In hip-hop, over the years we got used to seeing weird videos. Recently, however,a new winning formula has emerged: some crazy ideas, few locations and a lot of editing. We can say with certainty that it’s now a trend to make videos with distorted effects and insane graphics (has anyone seen Sickomode video? It’s so over-edited!). Who started it? The one and only Cole Bennett. Let’s see together who he is, his story and everything he built.
The origins of Lyrical Lemonade
Even if you don’t know it, if you’ve been keeping up to date with hip-hop music videos, chance are you’ve already seen some of Cole Bennett’s works.
In September 2016, Cole Bennett was reading his Instagram DMs when a crazy notification popped up. It was Quavo with a short message: ‘Need to shoot some bro.’ At first, Bennett was so confused that he didn’t think it could actually be the Migos star, but after checking the profile he realized it was really him. After that, Bennett went on to edit Migos’ walk-out video for their tour spot with Future and DJ Khaled. Then, he also shot and directed their still unreleased video for ‘Out Yo Way.’
The 21-year-old creative is at the helm of his own underground rap media empire, Lyrical Lemonade. The crazy fact is that when Bennett started the blog in his mom’s house, he just wanted to it to be a Chicago thing, the place where his favorite music came.
After Bennett graduated high school, he moved to Chicago and enrolled at DePaul University, where he majored in Digital Cinema. College posed barriers to a craft that Bennett had been quietly working on for years, and he found himself in a program that wasn’t geared to his approach to filmmaking. Because of that, he decided to drop out the mid-sophomore year and focus his efforts full-time on Lyrical Lemonade.
At the time, his channel was already a major player in the Chicago scene, bolstering a network of buzzing rappers across the country. One of his first moves was to host open cyphers including a series called ‘Chicago’s Biggest Cypher, Ever.’ The cyphers were open to anyone.
“Everyone would come together and people would start connecting there, like a networking platform we had there. It was a way for everyone to be heard.”
He said about the cyphers.
Over the course of his brief career, Bennett’s videos have helped define the murky, freewheeling aesthetic of the latest wave of underground rappers. His videos for Famous Dex, Lil Pump, Smokepurpp, Lil Xan and Lil Skies have all clocked millions and millions of views. Most were all shot in a day, run-and-gun style, with little or no budget, and edited and animated by Bennett either on the road or from his home studio.
“One of the most important things in a good music video is colors, having the perfect palate. Colors portray moods and the general aesthetic of a song. If it’s a fun song but laid-back, I like to bring out blues and greens, to have a vintage touch like Napoleon Dynamite. For something that’s super fun but distorted, you might think of the 1970s: bright colors with weird twists, or the 1990s or early 2000s, with silver, black or lime green, when aliens were big. The color process is important, it can be something as simple as the intro text, but it’s easy to mess it up.”
He said about his style.
Over time, Cole created something unique and never seen before. First of all, unlike many other filmmakers, every video he directs is uploaded to his channel, and not in the artists’ ones as it usually happens. Moreover, its channel has become in practice a springboard for new artists.
In conclusion, Lyrical Lemonade isn’t just a channel. Cole Bennet has built an empire behind him, which starts from an independent record label with a roster full of artists up to an agency that organizes events and live shows.
The numbers are huge, but did he deserve it? What do you think about his style and his roster?