It doesn’t seem like its been so long since the 1st draft of the script for Sahtyre’s “Suicide” was sent out. My personal favorite song from Sahtyre’s LSD (The Prelude) mixtape, since first hearing the song and being offered to direct the video I’ve been super anxious to bring this song to life. We had done a good job with the Miss Communication video and the B.A.R.S. series back in early 2012 that I have been anxious to work with Sahtyre again, especially if we were able to to secure a decent budget for the next one. After initially throwing ideas back and forth, the original concept being the creation of Sahtyre himself, we were confident enough in the script to wait for the right time to shoot it. Before shooting Suicide, Sahtyre shot and released three other videos from the mixtape (LSD-The Anthem, Bad Habit, & Broccoli) with assistance from another videographer/director, Adam Stanzak, all three being really incredible, although the LSD video stood out to me as some next level stuff. I was after about 7-8 months later starting to have my doubts about the Suicide video actually becoming a reality….until about late September when I got the call from Sahtyre to finally do it. Steez.
Enter: Suicide….the story of a young girl who gets caught up in the allure of “fame” and “super-stardom” and who subsequently ends up paying the ultimate price for it all in the end. The video follows the young girl (Kiara Black) through her slow transition from dancer to model (Brianna King), and her fall from grace leading to her…suicide. Shot on location in Hollywood, CA, the video for Suicide has a very polished, clean but dark and ominous look and feel to it, which was exactly what we envisioned.. More short film than music video, and with no performance shots or even a small cameo from Sahtyre, the video depended solely on the dark aesthetic and the gripping story to pull the viewer into the world in which we created. Working with Sahtyre, Adam Stanzak, and Michael Paredes made directing a breeze. Our pre-production work definitely made all of the difference in the world, and the fact that all of the actors were all on point made filming this video the smoothest process it’s ever been for me. Shot in just two days, the music video for Suicide is arguably my best work yet as a director and has only got me anxious for the next one. In the meantime…watch and enjoy.
Note: There are many different themes being presented in this video…lets see if you can pick up on them.
C Plus is one of my favorite upcoming artists on the scene. Chase Moore and Hippie Sabotage are quickly becoming my favorite producers in the game. All Nighter finds the Sacramento emcee C Plus linking up with Chase and the Hippies to bring you the perfect combination of solid production and dope lyricism, with the sample and visual treatment inspired by the movie Drive. With this video I had the freedom to creatively bring to life a hip hop influenced take on the film, with C Plus as the driver and the sexy Ciara Gorman as the co-star. Shot in the only a day and a half, one at first look probably wouldn’t be able to tell how much work went into the pre-production of this video but I will say that planning definitely pays off. This video has to be one of my favorites so far in how the whole concept and look came together.
In the video C Plus stars as the driver, who with his female accomplice, ends up going head to head with a mob boss (played by Chase Moore) and a hired hitman (played by So Crates) after a botched robbery plot. Anyone who has seen the film Drive will quickly pick up on the loosely inspired plot and theme, to which Chase Moore and Hippie Sabotage superbly do the sample justice. In All NIghter C Plus must quickly learn how to deal with these threats, all while seeming totally cool and unnerved by the attempts on his life. Chase Moore and So Crates do an excellent and convincing job in their portrays of their characters, and we’re still sure that So Crates is still in a little bit of pain. All Nighter can be found on C Plus’ Still Out Here mixtape which is available now at thirdletta.com. Enjoy.
Back in August we released our first collaborative video for Sacramento emcee The Gatlin, entitled Victorian Muzik, which followed Gatlin through an awakening process from the street life to attaining enlightenment. The video attempted to shed light on the drug game as a government set-up and followed Gatlin through his becoming aware of the trap. We now come to the second installment of the video series with the video for Gusto, which takes us back to the events that take place before Victorian Muzik and acts as the impetus of this self-awakening. In this new video, a prequel if you will, we Gatlin caught in the paradigm of risk vs. reward and the rules of the streets….and almost loosing his life as a result.
The video begins with a drug deal gone bad and then explores the events that led up to Gatlin’s near untimely death. The video paints a realistic portrayal of the pitfalls of the street life alluding to the fact that although the reward may be great, in the end the risks one takes with his/her life is not worth that reward. Gatlin learns this the hard way, although he ultimately survives death and is able to live to tell the story. Gusto in no way tries to glorify the street life, rather tells of the reality of its dangers which often lead to incarceration or certain death. The video co-stars many of Sacramento’s noteworthy emcees who join Gatlin in bring this street tale to life. Watch and enjoy.
