ID LABS & TAYLOR GANG
Earlier this summer I reached out to Will Dzombak, the long time manager of Wiz Khalifa and Co-CEO of Taylor Gang Ent.. I sent him a demo visual to give him a feel for my work, and asked if he would like to work on something together. To my surprise, he actually hit me back and lined up a set of three projects with the legendary E. Dan at ID Labs. As someone who grew up right outside of Pittsburgh, the big three of our hometown music industry were Taylor Gang Ent., Rostrum Records, and ID Labs. These organizations all had pivotal roles in the rise of our two most prominent mega-stars, Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller. For anyone trying to get through the door in the city, it is likely that you’ll have to work with at least one of these gatekeepers, if not all of them.
With that being said, I am honored to have the opportunity to work with ID Labs AND Taylor Gang on our three most recent visualizers. This trilogy set is composed of three songs from E Dan’s new solo instrumental album, “Play How You Feel”. With “Woozy” being the first song, we wanted to create a visual that matched the vast, climatic sound of the track. The second song on our list was “Idekbro”, a mystic, oriental inspired song, which may have been my personal favorite on the Album. For this visual, we wanted to relay a hypnotic, crisp, sunrise vibe, so naturally we landed on floating praying mantis silhouettes… (lol) Last but not least was “Siti”, a more hype, traditional hip-hop beat. This beat really gave me a showdown feel, so we had the idea of following two subjects as they collide in space and crash to earth.
It was awesome to get to work with such legendary entities, that have been pivotal players in the careers of my favorite artists. I really liked how these three projects turned out and I can’t wait to work on more projects with them in the future! If you haven’t seen this latest trilogy yet, be sure to go check them out!
After years of being a fan, I finally got the opportunity to work with the very talented Choo Jackson, on a series of projects. Choo is best known for his numerous collaborations with the late, great Mac Miller, including my personal favorite, “HD” from his Broken Hearts Make Money album. During that same time period, Miller signed Choo to his own label, REMember Music. In addition to REMember Music, Choo is a member of Foreverkool Records, his own independent label.
For our first project together, I animated a visualizer for “Gold Chains”, from his Ghetto Beautiful Misery album, which dropped in the fall of 2020. About a month later, Choo contacted me with an idea for a second visualizer, for his song “Lost Kids”. The concept for this visualizer depicts a stick figure running in an endless loop, making no forward progress. I like this concept, because it is easy to let life make you feel stuck in the mud, or running on a tread mill, despite any hard work you may be putting in. In times like these it is easy to lose sight of your true potential, and the goals you set for yourself, hence the title, “Lost Kids”.
For the “Blackbird” music video, I wanted to transport viewers to a stormy night in Pittsburgh, to match the overall black sheep vibe of the song. As a Pittsburgh resident and lifelong hip hop enthusiast, I wanted to set the video in downtown Pittsburgh, in an effort to help restimulate the city’s hip hop scene, and let the rest of the country know, Pittsburgh is still here. The city took its biggest hit a few years ago when we lost Jimmy Wopo and Mac Miller in the same year. Since then, its been relatively stagnant, excluding the Burgh’s pioneering entity, Taylor Gang Ent.. Choo has also been busy lately, releasing a spree of projects and single’s over the last year. Ghetto Beautiful Misery and Excuse My Language with DJ Spillz, being the most recent, and BHMM2 coming later this year.
With that being said, we put a lot of hours into this project, so I hope you like it! BLACKBIRD VIDEO COMING LATE JUNE!!! To watch more of our projects in the meantime, be sure to subscribe to our Youtube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUsvfqiYTAkhfoqaz_gatSQ, and follow us on Instagram at @304cinemas, for daily updates. Let us know what you think in the comments!
By Global Menace
In early May, 2020, I found out my long-time friend and second half of Global Menace, Okel, was flying out to Cali to visit for a week, giving us the opportunity to film our 4th music video together. Having worked on the Nightmares, Infamy and Don Quixote videos from Global Menaces’ last self-titled E.P., I knew we had both had the chance to take our skills to the next level over the past two years since our last collaboration. Since we only had one day available to film the whole video, it was pretty evident that it would have to rely heavily on green screen and post-production editing. I had also been dabbling with 3D animation, throughout the spring of 2020, so I saw the Thin Ice project as the perfect blank canvas. After a month of long hours and self-isolation after work, I exported the first draft.
