Joyner Lucas

I just watched the music video rapper Joyner Lucas released for his song “I’m Not Racist” a couple of weeks ago.

This music video is excellent, It must be nominated for music video of the year because of how important and how well its message is and delivered.

The video is a conversation between a white and a black man. The white man represents the stereotypical view of whites on blacks, and vice versa for the black man. This is a very big problem, especially in America, and the fact that Joyner Lucas address this through music in such a fair way showing positives and negatives and the views from each side with both men in the video being equal and ending with respect, understanding and love for one another makes for an extremely powerful message.

 

Digipak Front Cover Plan

I have know begun the production of my digipak. So far I have the basic image that is going to be used. This is an anime image of my self I created on a free website.

digipakThis image idea for my digipak was inspired by 21 Savage’s digipak cover for his 2017 album “Issa”.

21_Savage_-_Issa_Album

The stylistic choice of the artist being present as a cartoon character on the album cover is becoming a trend in hip-hop, so for this reason along with me liking this style, I decided to incorporate it. Here are a few examples of other hip-hop albums with the cartoon style on their covers.

I decided to go with a mid close up shot image of the artist for my album cover, most like 21 Savage’s “Issa” album and similar to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Lil Uzi Vert VS The World” album cover, as this is the most conventional regarding the albums I looked at in my research. Many hip-hop albums and especially the grime albums (the sub genre of hip hop my music video is) are an image of the artist. Which makes a mid close up shot perfect as it is a clear a shot of the artist as you can get, and the addition of the artist being ‘cartoon-ised’ gives the album a modern feel.

Here is the full plan for my digipak from cover:

IMG_1665

The bold text is conventional, in terms of it being bold and its positioning at the centre top or in corners, resembling text found on albums such as…

What I am also going to include is Chinese or Japanese text placed vertically on either side of the image of the artist, this will be a translation of the artists name on one side and on the other side the name of the album. I have seen Japanese text on Scarlxrd’s album “Chaxsthexry” (a UK hip-hop artist) and the vertical text was actually inspired by Justin Biebers 2015 album “Purpose”.

I plan to give the background a purple tinge, and I will include clipart images of stars on the left side of the artist, as stars are something that symbolise the ‘star’ status of rappers. Also in my music video I have edited the sky to make it starry, so including it on the album cover sort of makes it a theme surrounding the rap artist.

Photoshop

Now that I am starting to produce my ancillary texts (digipak and magazine advert) on Adobe Photoshop CS6 I decided to up my knowledge on photoshop.

I have used this software before, however not in depth and not for a while. So to gain more knowledge I watched some YouTube tutorials on how to use Adobe Photoshop CS6. Here are some the videos that I found the most useful and gave me new knowledge of how to use Photoshop:

 

808’s & Heartbreak

Although I have finished my research of digipaks, I wanted to do a blog post on Kanye West’s album cover for “808’s & Heartbreak”.

808s_&_HeartbreakWhat I like about this album cover is the simplicity and difference about it. As I found and wrote about in my research summary post, a lot of hip-hop album covers include a conventional image of the artist looking cool or intimidating, where as this cover does not even include the artist. What makes it even more so unconventional is that the image on the front is a heart. Images of hearts are not signs that trigger indication of hip-hop to many audiences, especially in the sub-genre of rap in which Kanye West predominantly belongs to, as rappers tend present themselves as hard individuals. However, love is a very big theme in hip-hop, even though it is not stereo-typically associated with it due to it almost being disguised a bit. What Kanye West does with this album cover is takes off the mask love has been covered with and shows what a big and key theme it is in his album, and due to him being such a popular figure in music, what a big theme love is in hip-hop in general.

Music Video Preview!

The other day I began filming for my music video. It went well and I got a selection of shots for the performance aspect of my music video.

I have collated some of the footage I got and have made it into a preview or teaser for my music video. Here it is below, and the access password for the video is “preview“.

I edited this using adobe Premiere Pro. This is the software I will be using for the editing of my music video.

stary skyWhat I am most proud of in this is preview is how I was able to edit and change the sky in the clip seen to the right. I wanted to add in these sort of effects to the music video, as it is something the Mornix does a lot (see blog post) and has inspired me to do similar in my music video. I did this by getting a royalty free video clip from the website .Storyblocks’. This website allows access to thousands of royalty free video clips for members, so I joined on a free trail to gain access to these clips. I knew for the clip with the tower block in the background I wanted to change the sky, as it was looked boring. I saw the clip of the stars on the website and immediately thought this was a brilliant fit, as stars fit in with the theme of the rapper being a star, but still stays true to an urban setting. So I downloaded this clip and put it in to premier. To get the stars and the the clip with the tower block together, I had to draw a mask of roughly where I wanted the clip of the stars to appear. After this I had to add a colour key to the clip of the stars and alter the colour tolerance so that the star footage covered the whole sky.

sky edit

J Mornix

J Mornix is a music video director/editor. He directs and edits music videos for grime artists, such as Sneakbo, Section Boyz and AJ Tracey.

