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Interview: Rik Cordero (video director)
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
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T: The buzz about your videos has really grown, speak on when the tide turned. I know you mentioned the Jay-Z trailer was a major moment.
RC:
That was in '07. So it was a series of small breaks and working with a lot of major label artists. After Blue Magic we did Snoop Dogg, which was our first West Coast artist, which was great. Talking to him, he really saw what we did we Joell Ortiz' videos and that's why he wanted to use us. What's kind of interesting to me is that you would think these major label guys and the legends are used to a certain way of shooting videos, like how it was ten years ago. But really they're kinda doing a lot of research and seeing what's out there. So guys like Snoop and Jay-Z, Nas, Busta Rhymes, they pay attention to the stuff that we do for some of the underground cats and they want that look or that spontaneity of just going out there and doing a video without having to worry about huge amounts of money to visualize one of their songs. The money is not really there and music industry is definitely going through some changes. We're adapting to it and it makes sense for everybody involved to give some options to these artists to do songs that they want to do. What the labels will do is release a street single and video, and then the main single and commercial video. I think there's definitely a lot more in the catalogue of these artists, not just a street single and mainstream single to shoot videos for. We focus on the stuff that's right in between. Whether it's a storytelling single or something a little more personal that isn't necessarily commercial. Those are the videos that we do. The turn around time and being honest to what these artists want is why they keep coming back.

T: List off a bunch videos you've done.
RC:
In '08 we did a lot of videos. As I mentioned, we did Snoop Dogg's Never Have To Worry. Then we did four videos off The Roots' Rising Down album. We did the Be A Nigger Too video for Nas, which didn't make it on his untitled album but it was a viral piece that got out there. We did a video for Wale, Artistic Integrity. Another video for Nas, Sly Fox. We did The Truth which was off the Jake One album featuring Freeway and Brother Ali. We did three videos off The Renaissance for Q-Tip which was Move, Renaissance Rap, and Man Woman Boogie. Then in '09 we did Arab Money for Busta Rhymes, Part of Me for Royce the 5'9", Rotate for CNN, and the last video we just shot was In My Sleep for Joe Budden. So, it was a pretty busy year in '08.

T: Do you write the treatments for the videos or do artists bring an idea to the table?
RC:
A little bit of both. I like to get an idea of what they want first and then we shape the treatment together usually. There's been a few times where I kinda nailed a treatment for a song but I like to get their feedback first and just build on that. If they have an idea I don't necessarily just write it verbatim but I usually try to incorporate their idea and add on to it. (We) make them see something that they hadn't initially seen in the song visually...to challenge them, and put them in the situation where they're challenging themselves on set. It's not just performing in front of a white wall, we're giving them things where they have to emote and show some acting skills sometimes.




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