The second phase of this project was a new territory for me also; planning a release campaign. I wanted to utilize some out of the box marketing tactics for the release of this video, and ultimately, Global Menaces’ new album. After brainstorming for a short while, a framework began to emerge from the mist. I needed to incentivize our following to give us access to their following, but what incentives did we have to offer? It needed to be something easily distributable, and cheap to produce. With those two constraints applied, I landed on “Something Digital”. After awhile longer pondering on the subject I came up with two unique options: Thin Ice themed 304 live wallpapers for iPhones and Androids & a privately accessible bonus track for the album. By trading reposts for our digital incentives, we would exponentially increase our audience. In addition to the unorthodox methods, we would also be utilizing the more typical promotional methods like sponsoring the video on Youtube and Insta, but that goes with out saying.
Lastly, I wanted to tap out as many partners as possible to maximize affiliate marketing. I planned to do this on two fronts; general and specific. The general portion referring to the partnership with other entities that shared a common or overlapping audience demographic. The specific portion referring to direct marketing to key players that we identified in the music industry. Our list was made up of established professionals in the field, who we would like to cultivate future endeavors with.
So with that being said, make sure you go check it out on our Vimeo or YouTube channels, and let us know what you think in the comment section below! As struggling artists, your support is always appreciated, and the best way to do so is by helping to share our message. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the most current updates on our ongoing projects, and don't be afraid to reach out!
Dababy - May 15th
On May 15th, Jonathan Kirk, also known by his stage name “DaBaby”, pulled into Morgantown WV, during his “Baby on Baby” tour. The same day that the hip hop artist's most notable song, "Suge" was certified RIAA Gold. The song has since gone on to be certified RIAA Platinum, charting number one on iTunes, and number three on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. The song came off his most recent album “Baby on Baby”, which features globally recognized artists including Rich Homie Quan, Rich the Kid, and Offset, of the super group Migos. With this much buzz surrounding the upcoming Charlotte, NC artist, we were ecstatic to be handling the event coverage.
As I drove down Grant St into Morgantown that evening, Dababy songs could be heard playing out of every other college house I passed. Hours before the doors were set to open, I arrived at the venue to find the line was already stretched around the building, and down the block. I quickly made my way inside through security, to begin getting situated. As the veil of night fell over the city, it became evident that these early signs were not misleading. Around 9:00pm, the crowd had finally filed in, and the local openers began preforming. The mood was pure anticipation, as bartenders sprinted frantically to keep up with endless orders, and the steady roar of the audience grew with each consecutive act. Glow sticks, beach balls and balloons were seemingly in constant orbit, but only visible during the brief pulses of light that sporadically jolted across the floor.
At last the Billion Dollar Baby Entertainment staff made their way onto the stage, to secure the area and setup equipment. By this point in the night, the crowd had become a single, untamable mass, moving in unison, like the waves crashing against a rocky shoreline. Finally Dababy’s DJ came out with the mic and pulled four lucky girls up to the stage for a dance battle, as the final preparations were made in the background. After dancing like their life depended on it, the ladies found their way back into the mob, the music faded off and the
lights slowly dimmed. With perfect timing, in a moment of serenity, the DJ played the first “Huh” of DaBaby’s “Suge”, and the crowd reacted as if a grenade had been tossed directly under their feet. Dababy emerged from the darkness at the back of the stage, as if ascending from the underworld. The unruly mob of fans had finally reached their boiling point. It was complete chaos. Having slowly wedged my way to the front row, I now realized it would be impossible to get a steady shot in the midst of this earthquake. I got what I could, knowing I wouldn’t be able to infiltrate these kinds of depths again, and proceeded out of the collision zone to regroup. From the back, I watched as over 300 cell phones rose out of the pit to captured the madness. Song after song, fans screamed every word, radiating an energy that rarely finds its way into small towns like Morgantown. As the show went on, I started to notice his ability to work the audience. The energy he put out was mirrored by the crowd, and he fed off it. The performance rolled into the early morning hours, by which point the majority of attendees had completely forgotten about the outside world. Dripping with sweat, he gave his final performance of “Suge”, before signing off. The night didn’t end there though, as the official after party was set to take place down the street at Blaze Night Club. Fans slowly filed out of the venue, and on to the next stop, still hungry for more.