Here is one of the latest music videos he has directed and edited, it is “Money & Beef” by Loski from Harlem Spartens.

What I like in this video in terms of editing is how the colour red is enhanced throughout the video. It really gives the video its own style. I also like the ‘glitch’ like transitions used in the video. This gives the video an edgy or rough feel, as if it is pirated, which is conventional of the genre as it was underground music for a long time.

Another music video J Mornix directed and edited was “LA4AWEEK” by AJ Tracey ft. Swoosh and Sloan Evans.

The editing techniques I like in this video is the change in the colour of the sky. I like this technique as it is representative of how the artist is now living in a dream because of his success in doing what he is passionate about. This is something I will include in my music video to show the artist to be successful as this is conventional in the genre of hip-hop.

J Mornix also directed and edited this AJ Tracy song “Blacked Out”.

What I stands out to me the most about J Mornix as a director and editor is the manipulation of colours in his videos. This is something that has inspired me and something I will be including in my music video.

Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life

The other day I watched on Netflix the 2017 documentary “Chris Brown: Welcome to My Life”. This documentary is about the career and life of the controversial R&B sensation/Pop Star Chris Brown. The documentary is made up of interviews with Chris Brown himself talking about his passion for music and publicised relationships, also interviews with his friends in the industry such as Usher, Jennifer Lopez, DJ Khaled, Mike Tyson, Jamie Foxx, Rita Ora and more. The documentary also contains concert footage and behind-the-scenes access to his life.

chris brown and rihanna

I found this documentary very interesting from a fan point of view as I love Chris Brown’s music, and also from a media point of view. What I found interesting in terms of media is how much control the media has had over how Chris Brown has been portrayed throughout his career. At the start of his career he was portrayed as “America’s sweetheart” in the rapidly rising Hip Hop music scene, and was also portrayed as a pioneer of making R&B the mainstream music it is today. Music Publications would compare him to “The King of Pop”- Michael Jackson, due to his not only his fantastic voice, yet also his excellent dancing ability. The media had created a star, and someone for the whole of America’s young generation to look up to. However, when it was found out Chris Brown had assaulted his girlfriend and fellow American Sweetheart/Pop Star Rihanna, the media knew they couldn’t have someone who did something like this inspiring the young and impressionable generation as this was a large proportion of Chris’s fans, so they made him out to be a monster.

This is an extract from an article in 2009 from CNN Entertainment regarding the assault.

She said all she kept thinking was, “When is it going to stop? When is it going to stop? He had no soul in his eyes. Just blank. He was clearly blacked-out. There was no person when I looked at him.”

The fight, she said, started when Brown received a text message from another woman while they were driving away from a Grammy Awards party.

“I caught him in a lie, and he wouldn’t tell the truth. And I wouldn’t drop it,” Rihanna told Diane Sawyer in the interview, portions of which aired Friday morning on “Good Morning America.”

“I couldn’t take that he kept lying to me, and he couldn’t take that I wouldn’t drop it. … It escalated into him being violent towards me. And it was ugly.”

How ugly? “I was battered, I was bleeding, I was swollen in my face,” she said.

I am not condoling or excusing Chris Brown’s actions at all, however it was left out in the telling of this story for years that Chris Brown would watch his mother get beat almost daily by his step father, which would have had detrimental psychological effects on him. The point is the media chose to avoid a chance to raise awareness of anger management which possibly could have got more men like Chris Brown to open up and seek help, but instead painted them as monsters.

This story is an example of the power the media have, as they were essentially in charge of the reception Chris Brown would receive depending if he fitted in with what they wanted a Pop Star to represent. They wanted a Pop Star that was the perfect role model and to not have flaws, so when his controversy with Rihanna came out, the media no longer wanted him to be presented positively so he was seen as a bad man.

This is just one example of the media’s control, and is a topic we cover very closely in school. Just while watching this documentary I made the link to what we study in school, so thought it would be a good idea and good practice do do a blog on it.

Chris Brown turned this around for himself by doing his time, going to rehab and focusing extremely hard on his music making his way back as a favourite R&B artist. This documentary also gave him a chance to show to show his side of the story, and shows hows he knows he made a big mistake and is now a changed man. Here is the trailer for documentary:

 

CNN Entertainment Article http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/Music/11/06/rihanna.chris.brown/

Dave Question Time

The other day when I was on Instagram I saw the rapper Dave had released a new song, and from reading the comments on the post I saw it was politically motivated, so I thought it would be an interesting music video to look further in to.

In this music video Dave performs his song. However due to the nature and context of the video being filled with political opinions, he is not just preforming the lyrics of these songs, he is addressing and directing them at the people and politicians he mentions in the song. The camera work enforces this, with his face being in the centre of the frame for most of the video. The video also opens with Dave moving a camera and throughout the video the audience see Dave with many cameras on him, representing the media and the people he’s addressing, also perhaps presenting how he’s trying to get his message into the media.

I thought this was quite an interesting music video, especially as it is not a very conventional music video of a grime artist, due to the singularity of it just being the artist in the video, no poesy or gang, and also the general nature of what the song is about is not generic in the grime genre.