Holland Gallagher is the co-creator of Rap Portraits alongside Yoh Phillips. Holland handles the directorial duties on the films that Rap Portraits produces, lending the series a distinctive visual style that has made it one of the most exciting new video developments in music journalism from the past year.
How did you get to where you are today, professionally?
I came up as a music producer in the Durham, NC area, mostly for an artist named Well$. We came up together, me producing and performing with him. Then he took a break from music and I decided to make this web series I was writing. Kickstarted around 10,000 and made the whole thing in Durham (it’s called Hype, you could probably find it on YouTube). A few weeks before the theater premiere of Hype I had met Phonte in the LAX Uber line and invited him to the screening and he came. Phonte really took to it and invited me to his house that weekend, asked if there was anything he could do to help the series and in the same breath asked if I would make a documentary on Little Brother (still in production).
So that’s how I got into documentary filmmaking, but that’s how I met Yoh. Phonte told Yoh about the series and he interviewed me for a really great piece that lived on DJBooth. Yoh and I just hit it off from that conversation on in that “we should work on something together someday” way, which coalesced when we saw this video going around Twitter of the Mavi rapping on a train in New York. It felt like a moment. I knew Mavi’s manager at the time so we just called him and said me and Yoh want to do this documentary, we don’t really know what it will be for but can I come hang around and shoot the day (Mavi had a show the next day). So I booked a flight from Durham to NY and… yeah, now we have Rap Portraits.