We had a great time taking care of the event coverage for this show, and as expected, he delivered an absolutely electric performance. Be sure to check out our recap video which can be found on our YouTube and Instagram channels.
This past season, we put on our first annual SNOW Cup Tournament at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, in Pennsylvania. We selected 8 of Seven Spring's top riders to face off in a series of one on one match ups throughout the 18/19 season. Among those selected were Alex Miller, Will Alarcon, Pat Tolan, Garrett Marcinak, Dave Taylor, Nate Mauck, Justin Bellas, and Hammy Coffman. This group represented what I believe to be a half and half mixture of local legends, and riders on the come up, ready to make a name for themselves. After the first round pairings were set, we began filming in late December, with game one between Alex and Pat. It went fairly smooth and gave me a better idea of what to expect moving forward. One of the largest obstacles we faced while organizing this competition was scheduling conflicts. With Seven Springs being an east coast resort, the elements can often be a brutal road block. This was especially true for our first semifinal game, that took place in debatably the worst conditions of the season. The match between Nate Mauck and David Taylor, also featured our celebrity guest Tall T Dan. Nevertheless, we pushed on, to ensure the series would reach completion on time. Game six and the championship game were both scheduled for the Mashed Potato Meltdown, Seven Springs’ annual send off event. Due to a challenging year for snow fall, they didn’t have enough snow to turn the lift on. This definitely put a strain on the athlete’s, who now had to hike each feature they wanted to hit. Game 6, dragged on for a grueling four hours, under the intense spring sun. After a gritty back and forth battle between Pat and Garrett, Tolan emerged victorious, landing a Rodeo 360 with a Japan grab. Both the boys were left exhausted, but Pat still had a long day ahead of him. After a brief recovery period, we once again assembled at the base of the mountain. Game seven started off with a bang when David Taylor called a double back flip off of the jump. A crowd assembled in anticipation as he made his way to the top of the slope. Dropping in with speed, he approached the lip and threw his feet over his head twice, while gliding through the air. When his skis met the snow again, he was looking up hill, as he had landed backwards. Though it was undoubtedly a legendary trick, our referee, Hammy, could not count it. In the end Dave was crowned the 2019 S.N.O.W Cup Champion and walked away with a $250 cash purse.
It was great to see the following that this event generated, which blew my expectations away. Had a blast putting on this first tournament at Seven Springs, and hope to take it to a whole other level next year. Big thanks to all the riders, refs, additional filmers, and Seven Springs Terrain Parks for helping with this competition.You can find the videos on our website, our YouTube channel, or on Newschoolers.
Throughout the past year and a half, I’ve had the opportunity to push my creative boundaries while working with the rap group Global Menace. Together we’ve produced three music videos and a visual snippet. The four songs were Nightmares, Baklava, Infamy, and Don Quixote, which all came from their 2017 self-titled, debut album "Global Menace". The fifteen track long EP is a mosaic of vibrations, from their ominous “Don Quixote” to their exuberant “Plates”. Personally, I prefer listening to the tracks in sequence, due to the intentional ordering by the artists.
For those of you who are not familiar with Global Menace, they are a rap duo originally from Wheeling, WV, composed of Thomas Okel, who goes by "Okel" and Nick Kenya aka "96 Sins". The group is bringing a new sound to the game, combining rap, trap, and electronic elements to create a vocal & bass driven,
in your face experience. Though both members rap, Okel is the lead vocalist, turning lyrics into brush strokes as he paints eerily vivid pictures in your mind that can linger for hours. 96 Sins is the producer of the duo, who’s talent bares a striking resemblance to that of a young Kanye West. Kenya is also quite the rapper, as heard on “Plates”, consistently laying down bars you catch yourself mumbling around the house.
This album is special to me, not only as a Hip-Hop enthusiast, but because I lived with Thomas throughout the duration of its creation. We had an extra room in the basement of our apartment, which he was able to turn into a studio. It was amazing to have that behind the scenes perspective, watching all the little parts come together to form the final work of art. Getting home from class everyday to hear the new development of a song, and being able to give feedback as everything came together was one of my favorite subtleties of that house. We had a blast making each video, honing our skills, trying to out do the previous.
Moving forward in 2019, we hope to work with the Global Menace family again, as well as some other local talent throughout the Pittsburgh area. You can find the videos on our website, and YouTube channel.