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.
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.