TRYING

A few weeks ago when I spoke to AdAge regarding diversity there were a bunch more conversations that went on that day with other industry leaders whom all had brilliant things to say. Here's AdAge's top 5 takeaways from those talks including one of mines. Click here for the article.

URRSHER

With this whole quarantine thing a lot of television performances that would've otherwise been live now have to be filmed remotely and then aired later on. Naturally they need someone to film these performances. So lately a lot of music video directors have been tapped to film performances for different award shows and any music programs on television, similar to the Leon Bridges performance I recently shot. The BET Awards had a bunch of dope music video like live performances including Anderson .Paaks' Lockdown performance and Lacey Duke directed something extremely dope for Summer Walker and Usher.

I was given with the opportunity to creative direct Usher's powerful and emotional performance during Global Citizen Unite for Our Future program that was broadcasted all over the world. Shout out to everyone involved and special thanks to Usher and his crew for trusting the vision. Proceeds from this performance and song will go to LISC in support of black-owned small businesses and community organizations.

Looking forward to seeing my fellow music video directors show the world how are ideas aren't limited to just one medium. We got visions! Also blessed to have these opportunities when music video jobs aren't as frequent as they used to be because of COVID. Peep a few BTS pics and the full performance below!

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Sweeter

Hopped out the quarantine to direct this special performance of 'Sweeter' by the Texas homie Leon Bridges, the Crenshaw homie Terrace Martin and the piano homie Robert Glasper for The Late Show with James Corden. Enjoy.

Tryna

Did a talk w/ AdAge and few other directors about the state of directing during this time. Tried to drop some gems, don't know if they landed or not. Lol. I feel like I be babbling off the top. But here it is hopefully we saying something tight in this.

Unbelievable

Wow man, I’m hummbled to announce that I won the AdAge Creativity Award for Director of The Year. AdAge is a very prominent advertising magazine. probably equivalent to a MTV VMA for commercials. I beat out Spike Jonze wtf?! 😭 Big thank you to everyone that has inspired me and had a hand in my creativity! I also want to take this moment to remind any young creatives that come from where I come from that anything is possible and you can do this too! This picture of me and my pops was taken in my aunties backyard on Hyde Park and Centinela.

I use this image a lot just to remind myself where I come from. I learned how to use a computer on 91st and Western at a black owned after school program, ran by an all black staff, The Al Wooten Jr Heritage CenterI don’t know what, who or where I would be with out that early hands on experience. That’s why I stress the importance of youth community programs like Summaeverything and many more are working on to provide tools and safe havens for kids in South Central Los Angeles. So please, support and donate as much as you can to those spaces. Obviously I am proud of myself but I also want to remind ad agencies out there that I am not an anomaly. There are tons of young black creators that come from where I come from and are just as if not more “talented” than me. These people inspire me. They have great taste and are full of game changing branding ideas, you need them!

Translation

One of my biggest dreams was to have an article in a Japanese magazine. For the last ten years I've been obsessed with them. I don't know man something about their appreciation for urban American culture as well as their love for art and "aesthetic" looks so fire in the physical form of a magazine. Not to mention the Japanese letters and the the reversed orientation they print pages in. I have a nice amount of magazines from Japan and even though I can't read what they talking about they are amazing to look at. In the late 2014 OverDoz. was featured in a few magazine in Japan and as the creative director I developed relationships with some photographers and journalists from there including the amazing photographer Sachi and Ohno from FLJ Magazine. They are so cool and share the same love for west coast hip hop and art. They reached out last month to interview me about my crazy last year as well as a bunch of new things in the works. Sachi shot me in my office and these pics came out so amazing, can't wait to frame the physical copies! Enjoy the translation after the pics. If your'e in Japan check your local magazine stands for the July issue of FLJ magazine.

First of all, thank you for taking time!!
Thank you man, I love Japanese magazines so it’s an honor to be able to speak to you guys. Plus. I don’t have shit else to do! Corona got L.A. shook right now.

*What is your daily life like in these quarantine days?
To be honest it changes day by day, but what remains the same is me getting up, meditating and going for a long ass walk. I try to walk 4 miles around my neighborhood to clear my head and get fresh air. Once I’m back home I try to balance being creative and spending quality time with my wife Heather and 6 month old son Maze. Spending time with them is always the highlight of my day. No place I’d rather be.

*What is your first love of the culture (music, movie, art, etc…)?
I love all the aspects of culture, but music is definitely my first love. I started with a passion for producing and rapping. I approach film making like I approach writing rhymes or making beats. I always tell people I’m not a filmmaker, I’m a hip hop head that just so happens to make film.

*I read that you used to make beats and rap, and used to do still photography.
Can you tell me all those your creative background?
Yes! Rapping, making beats, drawing, photography, graphic design, fashion. I’m just a student of the arts and culture and I will turn to any platform to express my creativity. I think that's why I’m drawn to filmmaking. My homie Ryan Helfant told me once  “Film is the sum of all arts.”

