Collective Culture had an awesome early April of music video productions and we released three of them this week!
The first one was for local Denver artist Ortiz entitled Lost. This video explores the the internal struggle young adults face as we begin to “grow up” and I identify our priorities. Sometimes we don’t give ourself enough grace, and other times we give ourself TOO much grace and abuse that freedom. When Ortiz came to me with this song I immediately connected. I VERY often feel lost and frankly sorry for myself. I wanted to communicate that with the viewer, we ALL go through times of growth where we KNOW we are called to something HIGHER but we are creatures of habit and change SCARES us. I remember a time where I knew DAMN well that God had something MORE for me but i was too scared to move past the drinking and smoking routine to GET MY BLESSING. I would rather have the crutch of intoxication then be challenged to something greater. IN this piece I had Ortiz do both verses walking down the SAME block drinking and smoking to show that sometimes we just get STUCK in our own ways. WE GET LOST INSIDE OUR HEAD. I hope this visual challenges you, and encourages you to kill your inner bitch and to get up and be BRAVE. Take a look at our internal battle below!
*A NOTE FROM ORTIZ*
At the time I wrote the song I had grown very distant from my family and was seldom seen. I spent too much time drinking and smoking, this was my way of pulling myself out of a slump of negative thinking. Lost in my head for me translates to lack of motivation and direction. Sometime you just have to get out of your own head and push aside doubt and lack of confidence. When I took this project to you (Jeremy), it’s like you had the video in your head instantly. I definitely had a lack of visual creativity when trying to do the song justice. I relied on your vision completely and it was comforting to have confidence that you will do the song justice. To also show my audience the meaning of this song if they didn’t catch when they first heard it.
Our second release was for talented R&B singer and songwriter Paul Junior. We dove deep into the topic of race relations and worked hard to showcase that everyone has a story to tell and not all stereotypes are accurate. In a time where Facebook live and Snapchat showcase how truly intense our social unrest is, we wanted to offer another perspective on how we can show love and give grace to our fellow man.
*A NOTE FROM PAUL JUNIOR*
The original draft of this song was written by the talented songwriter Jon Portillo. He wrote it as a creative response to the movie ‘Crash’, which his class was asked to do for the Counseling Program at the Denver Seminary. The man who played the lead role in the video is Brian Milton, a native of Park Hill who was in the same class when Jon played the song. Brian was so moved and expressed that to Jon after class. Brian himself is an Addiction Treatment Therapist, and is one of the nicest and most humble people I have ever met. Jon reached out to me to see if I wanted to turn this amazing piece into a full song and production for release because he felt I was the right man for the job. Once I saw the lyrics, I was on board in a heartbeat. I reached out to my good friend David Jonathan for some emotional and bluesy guitar riffs, and he gave me exactly what I was looking for to set the tone for this powerful piece. I worked on the lyrics and added my own touches with writing and vocals, produced the song up with multiple layers, and the rest is history. I had an idea to do a video for the song along the lines of the scene in ‘Crash’ where Terrence Howard becomes angry and loses it on the cops. But after coming together with the guys involved in the song, we formed our own version of the story to highlight multiple issues that plague us in society. Once the story was ready, there was only one man we ALL had in mind that could bring it to life, and that was Jeremy Pape. He gave us his ideas and brought the video to life in a way that even I couldn’t have imagined. Plus anyone that knows him, knows that his extremely positive attitude and outlook on life makes him a joy to work with. When searching for the additional actors/actresses to play the roles, it seemed like everyone was very moved by the song and story and jumped at the chance to be apart of it. We were thankful to have the lovely and talented Bianca Mikahn be apart of the video, as well as my dear friends Jacqueline Ross, and Giuseppe Santino’s daughter Ava Rando. I was greeted with respect and a willingness to help with other things by my good high school friends Adrian Garcia, and Army Veteran Sharky McAlmond. The video tackles issues like Racial Profiling, Police Brutality, PTSD, support of our Military Veterans, Health Insurance issues, lack of understanding for the job police officers do every day, and the dark political cloud that currently divides us all. I am so thankful of the response this video has been receiving in just two days, and I am humbled and grateful for everyone that tapped on the link and pressed play. Every time that is done because of your shares and spreading the word, you allow another person to see it which could ultimately give them a new perspective and one day inspire true change. The song has been shared by other veterans, addiction counselors, police officers, teachers, and multiple musicians and songwriters.
Finally, our third release was a journey down memory lane with Aurora MC’s Six O’Clock, Bvggz and Jus-1. I recently have been feeling like I have been growing apart from some of my younger more “turnt up” focused friends. Luckily, I have an AMAZING support system of really dope, hard working more “adult” friends but I can’t help but feel sad that I am losing some relationships. When Six sent me his album I was drawn to this song. Not only because it speaks to my life currently but because I’ve been dying to work with ole Bvggz too! I broke this video into three acts because I wanted to explore the Past, Present and Future of the “grind”. When you first start EVERYONE is down for the cause (remember Welcome to the D.O.P.E. Game???), you aren’t a threat at this time, you are just a wild & fun dreamer! At least thats how I felt. Everything was a party. BUT when you become more successful you have to turn into a business person and that makes you LESS fun. People don’t wanna be around for the taxes and the hard work that leads up to the party, they just wanna party! I haven’t reached the future yet, but I imagine when I’m old and tired I’ll look back on all that I have done and all the lives I have affected with my art and LOVE that I will be STOKED! I won’t have near as many pals as when I started but thats ok because the ones that stick around are the ones worth keeping. I am thankful I got to share this story with these 3 because I truly feel they have brought so much to Denver hiphop and I hope they continue to work hard even if it gets lonely. The rise to stardom is often riddled with bad business, bandwagon friends and a LOT of hard work. Sometimes when you arrive at the top you look back and realize the journey was more fun. It’s lonely at the top, but sometimes that’s a good thing!
*A NOTE FROM SIX O’CLOCK*
After making this song with Bvggz & Jus-1 I immediately had visions for what a video would like. I knew that the song was a goodie and we had to get Jeremy involved in order to truly bring the vision to life. This video and song is a true reflection of the hard work and the ups and downs we face while chasing dreams. Knowing Pape from some past work we already had a good vibe and after meeting about this song it was instant chemistry his vision and eye for the shot is un matched. He described his concept like he was in my own head. The day we shot this video the energy was crazy and we all knew we had a good one. Jeremy’s ability to listen and embrace others is a true gift we must all acknowledge.