, really. COLLABORATION IS POWER!