*How did you start making videos?
I started out doing web design and photography for different rappers in L.A. with my homeboy Byron. One day someone broke in my house and stole my still camera and laptop and with renters insurance I was able to replace my things with the better versions. So instead of getting another still camera I bought a Canon 7d which had video. So now instead of just doing photoshoots and album covers I started filming the artists. One thing lead to another and I just started shooting and editing my own videos!

*I read that Spike Jonze is one of your heroes.
What is the inspiration you got from him?
Spike Lee and Spike Jonze are my heroes, and here’s why. Spike Lee because he makes the grounded feel surreal and Spike Jonze because he makes the surreal feel grounded. You combine those two things and you have Calmatic. Not to mention their impact on culture, I too wish to have that same impact one day.

*By the time we met you in LA back in 2013, you were already making videos for overdoz.
How did you hook up with them?
P from OverDoz. was one of my child hood friends. And he told me he was in a rap group. At the time I was a producer and a rapper so I would send beats to them, try to make songs with them and just flat out hanging out. I was around them all the time. Long story short, I got a camera and started filming their every move.

*I remember that you guys used to hang out a lot and did filming everywhere from their house to parking lots to clubs, etc….
What was your ideas and your approach back then?
We didn’t have any responsibilities, no jobs, no kids, no nothing. Just time, space and opportunity. So we just blew wherever the wind took us and filmed it all. Everywhere we went we had a camera rolling. I have so much fun and crazy footage on my hard drives that the world hasn’t seen. Classic.

*You already had your own style as far as visual effects and editing style.
How did you establish your style?
I don't know man. I feel like it’s something that just developed over time. Everything feels real, but then theres a magic surreal feeling that takes the visuals to the next level. I love using bright colors on top of grimey urban backdrops as well. On top of that I just try to make all the elements as funky and weird in the best way possible. Underground but still pop. Sloppy but still on point. Like J-Dilla’s drums.

*You were working with many future stars in LA.
How did you start working with them?
Can you pick up some of your favorite projects with them?
A lot of them were my friends that I did music with. I just so happen to be around the next crop of big L.A. artists. I had access to them because I was in the studios and doing open mics with them so they knew and trusted me.

*How did you recognized by artists like Kendrick Lamar or Snoop Dogg, and ended up working with them?
It was all word of mouth at the time I’ll I had was twitter so I would just reach out to them on there and little by little I started working with certain artists and they would vouch for me to work with other artists so it just snowballed from there.

*I guess every artist has different vision and different style.
How do you approach them and what is your creative process like?
I just listen to the song imagine what a perfect video in my mind would be like. I think about what the artists aesthetic is and what we haven’t seen them do before. At first I please myself. I come up with the idea that I think I would like the most and then I present that to the artists. 50% of the time they love it. But the other half they love it but want to make a few tweaks to the creative. So we sit and trade ideas until we can come up with the perfect concept for the song. Once everyone is on the same page we go shoot!

*Any behind the scene story of directing “Bubblin”?
The stripper scene at the burger joint was on a very busy street in Inglewood. As we were filming people were driving the streets sticking their heads out the windows. Making unsafe u-turns just to get a peek. Even a couple of little kids rolled up on their bikes just to get a look at something they’d probably never seen in their lives.

*Can you tell me the story of “Old Town Road”?
How did you get started, how did you come up with the idea, and how did you approach it?
When the label first sent me the song asking if would I write a treatment for it, I literally responded “is this a joke?” But once I realized it was the real deal I still wasn’t 1000% on board and I told myself that in order for me to work on this it has to be my way or the high way. So I wrote an idea that I thought was cool and not something I thought would be cliche to satisfy the label since it was a such a huge song. It turned out they loved my idea and next thing you know we were shooting it. Overall the goal was to show how polarizing the song was. It was a big trap song that kids in my hood loved and it had country western elements that the white folks could square dance to. So I wanted to blend all those worlds together to show how we can all be one nation or world under a groove!

*What was your first feeling when you won Grammy?
I was shocked. Maybe when I used to rap I dreamed of getting one for music but I never thought in a million years that I would win a Grammy especially for being a director.

*Who was the first person you spoke to that you won Grammy?
My family. My wife, mom, dad and little sister were all there so they were the first people I spoke to right when I got off stage. I was grateful they were there to witness the moment. They have supported me tremendously throughout the years. That was a special moment to share.

*I love The Vince Staples Show!
How do you come up with the idea with Vince,
and what is your approach, especially each episode has a connection with music?
Me and Vince just talk about our experiences growing up in the hood. He has a million crazy ass stories from his life that are wild. We just share our stories and choose the craziest ones, put them in a script form and then go out and film them.

*What is your best advice for young creative people?
The best advice I could give is to follow all your curiosities. Your curiosities lead you on path that ultimately leads you to the promise land. It’s not rare that people go from being a painter, then a musician, then a fashion designer and then ultimately end up being a world class chef. Each practice helps make your next one that much better. It’s all about the journey. I’ve seen it a million times.

*What is the key to success?
I have no clue what success is.

