Jay jay thakar To has transformed the local underground music scene since he founded video production company Moshpxt in 2017. He has directed, edited and shot over 100 music videos for hip-hop artists across the DMV and other metropolitan areas. But here, his distinct visuals paired with creative storylines made him a favorite videographer among local creators such as Shy Glizzy, Gleesh, baby fifty, Q Da Fool, and Large Flock.
Thakar’s unpredictable style contributes to his growing popularity. Each video contains new visuals, including 3D animations, comic book layouts, intense green screens, or digital Lego characters. They also have intricate storylines that span multiple videos and can be as comedic as they are awesome.
I spoke with Thakar, a native of Silver Spring, at his friend’s apartment in Koreatown, while we were both visiting Los Angeles in October.
The relaxed videographer greeted me at the door with a shirt with “MOSH” on the chest, a Ralph Lauren jacket and a shimmering yellow BB Simon belt. He took me to a two-screen setup, where he was editing a music video that he had shot a few days before for the artist. CLIP while in New York. Thakar flew from east coast city to Los Angeles for another project with rappers Yes and native DMV Yung Kayo. Although we are on the west coast, we quickly returned to Thakar’s roots. He grew up in the Maryland suburb just outside of DC and says he felt removed from city life. “To be honest, the further you move away from any city, the more the influence of that city’s culture wears off,” says Thakar.
“I lived deeper in Silver Spring, not at the border, but still about 20 minutes from DC,” Thakar adds. “Where I come from precisely, there was no public transport. We were close to DC so had a lot of influence from there but I didn’t have direct access to the city as some places on the metro are difficult to get to when I was a kid .
Although he was unable to explore the city, the young Thakar was still an active traveler. “In third grade, I went to India,” he says, noting his Native American roots. “I have also been to Europe, Canada and other parts of Asia. It made me feel like I was always on the move. Even now I still feel like I have to be outside to travel and do something. I don’t feel comfortable being in the same place.
Although he saw different parts of the world, Thakar was a protected child. He had limited exposure to American music, film, and general culture. “Before high school, I was one of those kids whose parents always tried to look after their best interests,” he says. “I’m the oldest child, I have two younger siblings, so I had to be a role model, but I didn’t like having that type of pressure on me.”
After graduating from high school, Thakar started experimenting with vlogging car videos. “I was really in JDM [Japanese domestic market] culture back then, and I still am, ”he says. “[It’s] definitely a period of my life that I draw a lot from to this day.
When Thakar decided to start shooting music videos, he asked his friend KashnDoja for connections. “He told me he knew this rapper named WifiGawd who needed clips, and he reached out to me on Twitter, ”Thakar says. “Mind you, I never did a music video. ”
Thakar shot the video with a friend’s camera he didn’t know how to use. “[The footage] was all blue, I didn’t know the white balance… I tried to edit it, but I didn’t know how to edit like that, ”he says. So he went online to learn editing techniques and kept making more music videos. “I learned a lot about music, culture and everything that is happening in the city and in the world,” he adds. “Making videos has become an outlet for me.
Thakar had a passion for music videos at a time when he struggled to find a goal. In college, he couldn’t decide on a degree and found himself working many odd jobs. None of them worked, he says, but video clips connected him to the community.
“One day, I quit my job, quit going to school, and decided to go all out in making music videos,” he says.
Thereafter, Thakar elevated his work ethic. But what marked his contemporaries was his authentic personality. Originally from upscale DC, rapper The Khan was one of Thakar’s first collaborators. “I met JayJay in the summer of 2017”, says the rapper City paper by telephone. “I had a song with WifiGawd and he shot the clip for us. The two continued to collaborate, forming a friendship. “[JayJay] has become a close friend of mine. I would bring him to LA and New York with me to meet different artists. I saw how culturally important his position could be among artists. So I pushed for it.
Another artist who locked himself up with Thakar early in his career was the Rockville rapper Lil xelly. Thakar liked Xelly’s song “Okay“so much so that he reached out to shoot a video for it. It became the very first clip posted on Moshpxt’s YouTube page.” Back then, no one paid me for videos, and he was the first person to pay me, ”Thakar says of Xelly.“ We started flooding endless videos and it became a really good relationship because we were both hungry and trying to prove Something.”
