DG Yola - Ain't Gon' Let Up


Project info: Music Video
Artist: Yola
Song Title: "Ain't Gon' Let Up"
Director: Edwin Decena

"Ain’t Gon Let Up" music video will be the world's cinematic introduction to Yola. The video will go beyond Yola’s narrative and serve as the new anthem for all those “on the come up” that ‘ain’t gon’ let the haters stonewall their progress.

Shot on Super 16mm, the look of the film will have a raw, and grimey feel that will allow us to capture Yola’s gritty, street persona. This video will feel strikingly real, giving the viewers access into an ‘Atlanta’ that isn’t shown in the standard hip-hop videos.

The video will unfold in a short story that will all revolve around Yola’s vibrant performance. Yola takes us on a tour of the “A”, where the haters are easy to spot but the love and respect for his grind is very much admired.

First Verse (Intro on the Block)
We open with a shot of Yola inside of a low-scale recording studio. Standing in front of a worn out mic stand he stares into his reflection in the booth’s glass window. A series of brief insert shots of a dingy dat player, tv monitor, and old flyers on the wall let us know that this is a “hood lab”. The camera will be tracking around him, very slowly and smoothly, a very intense and cinematic close-up in the dark that has Yola doing a performance in a real location and having him appear against darkness, with brighter pools of light orbit slowly around him. Inside the booth Yola performs the lyrics of the song in a soft narrative style. He seems reflecting on all the trials he’s encountered. The angle will be very low, with a very long lens that will make the scene extremely cinematic and emphasize his passion, sincerity, and heart.

This will be part of the narrative in the beginning of the video, but we will continue to return to this scene throughout the video, and every time we return the coverage will be progressively more heartfelt and passionate, with closer and closer shots of him, building toward the finale.

We cut to slo-mo shots of Yola making his way through the isle of a ‘hood’ grocery/convenient store. We see an old man, wearing a approving look, sitting near the door peering through his newspaper. The old man is checking out Yola’s clothes, and sneakers. The old man respects seeing Yola on grindmode. Yola notices the favoring man staring and on his way out of the store, he gives the man a smirk and keeps it moving.

Outside the store, Yola makes his way through the block. The haters are everywhere. They tap one another and make negative gestures towards Yola. As Yola walks by, he pulls out a handful of mixed cd’s from his knapsack. He goes up to the fellows posted up and tries to get them off to them. The fellows are not having it, they brush him off ,and in an attempt to embarrass Yola, they toss one of his CDs to the ground and start laughing. Yola glares at the haters. Two-seconds away from smacking the taste out violating hater’s mouth, the old man from the store comes out and breaks it up. He tells Yola to move on. Reluctantly Yola grabs his knapsack and moves on. As soon as he leaves, the haters start to clown Yola about his gear and his reaction to seeing his CD being tossed to the ground.

Chorus (through the projects)
We cut to a transition scene of a young child (Junior) running and weaving through the empty staircases of an abandoned housing complex. As he runs up to Yola, Yola playfully slaps the Junior on his head. Junior keeps running past him on his way home. While walking through the hood, a lively Yola performs the hook of the song, while looking from side to side catching all the faces in the cut. Everyone in Yola’s hood feels the kid. Yola represents all their struggles, and he’s admired in this hood for that. This performance scene will be a dynamically covered sequence, poignantly capturing Yola’s raw energy. Yola makes his way into the bedroom of his apartment. He sees his brother Junior bouncing on the bed. Yola lets his knapsack down and sits on the bed as he shoos his little brother off. As he lays on the bed, Yola picks up a pair of headphones and begins to zone out.

Second Verse (Put your middle fingers up!)
We will introduce an alternate cameo-laced performance scene over a highly visual, notorious ATL landmark, where everyone will recite the infectious chorus, while “Putting their middle fingers up”. This performance scene will be slicker: being more vibrant and crisper than the narrative sequences. We intercut between the alternate performance and the narrative sequences. As the song progresses, we start to see the fruit of perseverance. On the strip, we see Yola on his hustle game. The mixed CD’s are moving, the ladies who come up and down the block are feeling his swag. We cut to insert shots of CD’s being passed and money exchanging. In a seamless transition we move on to a new day. We see Yola in fresh new gear but he’s still on his mixtape grind but things are obviously getting better for him.

Chorus (the deal)
We cut to an exterior shot of the projects. It’s a brand new day. As he walks down the stairs, He sees Junior sitting on the stoop. A boy slightly older than Junior teases him about his football jersey. He’s pulling on Junior’s jersey trying to peep the bootleg tag. Yola shoos him off and let’s his brother know that he shouldn’t let the haters get to him. Yola slides off.

We cut to Yola exiting the same Grocery store from earlier in the piece. But it’s obvious that this isn’t the same Yola. Posted up in front of the same store, D.G. Yola appears majestic. The old man comes out of the store and gives Yola a congratulatory pound. A few seconds later, a customized old school pulls up to pick up Yola. Yola gets in and the car eases off the lot. As he passes through the lot, Yola spots the same haters who didn’t give him the time of day and tried to clown him months earlier. This time, Yola makes sure he has their undivided attention. As the car slowly pulls up, the haters bob their heads as if to say “What up?!” Yola smiles and pauses for a while. After a few seconds, with a grin on his face, he throws his middle finger up to them. The old man laughs hysterically and the haters just stand their stupidly.

This video will serve as an explosive introduction of Yola to the mainstream. With striking cinematography and highly visual settings, this piece will serve as a proper visual compliment to the blazing track. The narrative story will allow the viewers to empathize with the character and engage everyone in joining in and chant the words to the anthem.

The final effect will be accomplishing, this is the true grinder’s anthem.