*What’s your plan right now and after the lockdown is over?
My plan is shoot my first film which will be the remake of House Party. Aside from the that I want to launch all my other creative endeavors. A clothing line, a book, and more quality time exploring the world with my family.

*Is there anything you love to do with Japan in the near future?
Yes I’d love to live in Japan. Or at least open up a retail space there. Japan is one of my favorite places to visit, the people the fashion the architecture is all so inspiring to me. The more time in Japan, the better.

*A message to people in Japan.
Stay Black!

A Dream Come True

Yesterday my wife, son and I went to a park near our house. Aside from our walks and doctor visits, it's one of the first times we've been out in an open air public space. It felt amazing. We listened to music, talked about life and let our little one roam around in the great outdoors. I felt great gratitude for the privilege to be able to relax and chill in a time like this.

Shit Is Real

Got a chance to virtually sit down with one of my favorite hip hop podcasts, A Waste Of Time w/ It's The Real! Been a fan of them forever so it was a blessing to be a guest. For a couple of hours we talked about everything under the sun including, quarantine hobbies, how I got started and that one time I used to work at the Culver City stairs. Check it out on YouTube as well as all streaming platforms, make sure you subscribe.

Mad TV

A couple of weeks ago I remember at the beginning of the day I deleted the Twitter and Instagram apps off of my phone. My thought was that I had been spending too much time on it and there was nothing but negative shit on there. After non-stop conflicting news about Covid and trying to keep up with the Ahmad Arbery shooting case which was broadcasted over and over on my timeline, I knew I had to avoid these new images of the George Floyd situation. When those videos surfaced I refused to watch it or give it any energy.  I couldn’t stand to watch another black man die at the hands of anyone yet alone the police. So I said fuck it, delete all that shit. So after a whole entire day of working out , eating healthy, studying and spending time with my wife and son, at damn near midnight I told myself…”Go ahead and re-download them apps. Go ahead and get you a little fix before you go to sleep”. Shortly after I remembered my eleven year old  password and logged back in to Twitter, the first thing I see is a Target in Minnesota on fire and people looting (as they should've) in the streets. But that's nothing new, I've seen this before. As I continued scrolling I see something that I've never seen before. A tweet by the President of The United States. It read “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts…” and I've been up since.

A whole week later, I still haven’t been to sleep, I'm still up. There's this feeling I have deep down inside. A feeling that for some reason I haven't been able to articulate. An emotion that I've kept suppressed out of fear of turning people away or making people feel uncomfortable. A state of being that I forgot I was capable of. I’m mad. If you know you me you’ve probably never actually seen me mad. Like foreal foreal mad. It’s hard for me to get there because even "through all of this" I realize that I’m blessed and highly favored. But right now, I’m mad and I’ll tell you why. 

I’m mad because I don’t know whats going on. I’m confused. Misinformation is at an all-time high and I don’t know who to look towards or listen to for the right information. Even with my own people, I feel like we’re all on the same page of sheet music but we’re all playing different notes. I'm mad because being mad is the only option left. I’m mad because the news just switched up on niggas. For the last four months it’s been non stop talk about COVID. How people are dying left and right and this is the worst time in America since the Great Depression. Almost everyone has been in the house compressing and compressing, and then all of a sudden when this George Floyd incident happens you would think the virus just vanished. Haven’t heard it mentioned anywhere. The more I see thousands and thousands of black people (who suffer from COVID the worst) gathering outside in large groups the more it seems like they’re mentioning the virus less and less. Why aren't they strongly warning us that it's potentially dangerous? Do they want us to become infected? It’s sad because I don’t really dive into many conspiracy theories and not like I ever trusted them niggas but this just made me not trust the news at all. I'm mad because on MY OWN film sets I've been mistaken for a P.A. instead of the director. Multiple times. I'm mad because I feel like I'm not doing enough. Aside from donating I'm mad that I've been talking about creating a program to give back to my neighborhood for years and years, but I still haven't done it. I also understand that we all help in our own way, whether it be volunteering, activism, creating art or fundraising so I'm not THAT mad, but I just wish that I had something set up that could benefit from this moment.

I’m mad because I'm "successful" and still can’t afford to buy a house in the neighborhood I grew up in. 

I’m mad because white people act like this is new. Maybe it is for them. Just like every other black person I’ve been getting emails and texts from my white associates professing their remorse and "allyship" and asking the same thing. Are you okay? Is everything fine? How are you feeling with everything going on in the world? My answer is the same for everyone. I feel the same way I felt last week, last month , last year, when I was 21 years old and when I was 14 years old. I’m scared, I been scared. This shit ain't new. Why weren’t you inquiring on my well-being five months ago? This shit has BEEN happening. What’s the difference now? They love to say “with all this craziness happening in the world”. You know what? I need you guys to be more specific. What is it exactly that you see going on the world? Police shooting protestors with rubber bullets? Someone getting slowly choked to death? Those are easy to call out and guess what those aren't even the main things we're mad about. This anger is a culmination of things we face everyday. The endless amount of micro-aggressions we experience that when you add up feels like a constant knee in the throat. Things we experience daily that are actually harmful and keep us on defensive mode when life should be way less stressful, like yours are. And be careful because some people are only inquiring how we feel to one, convince themselves they aren’t racists and two, get the “inside scoop” on how we feel so they can go back to “their side” and say “Hey I know whats going on. I talked to one of them and this is what they said”. Meanwhile nothing changes. Just a reminder, we don’t owe you our thoughts and feelings but just know whether we admit it or not. EVERYONE thats black has always felt a deep rooted pain from constant prejudgment. It’s safe to assume that none of us are okay. You don’t call or text a starving kid in Africa and ask him "how can I help you", you do your own research and figure it out. If you want to find out a way to help do ya googles.

