Talking Tulsa: My Conversation with Caleb Tyrrell

Caleb Tyrrell, a prolific and intriguing music video director from Tulsa, had this to say about the burgeoning hip-hop scene in Green Country:

“While Tulsa rap doesn’t quite have a totally unique sound yet, the rollout for recent artists’ newest projects has been impressive, and there’s always stuff happening.”

With dynamic and driven young artists like Parris Chariz, Jarry Manna, Hakeem Eli’juwon, ChasingRyan, Medisin, and St. Domonick, Tulsa is serious about music. And there’s no loss in confidence in any of these artists either. The production and charisma at the middle of tracks like “Blue Magic” by Dom and “Dip Sauce” by Parris Chariz and Medisin highlight what makes the Tulsa rap scene so interesting, and it parallels Sam Presti’s now-famous creed: Scared Money Don’t Make None. These guys aren’t holding anything back, and one man in the middle of it all is Caleb Tyrrell, whose music video catalog features videos directed for St. Domonick, Jarry Manna, and soon-to-be many more.

Here is our conversation about rap, Tulsa, and his future.

I’ve seen that you’ve been all over the place lately, like Los Angeles last week presumably filming a music video. What are you up to?

Well, aside from my modeling, which was sort of how I originally got into the scene, I’ve been booking music videos, storyboarding, and getting those done. Honestly, this week has been crazy for me. I got back from LA just a few days ago, and “Track 4” dropped a year ago, Feb. 15, 2018. It’s crazy to see how much that changed my life.

Speaking of “Track 4,” which is a legitimately fantastic music video, there are inspired moments in the video like the “In My Mind” interlude in the middle, and scenes driving around Tulsa. What was that process like? Who was involved?

I met Dom (St. Domonick) while modeling in Tulsa in December 2017, two months before that video, which dropped a year ago on February 15. It was random as hell, but it just kind of worked. “Track 4” was my vision, but Ian Dooley, who did the camera work, was great. Couldn’t have happened without him.

As for the vision, and how that comes together, it starts with listening to the song over and over. I have to think how each part of the song looks to me. And “Track 4” just reminded me of an evening in Tulsa, so that’s the direction we decided to go. I think it worked out.

Before we talk a little more about Dom and other Tulsa artists, when and why did music videos pique your interest?

Remember those mornings where you would turn on MTV and VH1 and just watch music videos for hours? That did it for me. I distinctly remember seeing A$AP Rocky’s “Peso” video and was fascinated by how cool it was. I really wanted to do something like that, and “Peso” was when I realized I think I actually could.

Do you have a favorite music video or music video director? 

This is such a tough question, but honestly, there are three I can think of right now that really stand out. One is the “Runaway” short film, another is “In Da Club,” and, you know, the one that has stuck with me recently was “A$AP Forever.” It’s so, so good. A$AP Mob deserves so much credit in the way they influenced me.

One thing I know about you, and this intersects with A$AP Rocky too, is that you are as cognizant about fashion as you are rap. Why do you think rap and fashion have a, for lack of a less pretentious word, symbiotic relationship?

Fashion has always played a key role in music. What artists wear helps illuminate whatever vibe they are going for. In the case for rap, I think they have more success in the fashion world than anybody else. Really, over any other career field in recent years. Rappers are the new athletes. Guys like Kanye and Travis made that happen. You know, back in the 90s it was all about athletes. Obviously, Jordan. But with Kanye’s Nikes, and now Adidas, and what Travis is doing with Jordan, that relationship with rap and fashion is at an all-time peak.

Where can people see your shoe collection?

Right here.

Nice. So, you’ve directed and posted four music videos to YouTube. Can you tell me a little bit about each of those?

“Track 4” is something I’m so thankful for. It’ll be a year this Friday.

Collect” was next. I did it for Jarry Manna, and honestly, he’s so good. I think he’ll blow up, too. It was cool playing around with a green screen for that one.

NEVA EVA LAND” was a continuation of that green screen technology. The name and everything led me to implement Peter Pan, so in terms of coming up with a vision, it was the most seamless process.

Silver Lining” was the first time I went somewhere for this. This was in Nashville, and just last week I was in LA. It’s really kind of insane.

On a much smaller scale, I’m sure, I feel a different relationship with the music after I write about it. How do you feel about the music you make videos for, after hours and hours of time with them?

It’s a weird feeling. By the final stretch of the process, I’m almost sick of it. When the video is finished, it’s different. The song has a complete visual that goes with it, and every time I listen to the songs again, I see everything I did for it.

It’s impossible not to close my eyes and see the work I did.


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