88 Killa is the Don of Dallas in the new music video for his latest single “The Code,” directed by longtime friend and confidant Jeremy Biggers. The 29-year-old rapper explores his inner mob boss in the ’70s gangster film-inspired video.
Biggers even used the same iconic font that Francis Ford Coppola used for The Godfather in the video’s opening credits. Then the inimitable 88 Killa, né Donovan Payne, takes over the screen wearing his trademark white mink coat, sporting several gold necklaces and flanked by a trio of bona fide babes.
“I wanted it to look like I was Kill Bill and they were like my assassin squad or something,” Payne says. Well, mission accomplished, 88; Tarantino would be proud.
Shot on a Sony Alpha a7 II, Biggers drapes Payne in gorgeous red lighting while the rapper dines solo in Deep Ellum’s Mama Mia’s, making the pizzeria look like one of Tony Soprano's regular haunts. Biggers carries this mafioso vibe throughout the video by interspersing black and white photo stills of Payne.
“I incorporated the photos because I wanted it to feel like documentarian style, as well as — super loosely, but just like how sometimes the feds have photos of whoever they’re investigating,” Biggers says.
Sudie appears as a member of his assassin squad, hanging on his shoulder while looking almost too photogenic. The video also features YKK — whom Payne reverently calls “one of the world’s most interesting men” — singing the chorus in front of Payne’s BMW under a highway overpass.
Another model in the video is a friend of Biggers. He suggested they use her in the video, and now she and Payne are dating in real life. As Payne jokingly puts it: “Magic was made on set.”
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Throughout the song, Payne raps about jealous fuckboys trying to interfere in his life and about proving everybody who ever doubted him wrong. But what is the code itself, and what does it mean to live by it?
“It’s just like my morals,” Payne says. “You have your Jiminy Cricket that sits on your shoulder that tells you things like, ‘That’s not a good idea; that’s a good idea.’ I made that song in hopes that I’m not the only person living by the code.”
Biggers is in high demand as a music videographer, and he says he only agrees to shoot videos for songs that he would listen to himself. He and Payne have now worked on several together, and through that process they’ve built a strong relationship and mutual respect.
“I don’t really fight with [Biggers] about the vision,” Payne says. “I trust that as long as he doesn’t make me look ridiculous, to where like it’s laughable, where people are laughing at me instead of with me, then it’s cool. He hasn’t steered me wrong yet.”