I’m mad because everyone is talking at the same time. But I can’t yell shut the fuck up because I don’t have any solutions either so it would be wrong for me to shut someones suggestion down. It’s not a one size fits all solution, therefore every suggestion should be respected.  At the same time this probably going to be the only moment in the next decade or two that the world (aka white people) will pay attention and “fight for/support” black people in this type of way. So fuck it everyone shout out what you feel will help ease the load, because we need it. I'm mad that those little rinkydink riots that happened on Melrose and Fairfax are going to get over-glorified and compared to the '92 riots (that was a real riot). So we gotta deal with a bunch of t-shirts and fake struggle marketing schemes from some of these streetwear brands that are in the lowest of keys apart of the problem. I'm mad I'm extremely addicted to my phone.

I’m mad because I don’t know who to trust. It’s hard to feel this newly found support as genuine. I know "all people aren’t bad people" and that there are allies. But I want to see this same energy next  year and the year after. All these statements and misguided hashtags are really cute right now. But I’m looking at it with a side eye. Recently there was a neighborhood clean up event on Western and Florence, in the neighborhood my family currently lives in and where I stayed for good amount of my life. What a beautiful thing it was to see hundreds of people cleaning up our streets. Shout out to Dime Jones, a South Central native that put it together. I just hope it wasn’t their first and last times on Western Ave. And then there’s all these lists “40 Black Creatives You Need to Support”, "99 Black Fashion Brands You Can Shop With Now”, “7 Black Photographers You Should Follow”, “Top 10 Black Owned Restaurants”. I'm sure they appreciate the pub, but instead of clumping them in all into one list and shoving them down people’s throats in an overwhelming way…How bout you feature them more frequently when it’s not en vogue. Honey’s Kettle Fried Chicken should have a line down the block everyday. And look support is support and I’m happy that we are finally getting our well deserved shine. But lets just make sure it last just as long as this article your'e reading. .

I’m mad  cause I prolly sound like a hater right now. 

I’m mad because now I'm even more scared of the police. Before “all of this” I was scared of the police. Every time a cop car gets behind me my heart starts beating faster and faster. There have been a handful of times when a cop gets behind me and I take my license and registration out and have it in my hands as I’m driving JUST INCASE they decide to pull me over. Sounds crazy right? Well thats how bad it is. Before “all of this” my worst fear was being man handled by the police and being held down to the point of suffocation. So imagine the trauma I have from seeing what happened to George Floyd. Speaking of George, my older cousin George Ables who taught me all about hip hop and culture died in police in custody in a similar way. This shit ain’t new! I'm mad because I have to pry tips and tricks on how to make more money in my industry. Because I know damn well if I don't ask they wont tell.  I’m mad because I still have to worry about violence in my own neighborhood. Niggas still gang bang. I’m mad because Trump prolly gone win again. But if he doesn’t I’m scared the world will become even more divided. I’m mad because we have to explain shit yet again. I’m tired of having to tell the world how great we are as black people. We know! Y'all know! Go ahead though, make your posts, write your long ass blog posts, write your hashtags, share your stories, tag your homies and uplift each other with copied and pasted messages. Do whatever you feel you need to do to keep reminding them and yourselves how amazing you are, but don’t feel obligated to. One of the most disrespectful things is that we even have to tell people that our lives matter.

I’m mad that Kenya Barris was right.

I’m mad that I feel like I have to write this. It’s fucked up that as black man receiving the trauma I FEEL like I HAVE to say something. The peer pressure from seeing everyone on socials say their part lead me down this path where I felt I have to say something. And then thats when the egotistical artist side kicks in. “I want to say something, but how can I say it in a way thats going to stand out and place me above others?” “How can I do it within a certain aesthetic that matches my branding?” “How can I do it better than everyone else?” I’m mad because my ego is still active through out all of this. I’m mad because this is yet again a way of thinking that comes from scarcity. From knowing that you may not make it out of your neighborhood. So you have to make sure that you're separating yourself from everyone else. And then when you finally make it, you feel like you're the chosen one. Which comes with it’s own load of pressure and confusion. It’s funny, you NEVER hear white people say they feel like “the chosen one”. Because they all get chose! I’m mad because I don’t know what hope looks like. When people ask what’s my hope for the future. My answer is I just hope that when my son faces the realities of the world that it’s doesn’t break his heart. Hopefully enough work will had been done so that it’s a seamless transition and something that does taint the way he sees himself or the rest of the world. I’m mad because I let this shit fuck up my swag. But I'm good writing this helps. Trust me, it's a lot more shit I'm mad about. I'm mad I don't feel like writing about it. I’m mad because I’ve been here before. I'm mad because I know that I'm going to be alright. But I know a lot of people that I love and care for that may not be. I'm mad because it took me so long to get mad. I'm mad because I haven't seen my friends and family since March. I'm mad because this might be the revolution and I wasn't ready. But I'm also mad it's only the revolution because white people just now decided to listen.