First off let me say this….Locksmith is a genius. I have been very blessed early in my career to be able to work with artists who are serious about their craft, the quality of their music, and the presentation of their visuals and image. Locksmith is definitely one of those artists. We had discussed a similar concept in the past, for the song “Gone Tomorrow” off his previous project, Labyrinth, although due to scheduling conflicts we were unable to shoot it. I’m glad we made up for it with “Be Free.” Produced by Kashif of 9th Wonder’s Soul Council, the song immediately grabbed me upon hearing it the first time and I knew we would have to do something special visually with this one. We tossed around a couple ideas and a draft or two of the script before we settled on the final concept of having the lead actress, played by the beautiful and talented Alejandra Cruz, on the Golden Gate bridge…I think about two days before we were scheduled to shoot. I’m glad we decided on that because it came out crazy.
This was the first video we shot with the Canon 5D mark III and I won’t be using another camera, besides maybe the Blackmagic Cinema Camera, for a while. The picture quality is absolutely amazing. Even though it was raining with very minimal sunlight, the high ISO capability if the Mark III worked amazingly well under the conditions and made for a beautiful picture. The camera was even able to capture the rain drops which added a nice natural effect the the video, making it worth shooting in the rain although poor Alejandra almost went into hypothermic shock from the freezing cold. Hats off to her because she pulled it off very convincingly. I’ve been very excited about this video, not just because of the look and feel of it, but because it is very rare that hip hop videos depict story-telling in such a creative way, and more so without using a super voluptuous video vixen playing the lead. Everything with this video came together quite well…and while I was a little skeptical at first with the idea of using the same shot in the hotel room for Locksmith’s performance, his vision and insistence paid off. Glad to have been a part of this. Enjoy.
Matty Slims performing “Weed & Beer” © Open University Productions 2012.
Produced by C-Note for Open University Productions
Directed and edited by Amadeuz Christ
Matty Slims & C-Note “The Sunset District EP” available here:
Open University presents: Ab-Soul performs his 1st headline show at The New Parish in Oakland, CA then gives an exclusive interview with 90.5 KSJS’ Arman “Strong Arm” Mahmoudi discussing Control System, his growing fan base, and linking up with Danny Brown for “Terrorist Threats.” In the interview Ab-Soul also touches upon the origins of TDE and the benefits of having such a dynamic in-house production team at his disposal.
Thanks to Matt Posada for this one…..
In this episode of “Fresh to Death” Unsa Suhail gets an exclusive interview with the mighty 9th Wonder to discuss the producer “brotherhood” and creating a regional sound in hip hop. 9th Wonder also touches on the impact of the digital age, while also elaborating on westcoast emcees Fashawn, Blu, and Kendrick Lamar. He also hints at the possibility of signing Sacramento’s newest sensation Chuuwee. Footage taken at The New Parish (Oakland, CA). Event by Tastemaker Live and presented by Open University, in association with KSJS Hip Hop.
Additional photography by DJ Combsy.
90.5FM KSJS/Open University present a Fresh to Death exclusive as StrongArm sits down with Evidence, following his performance at Avalon Night Club on The Grouch who Stole Christmas Tour. Evidence spoke on his latest album, Rhymesayers debut, “Cats & Dogs”, as well as wanting to work with Mos Def, past and future work with Dilated Peoples, upcoming music with long-time collaborator, The Alchemist, as well as commented on performing with Atmosphere and Fashawn on different tours.
Footage was taken at The Avalon Night Club, thanks to Ineffable Music Group, DJ Aspect, Tim House, DJ Fresh & Rhymesayers Ent.
Dom Kennedy stops by the 90.5 KSJS station for an exclusive interview with Arman “Strong Arm” Mahmoudi, in this Fresh to Death exclusive presented by Open University. In the interview Dom Kennedy discusses performing in the Bay Area, the recording process behind From the Westside with Love 2, and his future collaborations.
*This footage was taken on the W$GT$ tour in November 2011. Catch Dom Kennedy on Tour right now on the This is Dom Kennedy tour and look out for The Yellow Album dropping soon.
Live performance filmed at the Avalon in Santa Clara, CA. (Event by Ineffable Music Group)
Unsa Suhail and Freddie Gibbs discuss signing to Jeezy and CTE, P.O.C, and his current career situation for an Open University/KSJS/Fresh to Death presentation. In the interview Freddie Gibbs also discusses the importance of the internet and online presence, and also touches upon the controversial topic of Oscar Grant and problem of police brutality.
