A few days after he walked the red carpet at the 2011 Teen Choice Awards in a t-shirt promoting “In The Flow “, his sketch and comedy show, which will debut on Fox this Sunday, uber-talented entertainer Affion Crockett was embodying Jay-Z in a video shoot for the rapper and mogul’s clothing line Rocwear.
There was Affion, (who celebrated a birthday yesterday, co-starred with the Wayan “Brothers in Dance Flick”, and is known for impersonating some of hip-hop’s brightest stars) in a Rocawear fitted cap, black leather jacket, acid washed, grey distressed jeans and matching black creative Recreation Kicks slanging the lyrics to “DOA”. Except, it wasn’t “DOA”. It was “DOC”, ‘Death To Other Clothes.”
On television Affion’s impersonation is a spectacle, a marvel to behold. In person, this dead on habitation of Hov’s laugh, mannerism, cadence and affectations is dually marvelous and unnerving. He’s so good, he could probably fool Beyonce if the lights were low.
Crocket’ take on hip-hop is authentic and as an all round entertainer, it’s no surprise his YouTube videos clocked in 39 million views. After much hard work and comparisons to malleable actor Jim Carrey, Affion finally has a show to call his own. In between costume and character changes (In addition to Jay Affion also parodied Les Twins, the limber dancers from Beyonce’s “Run The World” video) at the Rocawear shoot, we quizzed the versatile 37 year old entertainer from Fayetteville, North Carolina about his show and how he flows from character to the next.
GlobalGrind: How excited are you about your show coming out on FOX on Sunday?
Affion Crockett: I’m extremely excited! It’s a rare opportunity, I mean, for anyone who gets to have their own TV show let alone a young black man on a network. So I’m very proud, I’m excited. It’s an emotional time.
When you are doing Jay-Z and all your other characters, how do you make the transition so quickly? It’s almost seamless the way you jump into character.
I don’t know! I think I just hear them in my head and I just know. I go right into whatever that compartment is, and think, “All right, Jay is right here. Let me grab that Jay voice and that mannerism” and I just go into it. It’s kind hard to explain but I just hear it. It’s like a musician who can pick up a keyboard and go right to the keys and then pick up a guitar and know right where notes are.
How and when did you realize that you could do Jay-Z so well?
When “Big Pimping” came out. He had a little adlib in the beginning where he was laughing. He was like “Jeah jeah jeah jeah — jeah” and I use to do that over and over. I did it around my friends and they were laughing so I thought I must really sound like this dude if they’re laughing this hard. So that’s where the Jay-Z thing came from.
How long have you been waiting for this moment, for this show?
For a while man! I mean I would say maybe about 10 years. Watching shows like In Living Color and really being a fan of that and of those actors on those shows. It was something that I really wanted to be apart of, knowing that I do characters and physical comedy and all that kind of stuff. It was something I felt would suit me. I’ve been a fan since then but I had to go into preparation mode. I wanted to do it for 10 years but I don’t think I was ready until now.
In previous interviews you’ve mentioned how there are hardly any entertainers like Samuel Davis Jr today. Who else are you inspired by?
James Brown, Michael Jackson, of course Samuel Davis, Jr., Gregory Hines. You know, singers who dance, act and do it all. I’m influenced by all different types of entertainers from Debby Allen to Stevie Wonder, Eddie Murphy, Martin Lawrence, Jamie Foxx, the whole Wayans family. I just try to soak it all up. I absorb it [LAUGHS as Jay-Z] Jay-Z, anyone who is creative.
“Watch The Throne” was playing while you were in wardrobe. What’s your favorite song on the album?
I’m not sure. I heard the album, but I don’t know the song titles. But it’s the one with Pete Rock! Pete Rock’s one of the illest producers of all time! He’s very soulful! He’s very sample heavy with all the horns, the boom bap snares! I love that track! You bring Pete Rock with Jay and Ye on it with Curtis Mayfield? It’s all soul funky hip hop!
Affion Crockett’s “In The Flow” airs Sunday at 9PM on FOX.