So to answer everyones favorite question these days… How am I doing? How do I feel? I’m mad and there’s nothing you can do about it. Except give me money.

Give Them Money

If your'e looking for a program to donate to please consider Summaeverythang. Founded by one of my favorite artist in the world Ms. Lauren Halsey and her crew of tireless givers. Summaeverythang provides free organic produce boxes for Watts and South Central Los Angeles. For the people by the people, this is authentic and grass roots as it gets. Click here to Donate.

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On And On

Got to speak with The poolhouse recently about the production side of The Old Town Road video as well as the Uber commercial I contributed to. The poolhouse (www.the-poolhouse.com)is a global community of producers share resources for one another in the ever evolving commercial and music video industry. If you missed it. Here it gizzz. And once again thank you to the The poolhouse team for putting this together.

100

Feel's like we've been holed up for at least 100 days right? Shit is wild. One thing thats been keeping me sane is revisiting some of the creative hobbies I had before I got too busy for them, drawing, photography, music, etc. When I used to drive around my neighborhood I would always see the streets through a different lens. I would be drawn to a person's wardrobe against a certain backdrop that would create a unique color palette. So I started just snapping pics out of the window as discreetly as possible, hence the flat axis that these photos share that I've come to love. They should call me "Wes-tern Anderson". (That's a Wes Anderson joke if you didn't know. Google that name.)

Next thing you know I've got a bunch of images that feel more like a highly thought out art photography rather than a shot of "some hood shit". So back then I started a project called on instagram called #100daysofsouthcentral where I would try to collect at least 100 images of my surrounding neighborhood and reframe the perspective to force people to see the "hood" in a different light. I think I stopped somewhere around 30 and if you search that hashtag on the gram you can see them all.

I told myself I was going to finish the project and make a coffee table book but you know just like most ideas, that got put on hold. Fast forward to 2020 and we in a pandemic. Lol. So I ain't got nothing but time, and taking aimless drives around the city is therapeutic for me. While on a drive yesterday I saw one moments that I couldn't resist, so I instinctively pulled out the good ole iPhone and snapped away. Here are some of the images.

Going to try to make this a more consistent thing till I reach 100 and put together that book!

I Promise

I'ma write some shits. Just gathering thoughts.

DJ Naf Day

An international Holiday for foos that get it!

Produce

If you're have time join me and my dog Suzanne Hargrove one of the best commercial producers in the entire world (also Executive Producer at Prettybird) for a fireside chat via the Zoom app for The poolhouse Let's Get Remote! sessions. We'll be talking about the production side of commercials. Details on how to get in are on the flyer. Hope to see y'all there.

I'm Confused

The creative energy that I've been feeling during this time is similar to when things were normal, but for some reason it feels way more intense. The waves of being motivated and uninspired now feel like tidal waves. It's like the bigger and better the idea the more pressure it is to execute, because now without a doubt EVERYONE is watching. The weird part it is I only feel that way about my close and personal projects. I'm so used to working on projects for other people and other entities that it takes a bit of the pressure so I can pontificate on those all ideas all day, but all these close personal projects I've had in the back of my head are just chilling somewhere not doing shit. Is it because I'm on the gram more these days and I see more people doing their ideas out loud that I feel the need to compete or one up them? Is it because I'm always trying to find an excuse to prolong something? This time it's "I'll just wait til all this is over". Well look whatever it is, it's not my job to figure out, my job is just to sit and put myself in a position to be inspired and then react. Overthinking is the theft of joy. Just do some shit, fuck it.

IG Live '95

I recently hopped on Instagram Live with my compadre Billy Pena. Billy is a great cinematographer that I collaborated with for the Google and Turbo Tax Super Bowl commercials as well as the recent Justin Timberlake video and also one of my favorite people in the world. We chopped it up for an hour about all things film with a focus on cinematography. and a bunch of random shit. This talk was presented by Iconic one of top stables of cinematographers in the world. Enjoy!

Loosies: 004

Loosies: 003

Push Up Challenge

Wow. So Uber and Wieden & Kennedy reached out to a bunch of filmmakers to document their lives during this pandemic quarantine. So we submitted a few clips of life at home that would eventually end up in this special collaborative commercial. Life is strange right now, but the fact that my four month old soon booked his first commercial at this time is beyond a blessing to me. Unexaplainable. I'm speechless.

