Y’all got a new friend! Morris The Friend. His “Stalk Me” video got the most feedback from June’s #StyleTheBeat round-up, so I reached out to the artist to (s)talk with him about styling choices in his cool video collection for the Khadija EP. All five videos were directed by Brandon Espy and self-styled by Morris. We go shot by shot with behind-the-scenes gallery at the end!
How did this collaboration come about?
When I just had the rough unmixed songs from Khadija, I went around playing it for people. Most of them didn’t understand what I was on to. Not everybody can see the vision before it’s polished, but Brandon did. He’s one of my closest friends and happens to be a horror movie director. He asked to shoot a video for me. I said no. He had never shot a music video! And in the end, he didn’t shoot this like it’s a music video. What I saw as a flaw ended up being what set our work apart.
In “Stalk Me”, how would you describe the different style personas of your character?
Brandon is the creative mind behind the videos. I just show up with the clothes and say the words. I’ll let him dig into this question.
Brandon Espy: When I first listened to it, I heard two Morris’. I heard an optimistic, hopeless romantic spilling his heart out to a woman and a seasoned vet in the game dishing his magic to save this ending relationship, once again. I knew that the hopeless romantic had to be bigger in physicality, similar to a musical. He’s professing his infatuation in the street for the world to see. The seasoned vet is too jaded to act outside of a composed state. He’s too smooth and no one can match his confidence. In his eyes, she ain’t leavin’.
And what is the brand/designer for that great suit?
Yo, that olive suit was a wild find. Love the color. Olive looks good on black people’s skin. I got it from ASOS. I got the suit tailored perfectly but I was on a juice diet and lost more weight. The pants were falling off of me in the video. I think we even clipped the back.
In “Orange Room”, what is the story behind the all-white Nike look?
The whole set in the video is orange, even down to the orange shag rug. With so much orange I spent days thinking about what color could complement it. It would have been too easy to throw the whole video off by wearing the wrong color. Then, my boy Carlos Anthony Lopez over at Winston Studios, who designed the set, suggested to “just wear white.” He has a crazy eye for setting a tone in a room. I get sweaty easily, so athleisure is usually the move. It’s breathable and I really love what the designers are doing over at Nike.
In “Coachella”, why such a reserved stylistic choice that’s almost “anti-Coachella”?
I was at Coachella and it’s a party party. Less clothes is the dress code. It’s peak California vibes. The year I went I didn’t feel like peak California vibes. The tone of the song fits how I was feeling. The tone of the wardrobes fits in that world. Also, dressing like “Coachella” would have been too on the nose.
In “Tesla”, what’s the story behind those awesome pink shorts against all the green?
Shooting the video for Tesla was the first time I’d ever been in a forest. It was Yosemite National Park. And yoo, those were some super sick Champion sweat shorts. I had a matching sweater but it was super hot that day and during the first shot I started sweating too much so I went shirtless.
In “Dizzy”, why go with a monochrome look for the most upbeat EP track?
I picked that turtleneck with butterflies up from either Topman or Zara. I’m so into simplicity. I always want my look to complement the video not steal attention.
What is the significance of color pink for you as evident in some of your styling choices, including the hairstyle?
Maaan, yo well initially I went blonde because my hair was thinning. I wanted to try something different before I lost it all. Then I started seeing every black guy with blonde hair, so I went pink.
You sport a cool watch in the videos. Do you have any (other) favorite accessories?
I got that watch at G-Eazy’s birthday party. I loved that watch then lost it when I crashed a jet ski in San Diego. One piece I still have is this little tiger eye stone carved into the shape of a wolfs face. I wear almost every day under my clothes. They say Tiger Eye is calming and that’s what I’m always in search of, the calm.
Whose style made you go wow-now recently?
By far the most stylish dude I’ve ever seen is Tan France from that show Queer Eye. Every episode I’m like, “I’d wear that…” “I’d wear that…” “I’d wear that…” No big gaudy logos, just simple pieces cut well and worn right. Love that. Duckwrth is also super dope with the pieces he puts together. It’s always super unique but it feels natural and unforced. He buys pieces I’d never pick up then when you see how he styles it you’re like oh that’s hard.
What is your earliest fashion memory? A garment or a moment that changed your idea about what clothing can be and can do for a person?
My earliest fashion memory was wearing this annoyingly bright orange Old Navy fleece in middle school. I hated it. We didn’t have lots of money, so I never got the clothes I really wanted. And I thought the clothes made you cool. Then I saw another kid with the exact same sweater, but he wore it with so much confidence. I didn’t realize until years later, it’s not on me – it’s in me.
Boom. That’s a Style-the-Beat mic drop.
Y’all follow Morris The Friend and let what’s in you shine on!