Footage taken @330 Ritch in San Francisco, CA.
C-Note, Dem One, IL Twice and Noah Deeakili performing Power of the Third. © Open University Productions 2012.
Directed and edited by @AmadeuzChrist
Open University presents: C-Note: Keepin’ It 100 available now
With “TAKE ME AWAY” Locksmith paints a picture of his formative years and unlocks an introspective glimpse of the person behind his rap moniker. Directed Amadeuz Christ & @dalocksmith.
Music by @J_O_beats.
Labyrinth coming soon on http://www.IAMLOCK.com
Open University presents: Tabi Bonney exclusive interview with Arman (Strong Arm) Mahmoudi during Murs’ Hip Hop & Love Tour for 90.5 KSJS “Fresh to Death” radio show. Before performing at the Hip Hop & Love Tour, Tabi sits down to discuss his upbringing and being from Washington D.C, touring with Murs, Paid Dues, as well as discusses his future film projects with Dame Dash. Performance filmed at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, Ca.
Filmed and edited by @AmadeuzChrist
Open University presents: Ski Beatz and Locksmith give Arman (Strong Arm) Mahmoudi an exclusive interview before performing at Murs’ “Hip Hop & Love” tour for 90.5 KSJS “Fresh to Death” radio show. In the interview Ski Beatz discusses his production style, current and future projects, and how he hooked up with Locksmith. In the second part of the interview Locksmith discusses Embedded, his influences, and his growth as an artist on new projects. Concert footage filmed at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA at Murs’ “Hip Hop & Love” tour.
Filmed and edited by @AmadeuzChrist
[New Video] Kendrick Lamar “Fresh to Death” (On Album w/J.Cole, Dr. Dre, Drake, Tech N9ne, Debut Studio
Open University presents: Kendrick Lamar @ The New Parish “Fresh to Death” for 90.5 KSJS. In his second time performing at The New Parish in Oakland, CA, Kendrick Lamar gives an exclusive interview with Unsa Suhail and Arman (Strong Arm) Mahmoudi, discussing Section 80, Wu-Tang, his collaborative effort with J.Cole, rumors of him signing to Aftermath Ent. and working with Drake. Kendrick also discusses his stance on Occupy Wall Street and talks about the difference in past projects and his new studio debut album coming soon. Event by Tastemaker Live.
Filmed and edited by @AmadeuzChrist for I.V League Media
Kendrick Lamar interview courtesy of Top Dawg Ent.
Additional filming by Chex Mex
[New Video] Casey Veggies “Fresh to Death” (On Odd Future, Mac Miller, Jay-Z, Wale, Dom Kennedy)
Open University presents: Casey Veggies, in this exclusive interview with Unsa Suhail and Arman (Strong Arm) Mahmoudi for 90.5 KSJS “Fresh to Death,” speaks about linking up with Mac Miller for the Blue Slide Park Tour along with his current endeavors. He speaks on his involvement with Odd Future, meeting Jay-Z and possibly signing to Roc Nation, as well as his connection to Wale and Dom Kennedy’s positive influence on his career.
Concert footage taken at Mac Mller’s Blue Slide Park Tour @ The Avalon Santa Clara, CA in association with DJ Aspect and Ineffable Music Group.
Filmed and edited by @AmadeuzChrist for I.V League Media
Open University presents: Blue Scholars give an exclusive interview for 90.5 KSJS “Fresh to Death” after a sold out performance at Slim’s in San Francisco, CA. Arman [Strong Arm] Mahmoudi and Unsa Suhail ask Blue Scholars about their support of Occupy Wall Street, musical influences, the politics of major labels, 360 deals, and how hip hop empowers the youth.
Directed and edited by Amadeuz Christ
Additional filming by Allan Maye
[New Video] Nipsey Hussle “Fresh to Death” (On Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, New West, Working w/Rick Ross)
Nipsey Hussle sits down with Arman (Strongarm) Mahmoudi after his performance @ Yoshi’s SF on his The Marathon Continues tour for an Open University/KSJS Hip Hop presentation of “Fresh to Death” radio show. In this exclusive interview, Nipsey touches on the new west, upcoming artists like Kendrick Lamar and Dom Kennedy, why being independent works for him, the importance of having a good team, and who he would like to work with. Nipsey also says that he wants to work with T.I. and has already done something with Rick Ross.