These days will forever be etched in our adult memories but this commercial will help future Maze (my son) look back at such a defining moment in the world and feel what we felt. The silver lining in all of this, is that I get to spend time with my wife and son at such a precious time in his life. Otherwise I would've been on set working extremely bizarre hours and wouldn't have the time I have with them now. Even in all this mess, we blessed.

Full Circle

If someone would've told me 10 years ago that I would be directing a music video for Anderson .Paak and Justin Timberlake I wouldn't have believed it. I don't think AP would've believed it either. Ten years ago I met Anderson for the first time, he was going by Breezy Lovejoy, he had dreads and he was performing in front of like 40 people in a small whole in the wall spot in Leimert Park. At the time I was going around filming all these performers for my blogs and when I seen him playing the drums and rapping at the same time I was in awe.

I got his number and we connected and shot a video for a song and I got paid $200 which at the time was a gold mine. Sidebar: we never finished the video so technically I owe AP $200. We went on to excel in our lanes and meet back up for the "Come Down" and "Bubblin'" video. Fast forward to today we're releasing a music video with Justin Timberlake for The Trolls soundtrack. WTF?!

Check out the brand new music video. Anderson .Paak x Justin Timberlake - Don't Slack starring Anna Kendrick, directed by CALMATIC. Appreciarte everyone involved with making this all come together in a short amount of time. And weirdly this video is prophetic for whats happening in the world now. Working w/ Anna was pretty special too, a true rider and a flawless actor. The real MVP. Working closely with Dreamworks on the VFX side was amazing as well. This one is special in the fact that it put in perspective how far me and AP have come. Full circle moment indeed.

Loosies: 02

Window Shoppers

Me and my wife have a thang. I'm not sure when it started but we love to just drive around and look at nice houses. Sort of like window shopping for a time when the wealth gap and income inequality would finally allow us to buy a dream house in the neighborhood of our choice (shade). Preferably somewhere near where we are now, the Inglewood/Ladera/Windsor Hills triangle. Anytime we see an open house, we hop out and walk in as if we're interested, but to be real we're just being nosey and at the same time manifesting our future.

One of the millions of reasons I married my wife is because we have similar tastes and ideas of how we want our living space to be, which could be a deal breaker if it wasn't in line. We often share images we find on instagram of interiors and video home tours that we love. Talking about houses (and talking about how ugly a lot of people's houses are) is one of our favorite things to do.

We've always loved mid century design even before Target and the rest of the world hopped on the train. One of our earlier dates was spending a day at the Eames House in Malibu. But recently our love for mid century reached a new level when we discovered Eichler Homes. While browsing one of the dopest instagrams @hoodmidcentruymodern (a thread that posts pics of all the overlooked mid century design and architecture in the hoods of America) my wife discovered a post about the Eichler homes and we've been hooked since.

And the icing on the cake is that Joseph Eichler was a really good human being.

Eichlers are a mid century lovers dream. Very minimal yet detailed architecure, ceiling to floor windows with tons of natural light and unique built in fixtures. The main attraction in these homes is the literal breath of fresh air atriums in the center of the house. Which is like an out door space in the center of the house, which could be covered or uncovered. Do you're Googles and peep the the many ways that Eichler owners design their space. The possibilities are endless. And the icing on the cake is that Joseph Eichler was a really good human being.

From Wiki: Between 1949 and 1966, Joseph Eichler's company, Eichler Homes, built over 11,000 homes in nine communities in Northern California and homes in three communities in Southern California . Later, other firms worked with Eichler's company to build similar houses. Together, they all came to be known as Eichlers. During this period, Eichler became one of the nation's most influential builders of modern homes.

Joseph Eichler is considered by some to be a social visionary and commissioned designs primarily for middle-class Americans. One of his stated aims was to construct inclusive and diverse planned communities, ideally featuring integrated parks and community centers.. Eichler established a non-discrimination policy and offered homes for sale to anyone of any religion or race. In 1958, he resigned from the National Association of home builders when they refused to support a non-discrimination policy.

Tracks of Eichlers are all over California, mainly up north but the other day we took a quarantine in-car field trip to a track in Granada Hills. Lord willing one day we can move into one of these or at least visit one. Taking window shopping to next level. Lol. We got a thang for Eichlers!

Here's a video that was recently released with and in-depth look at an Eichler in Orange County.

REAL QUICK

Here's a trailer for a series I had a part in directing on the all new Quibi platform titled "&MUSIC". A show that showcases the creatives and unsung artists behind-the-scenes of alot of your favorite artists. I directed the episode that featured Mixed by Ali and YG. Had a great time filming this and was able to approach docustyle in an interesting way. The series begins April 6th on that all new Quibi app.

WORLDS ALL PAUSE

My wife is low-key a genius or a psychic, I’m still trying to figure out which one. Ever since we’ve been together she’s been very outspoken and adamant about two things. One, “how trash this country is and how it’s headed towards disaster” and two, “how we all need to stock up and prepare for the inevitable doomsday”. The second thing is mainly because of the first thing, but both very valid points. She has definitely changed the way I look at this country and them being able to have our backs and set us all up for success and every time we hit a Target we try to buy a gallon of drinking water to stock pile in the garage for when the “big one” hits. As weird and unpredictable as this world is, I didn’t think that in a million years that my wife’s ideas about where things were headed would be on our front steps, especially this soon. 