In the winter of 2018, Xelly says the couple shot a new video every week, making nearly 50 music videos together (many remain unreleased). Asked about her collaborations with Thakar, Xelly notes: “[JayJay] was very hardworking. He was with everything I tried to do.
Their collaborations have played an important role in the development of Thakar as a videographer. “[Xelly] gave me the space to be creative, ”Thakar says. “He never put a limit on what kind of video he wanted, he always said ‘Bro, do you.'”
Thakar himself learned videography that year. Today, he is often the only person producing a Moshpxt video from filming to editing. Although he remains quite independent in his creative process, Thakar is open to collaborations. “Especially with the right people,” he says. “I even tried to teach people to do things.” One person who has benefited from his collaboration with Thakar is the Montgomery County videographer. KarlwithaK.
“I’ve been making music videos myself for a year now. But I did an internship for JayJay for about two years, ”says KarlwithaK. “I just sent him a DM one day while trying to find mentors. JayJay responded, we bonded and we hit it off. The two worked on around 50 projects together during the KarlwithaK internship.
“He’s very clear on what needs to be done,” says KarlwithaK. “It’s pretty fluid, even if something’s wrong he still has the mentality that he can fix everything because he does.”
Over the past year, Thakar has pushed the limits of his creativity and extended his reach beyond the DC region. He kicked off 2021 by collaborating with the Atlanta-based rapper Slimesito and local superproducer Dolan beatz on their common mixtape, Out on bail, directing a series of four videos that was published alongside the project.
Thakar met Slimesito in 2019, and the two have continued to work together on and off. Eventually, Slimesito asked him to shoot a music video for the debut single from Out on bail, which received excellent feedback. This led Thakar to make a series of videos for the mixtape. “I worked all week, me and my friend Wavy dave, we just sat together and went back and forth with so many ideas, ”Thakar says. “Then I went back to Sito and I was like, ‘Let’s continue the story. “
All four videos were broadcast via WorldStarHipHop. “I wanted each video to be a visual representation of the song, and I wanted it to be really effective. I wanted them all to connect and build a story. It’s really tough, but I feel like it worked, ”says Thakar, who plans to merge them into one and publish it as a video.
Dolan Beatz recognizes Thakar’s presence: “He was able to take control of the room. He’d be in there saying, ‘You do this, and you do this,’ but in a way that brings out the best of everyone. He credits Thakar with having always conveyed his vision: “The finished product came out like a film. It exceeded all of my expectations.
But as the name Moshpxt grew, Thakar decided to part ways with the brand. Going through Moshpxt professionally has also gone beyond his personal identity.
“Originally, I started making videos to escape a lot of the problems I went through in life,” he explains. But he got so invested in the brand’s success that he consumed his personal life. “I was just working 24/7. All the old things that interested me had taken a back seat. It was strictly Moshpxt stuff. That’s why I have two phones now. One for my personal life and one for my professional life. It gives me the mental space to handle both, ”he says.
With a new perspective on his relationship with the brand, Thakar has been touring the music videos across the country this summer. The shoot took him from DC to Atlanta, New York to LA and back again. He also visited South Florida for a road trip with My life, who was on tour with Babyface ray and Jack Harlow. Thinking back over the last few months, Thakar notes: “I have shot over 20 music videos this summer with different artists in every city I have been to. It’s not even all the videos I’ve shot this year either, it’s only part of the year.
Thakar’s videos often have underlying themes that suggest they are related to each other in their own Moshpxt universe. But this universe, says Thakar, looks like a phase.
“I go through different phases,” he says. “Each artist is different and each artist has their own signature that struck me. So I want to bring out certain elements, exaggerate them, and make them encompass [that artist’s] the whole world. ”Today, he wants to focus on what sets an artist apart and capture that energy in his videos.
Between non-stop journeys and days of sequences to be mounted at any time, work nourishes him. The next thing he plans to release is Moshpxt TV: a 24-hour live streaming app for his videos. “You can play it in the background on your phone, you can use it as an app, you can even go to Instagram and play the videos in the top corner of the screen,” he says of the future. -output released.
Within four years, Thakar took his videography skills to an elite level. But what sets him apart isn’t just his neat editing, immersive visuals, or the talented roster of people he’s photographed, it’s the fact that he truly cares about the people he works with and who he is. the community that watches their videos.
Thakar’s videos are accessible via his Moshpxt YouTube Channel.