I was a rap kid. It's true.
Photo: Me in Tokyo, 2001. I was there doing projections for Product Placement with DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist.
This is where it really started for me -- a swap meet in Gardena.
It took two busses to get there, and you had to wander through aisles of stolen tools and bootleg Fila sneakers (I had a pair but could never bring myself to wear them) to get there.
Hidden next to the snack bar was an Oasis of vinyl, a record booth operated by a warm Japanese-American man in Oakley blades. Steve Yano. This is where I would buy mix tapes from Dr. Dre and where I met Eazy-E for the first time.
Photo: Andrew Gura 2015.
Gift to the author from Carl Endo.
Became this cover...
And this gatefold.
I wrote an article about the experience for Frank 151. Read it here.
MF Doom used to go by Zev Love X. He was the frontman in legendary Golden Age rap group KMD, making appearances with Third Bass on songs like 'The Gas Face.'
While we were shooting, I asked Doom if he would sign my copy of KMD's Peachfuzz 12" single.
'Absolutely,' he said.
'What name would you use?' I asked.
'I would sign it Zev Love X!'
So later, when we were hanging out, eating a pizza and waiting for Doom's taxi, I broke out the record and he Sharpie'd it up.
It's the little things, isn't it?
I was commissioned to create something resembling a 'fan' video for this song by Wyclef Jean featuring Lil Wayne and Akon. I decided to bring in Google Image Search, lo-fi animation and a little conspiracy theory.
Originally, it was purpose was for an internal presentation. Then somehow, the video made it to YouTube. 7.5 million views later...
Also see next door for what happened when Wyclef showed it to a crowd of thousands at Google.
The inaugural date of Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow's second all-7inch 45rpm DJ tour.
Shot from my perch in the VIP section, mixing visuals on two VHS VCRs and a video mixer. They had just brought out fresh-baked cookies and milk for the crowd.
Read about this Philly adventure here.
See these theatrical spots and the stories around them here.
And then we go to Queensbridge.
I got the opportunity to direct the music video for Nas' 'Unauthorized Biography of Rakim.'
Shot at Broadway Stages on Green Street in Brooklyn, this was seriously a dream come true.