Shit was all good just a week ago and then suddenly things all paused. It seemed like there was a constant flow of new ideas being put out into the world. It’s like we were at this peak of citizens, especially citizens of color, understanding the importance of self-employment and entrepreneurship and actually going for it and then boom. It all stops. Everything shut down. I had just moved into my new production offices at Warner Bros and before I could even settle in, we get shut down until further notice. Been meeting with some folks about starting a creative agency and we’re targeting our first project date and boom, shut down til further notice. I don’t even want to talk about the Lakers. I seen someone tweet “I went from hoping that they finish this season to hoping that they play next season”. Yikes. Everyone is being effected by this and somehow someway thats the best part about this, there’s something bittersweet about it. The fact that almost everyone is on pause. The fact that everyone is realizing the realities of the government. The fact that everyone has something to look forward to. The fact that almost everyone is scared. 

Can’t lie I’m scared as hell. Not sure if it’s the news or twitter feeds or the fact that we don’t have smart enough leadership to protect us. Scared of the uncertainty but at the same time scared of loosing the way we lived as we knew it. Being at home with my fam we try to normalize the situation by going for walks and getting exercise, but niggas don’t know how to social distance. It’s crazy, the other day a dude try to hand me his business card and another dude completely crossed the street to try and pet my dig, both boomers I might add, super weird, thats a whole other blog posts. I guess I’m scared of people and how they’re acting in these crucial times. Some overreacting and some not reacting at all. Who’s wrong and who’s right? With all the misinformation we have no idea. 

Photo: Me in March 2019 in Japan. Fashion.

Besides going for walks or quick grocery runs. I’m blessed to be in a position where I don’t have to go out and work everyday but until further notice, I’m at the crib. A position that sounds lovely during this time but it’s a whole different energy when you don’t have a choice. Damn near feel like punishment. If someone would of asked me what I would do if I had to stay at home for a month I would probably come up with some perfect daily routine that involves personal growth, exercise routines, working on passion projects etc. But it’s hard. With all this free time I’m forced to face the reality of what I’m actually into. Since the top of the quarantine, my to do list  is looking something like this: start making beats again, finish scripts, finalize designs for my clothing line, make a quarantine playlists, make art, write a children’s book, read more, write poetry, watch a movie a day. So far I’ve made zero beats, read zero pages (excluding scary corona articles) and wrote one line of poetry (I”m lyin). I ain’t did shit but play video games and sit on slew of virtual Skype meetings.

And definitely starting to reach the point where I’m no longer placing these strict deadlines and “quarantine expectations” on my self.

It’s tough though I’m realizing that the best things in life aren’t forced at all. And definitely starting to reach the point where I’m no longer placing these strict deadlines and “quarantine expectations” on my self.  I’ve experienced time after time that the best things usually come after living in what I like to call  “the unknown zone”. The unknown zone is that stretch of time when you don’t know whats next. When you’ve done it all and have nothing major to look forward to. During those times I’ve come to find that the reason that zone is uncomfortable is because usually you're sitting on your thumbs waiting for the next thing to magically appear and it usually never does. I’ve learned thats that the time where you have to make things happens yourself. Continuing to follow your curiosities regardless of the circumstances will light the path out of the unknown. (That was fake deep.)

Photo: Me in March 2020 in L.A. Necessity?

The silver lining to this whole ordeal are all the reminders of what’s essential in life. The world needed a time out. The world needed to sit down and analyze the more simple more meaningful things. Sitchoassdown and reconnect with things we were distracted away from. Spending valuable time with family, listening to music, checking in on elders, connecting with friends and just talking even if it is via FaceTime and just flat out being still. Being able to be in my living room and dance to D-Nice’s live DJ stream with my wife and infant son is a priceless experience. With all that being said I just hope that once this is all said and done these golden moments and character building experiences can continue within so that we don’t have to rely on superficial external things that can vanish in the blink of an eye. 

Luckily quarantine life is great so far, mainly because we were prepared for this thanks to my wife’s genius. But I cant finish without mentioning a quick story. When we were in Japan for our honey moon I thought it was so cool that the locals were wearing masks (weird I know). I was like I’m going to take some of these masks back to L.A. and rock them whenever I’m sick (super weird, I know) they had some cool masks in dope colors including black. Since it wasn’t the flu season there I couldn’t find any in the stores. I happened to randomly find one pack on the way to the airport back home so as soon as I landed I went on Amazon and bought another 10 pack of black masks. When the pack came I realized instead of buying a pack of ten, it was 10 packs of 20. So now I got like 200 masks (don’t ask). I guess I’m the psychic one after all or the one that doesn't pay attention to details. Stay safe. 

SHOTS MAGAZINE

Interview with Shots Magazine, a magazine dedicated to the creative world within the advertising industry. Appreciate the opportunity to tell a piece of my story on such a dedicated platform. Click HERE to read!

