"What's up, this is Boom... Sure, I can do Boston... It's gonna cost ya."
The acclaimed music-video director and filmmaker Nahala Johnson, better known as Mr. Boomtown, sits inside of a Midtown bar one night last week, drink in one hand and cell phone in the other. It just took him all of ten minutes to broker a future project out on the East Coast.
He glances across the room towards his assistant who is busy corralling the women that showed up for tonight's casting call for the video to "That Candy Paint" featuring Bay Area rapper E-40 and local legends Bun B and Slim Thug.
Just another night in the life of the "Durtiest Director Down South."
Johnson, a Port Arthur native, left a nice gig working for the Silverstar Network, the Dallas Cowboys' TV production company, to begin Boomtown Productions in 1999. His big break came in 2006 when he directed Pimp C's "Pourin' Up" video. Since then, the world has seen the Dirty South through his lens - equal parts bling, sweat, and trill.
He takes time to school us on the three-tiered system he works with: The cost-friendly viral video budget, the more traditional mid-range budget most of his clients cough up, and the "fly out to Trinidad and spend some real money" dream budget.
The end product is always the same: Quality work, attention to detail, and money well spent.
We asked Bun B and E-40 their thoughts about working with Boomtown:
Bun B: "I love working with Boom! You know we grew up together, right?!"
Rocks Off: We do now, Bun, thanks. That's a helluva cosign from the King of the Trill.
E-40: "I'm an open-minded person, you smell me? I like to associate with other open-minded people. Boom has a big imagination, and his sets are laid back and fun. That's a perfect fit for me."
Rocks Off: Yes sir, we uhh, smell you.
On the day of the shoot, we receive a text informing us of the location and call time for the video. The first scene will be filmed inside of a body shop near Texas 288 and Holcombe Blvd.
A driving scene and a club scene will follow, and when all is said and done, Boom finally calls it a wrap just a shade before midnight.
Special guests on the set include Just Brittney, Baby Bash, Z-Ro, Mean Green, and TV Johnny Dang.
"...that candy paint, 84's, belts and buckles, chrome and grill, leather seat, stitch and tuck, TV screens and wooden wheels..."
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.