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ORIGINAL ROUGH DRAFT
When I write, I usually record a rough run through on my iPhone. I use the memos app just so I can hear it back and make tweaks until I feel its ready to take to the studio. I forgot that I rewrote the second verse completely.
'Pull Up' was the first public step into the new direction I wanted to go in. The artwork I chose for that single seemed to be basic and almost standard to what's out - I was testing the waters. 'Cross The Line' was the backbone of my official album announcement - my statement that I'm here - so the single artwork had to be just as loud.
Due to timing, we had to create the single artwork in-house. My longtime friend, who isn't a designer full-time sent me a few drafts but this piece grabbed my attention.
I loved the vintage photo, the relief and sense of accomplishment on the winner's face, but I resonated more with the guy in second place. His face screamed struggle but he wasn't stopping.
I loved that he captured the layers underneath the music with the burned corner with my lyrics. It just wasn't it yet.
A few days later, my friend sent me this photo of JFK Jr. at his father's funeral. I knew he was on to something when he sent me this text:
I thought this image was powerful. JFK was man before his time, thinking of the bigger picture, and pissed off the wrong people while doing it. In the end, his son had to grow up quickly. I immediately agreed to using this.
But... our distribution company rejected it immediately after submitting it due to copyright infringement. We thought because it was in the national database that it was free reign - we were wrong.
We ended up with a way better representation of the tone that aligned with the music video. Lesson - each roadblock led us to a better result.
When Cross The Line was finished, my team wanted to call it 'Greatness On My Mind' because of how it screams motivation but overall it was more than that. That didn't stop them from creating this hat with GR8NSS loud on top so they can literally have GREATNESS on their MIND.........lol
MAKING THE VIDEO
When 'Pull Up' was being filmed, there were so many moments that captured the sweat, hard work, and fun that goes on behind the scenes. Going into the next videos, my team and I made sure to have an extra camera ready to capture it all.
The treatment for this video started with the notes "GLADIATOR ENTRANCE" - it had to be loud with a lot of lights. It was directed by Joel Florian with tons of input from my team, bless him for being open to all the feedback and notes. We had a lot of fun with him, we asked him to direct the other 5 videos. He’s a genius.
BREAKING DOWN THE VIDEO
The video for Cross the Line actually got leaked a week earlier than planned. I know I'm not a huge artist yet so leaks won't derail my plans too badly but we weren't ready! About 2-3 days later, I found a reaction to the video by Zay Rashad on YouTube. I was shocked that someone would dedicated some time to do that and I was intrigued. So I decided to react to my own video and break down the details that would've gone unoticed.