GOALS

Went to Hollywood Blvd. to visit the headquarters of one my favorite brands. The almighty Fucking Awesome! Aesthetically and spiritually this brand just hits the spot. Very influential. I aspire to create an atmosphere comparable to this one day soon. Shout out to Jason Dill, he gets it. And shout out to all the homies holding it down.

Diamonds In The Rough

Linked up with some legends that have a passion for L.A. history is as deep as mines. Diz Gibran and Terrace Martin. Planning for a really important future project. Photos by @Slaucienega!

Currents

Not a heavy reader, probably only like two or three a year, but I've been upping the ante. In rotation now we got This is not a T-Shirt by Bobby Hundreds which details his journey in streetwear as well as Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport which is sure fire read to get you niggas off the phone in order to allow more presence in life. Which we all need. Also Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice by Michelle Obama which is basically a work book of prompts that ask the right questions to help you write your own story. Hopefully I knock these out soon and move on to some others on the list.

FYI

When I started this blog up again, I thought I was going to start it off with some super in depth posts about how crazy last year was for me. Marriage, awards, family additions, etc. Thats what I wanted the purpose of this blog to be. A place where I can tell more in depth stories for aspiring creatives to follow and get a glimpse into my journey in order to help them get to where they want to get. But at this point it's really hard for me to dig in the past and recapture my feelings and thoughts on those projects. So for now, I'm going to focus on the things that are happening in real time. But just so you can see it all in one place, here are some of the flag ship projects that I directed in 2019. Enjoy, and if there are enough questions and I have enough time, I'll make more thorough post about some of these projects and projects of the past.

First Day of School

Moved into my directors office at Warner Bros. today. Life is crazy. Stay tuned.

Bowl Cuts

One of my favorite things to do in L.A. is hit up the Rose Bowl flea market every second Sunday of the month. I've been going here for years. Crazy that I used to come here back in the days with my dad, but we only stayed on the side with all the newer stuff around the acual stadium or the then boring vintage furniture side. It wouldn't be til years later that I ventured off to the other lots and discovered the vintage clothing side, even though I wasn't into that much back then I bet you there were so many untouched gems over there. It's still crazy to me because when I started going by myself around 2008 it was still low-key. There were about one maybe two t-shirt booths with rap tees and all the cool stuff that sales big these days. But now, every other booth is a young collector trying to make fortune off of tee's. It's crazy. I ain't mad at it, but I ain't glad it.

Nonetheless the flea is always a relaxing time, especially people watching and discussing ideas for home decoration with my wife and son while soaking in the sun rays. As if that isn't a sign I'm getting older and my priorities have changed, I'm spending more time on the boring furniture side me and my pops used to cruise long ago. Hopefully by the time my son of his age, he can run off and discover the vintage clothing side and dig for rare vintage Migos and Lil' Uzi merch. ***VOMITS*** The last pick is what I ended up going home with.

Loosies: 01

Cameos

Saturday’s are strictly for the fam... we’ll everyday is but especially weekends. Saturday we hit up one of my favorite breakfast spots in L.A. a dope little place called “Go Get Em’ Tiger”. Special guest appearances by the Mrs. and the prince. All is well.

I’m That Guy Now

The guy that is working on an art/ apparel project and pins up sample images on my office walls. I like being this guy. Soon cometh.

Scented

I stumbled upon this candle at this book store near my office and I’m obsessed. Mainly because most candles targeted towards men all smell the same. A weak cedar/ smoke fragrance that takes three hours of constant burning to actually smell it in a room. As you can tell I’ve had a hard time finding the right combo of fragrances and being satisfied with their output power.

... I don’t even know what “Climbing Tuscan” means...

Introducing Flamingo Estate’s “Climbing Tuscan Rosemary” candle. To be honest I don’t even know what “Climbing Tuscan” means but this candle just hits the spot. It’s definitely acquired smell. It’s a very unique and strong pine scent that instantly satisfies my nostrils. This is not an ad, just super hyped about these thangs. If you’re ever in Highland Park, go peep the Owl Bureau to cop and bless your nose hairs. If they’re low on stock Flamingo Estate has them online. 

Him

Man, extremely happy and humbled to be recognized by the A-List & Creativity Awards by Ad Age. To be honest I don't much about these industry awards, but they tell me this award is based on the Hard to believe I'm nominated for Director of the Year along side some amazing creators, as we all as a hero of mine Spike Jonze!

Throwin Stones

Spent the morning with Bless making a few rounds to some neighbors spot. Peanut Butter and Jason from Stones Throw Records showed us around their studio. Lot's of hip hop history wit those guys. Stay tuned for more.

After that we linked for lunch with DJ Naf. Forgot what we were talking about but we ended up researching the prices for news paper ads. Kid you not the next day Kendrick and Dave Free do this.

And I’m Black

Like I never left. Trying this blog shit again in the twenty twen twen. What up? Y’all good? We good? Aight, Fasho!

Thanks For Visiting!