6:04am, I wake up to the feeling of incompleteness. This was due to me finishing an awesome podcast feature with BEAT RHINO, but not finalizing it for upload to the people. After 3 hours of mixing, adding flair, adjusting levels, and making it presentable, it was 9:30am. I was invited to document, and make a small cameo in ROUGH CITY’S new music video. The director MICHAEL LEGATO wanted to meet me, and Rough City is damn year fam to me in this music industry, to where if I am physically able help, I will..it’s nothing to me. The shoot was not to start until 1:00pm, so if you know me, I had a good 3 hours, at most, to watch some NARUTO…Hard work, dedication, and imagination. The video shoot was in the city of Highland Park/Pasadena vicinity. As stated in the previous blog titled “A Good Night for Hip Hop”, I guess it’s fair to say that video shoots don’t start on time either. All jokes aside, me and the lady were the first ones on location. With a dying phone battery, and not sure what was going on, I made a call to BLAX ONE ILL, to make sure we were at the right location. A woman with pink hair walks out and makes a call. We ear hustle, and hear her mention that “We are still waiting on people”. Immediately after that, the man that stomps the ground heavy, making his presence known everywhere, approaches to confirm that we are in the right place. ROUGH CITY’S SP greets, and instructs us to go to his place, and make ourselves at home. Hospitality is golden, even in the hood/barrio. Upon entering the humble abode, the smell of good times, and good past parties filled the air of the Rough City apartment. Due to expecting the shoot to have started already, the lady and I skipped breakfast and came straight to the shoot. Since we were the only ones there, we decide to leave and get food. As we walked out, we are approached by a light skinned, buff, intimidating looking dude, with a Kimbo Slice type of beard. If you actually know him, you will realize he’s a genuine, and humble human being. He is Rough City’s ridiculously above par bar spitter, “ILL SPEAK“. I was greeted by a few individuals, who happened to know the name KILLAHRONH, but never knew the face. The director was included as well. We will get to him soon, but food was the only thing on our minds at this time.
We wondered off, and ended up finding a spot called FUSION BURGERS. The food was a tad bit salty, yet quite satisfying. We sampled turkey burgers, and the cheese fries were served with one piece of cheese on top of the french fries, barely melted. Not to get off topic, but the idea of cheese fries is to have melted cheese on the french fries, like nachos, but most places just toss a piece of cheese on top, and expect the heat to melt it to a sauce state; sorry that won’t achieve it. Fusion Burgers did the same as most, but all in all, a place you would see on DINERS DRIVE-INS AND DIVES.
Upon returning to the video shoot, we see the director Michael Legato, and his film crew hard at work. This was no ordinary music video. I do my own music videos, using a simple 720p HD camera. The device used for the shoot was an extremely high end digital motion picture movie camera. The professionalism was above and beyond. Like I said, I was only supposed to be a quick cameo, but I became labeled the “Money Man” for the video, due to my tattoos and was used for the majority of the shoot. I have not heard the song yet, I’m assuming it’s metaphorical, telling the story of someone they once knew, or making a point about gang life, but one thing I do know, is that Rough City never disappoints with the music. I came dressed in my live show outfit, KILLAHRONH shirt with a KILLAHRONH hat, but for the part, I had to swap it all for an extra long white tee, and LOC-SHADES. What people don’t know about music videos, is that it takes a loooong time..and it takes a lot of patience. Professionalism, and film crew experience is a big factor as far as how smooth, and quickly a shoot can go; this can easily apply to a movie as well. Everyone in the video had a role to play, and they played it well, at least from what I was able to see. The junkies were made-up very well, (Paul, beanie junky, etc…), and the thugs, including myself meshed with the video nicely. Just for the record, I KILLAHRONH, am no thug in any form or fashion, so please don’t get it twisted. This was all support to help turn a group of real artists’ vision, that I respect, into a visual reality. As it drew closer to sun down, we continued to shoot scenes over and over, until they were right. Specifically, the “Dice Game Scene”. This consisted of Blax One ILL, SP, and Mikey Lo, shooting craps in an alley. When you watch the video, pay close attention to the “crouching wall thugs”. Much effort was put in by these gentlemen. Crouching for a good hour, scene after scene takes a toll on the legs, #RESPECT. ROUGH CITY has a dynamic that must be seen in order to understand. There was a moment where SP and ILL SPEAK were going back and forth, comparing each others level of dopeness as MC’s, all while trying to explain how the other is better. Mind you, this was done with thought provoking intelligence, and comedy. Hopefully, when they come on the Drodian Podcast *Remixed* again, you will get to witness it first hand. With the 10 hours that I spent participating, I got a small glimpse into what is frequently done on a much bigger level. They shut the alley down to make room for the wide video camera track slider, props, and cast. Apartment tenants were not able to drive through. On a bigger scale, when there are movies filmed in public, they shut down entire streets! Coming from the city of Downey, I had to get back to my stomping grounds to avoid sleeping on the road, but I’m sure the shoot went on for another 2 – 3 hours after I left. Seeing the hard work that went into this shoot, made me see, first hand, the hard work and dedication that this group puts into their music. They take it serious, and not many rappers/emcees/artists do this. Most expect it all to just happen for them. Most think that they can be like Beyonce, and just put the art out there, and expect the world to do the rest for you…NO! it does not work like that. Hard work is key, but working smarter is the master key. Dedication is required, if you listen to DIE4RADIO on any night, where they have a guest interview, they all will say the same thing. It’s not overnight, and the only way it can be done even remotely close to overnight, is if you have a lot of money to move gears faster than your good word. Promotion is another topic, which I might touch on, on a later Drodian Podcast *Remixed* episode. Anyhow, Peace to everyone that was involved with this amazing production. Junkies, the make-up artist that brought them to life, or should I say, made them look closer to dead. The Thugs, Crouching Thugs (I see you!), KELO, his peoples, the entourage, the film crew, (the dedication is ridiculously high, I only see good things coming your way). ROUGH CITY: Blax One ILL, who was running around all day, making things happen, and was on point, a true professional. SpacePimpin (SP), Professional, talented, and hilarious. He Unleashed the afro and the women stopped their cars in front of the video shoot to give their phone numbers to him, true story…true pimpin’. Mikey Lo aka DANGO BEATS, the silent ninja, and ILL Speak. ILL Speak wasn’t filmed much, so he simply oversaw everything, and every time I saw him, he was eating sugar all day to maintain energy. I would say be easy on the sugar bossman, Diabetes is no joke according to Phife Dawg from A TRIBE CALLED QUEST, and quite a few of my family relatives. Lastly, peace to the director Michael Legato, his level of professionalism is off the charts. The hard work, dedication, and imagination flows thru him like medi-chlorians. Be on the look out for this ROUGH CITY music video, and their upcoming shows. April 11th, with WILDCARD, at the TERRACE in Pasadena. Be sure to lookout for the next Drodian Podcast very soon. It should be episode #6, featuring BEAT RHINO. If you are fan of real HIP HOP, be sure to check out DIE4RADIO, hosted by DIAR LANSKY, MADDPHOUR, and SNEEK ROTHSTEIN on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays (646-200-4945) Check out WWW.SHUTEMDOWNRADIO.COM, 7 days a week (347-850-1177). Lastly, check out the Drodians music at WWW.DRODIANS.COM, and since you are already here, check out/download some of the past DRODIAN PODCAST.
Good read. Makes the reader feel like they were there.