Tuesday, December 26, 2017

4square with Cam Archer, MC Lyfe, RasJosh Beats, So Cal Street Team & More!

Welcome to the latest 4square installment from JooseBoxx!

MUSICIAN: Cam Archer
ALBUM TITLE: Spirit Gunner


"The idea to go with an Akira inspired cover on this album was technically Kit. I had a similar idea but involved me actually in front of a car. We had discussed a homage to Akria in the past and this album made a lot of sense to put it into action. It plays well off of certain areas of the story within the album and the different emotions that went into it. The energy of the album I guess you could say, had some Akira in it. Especially from Testsuo's point of view.

Kit is the best artist I personally know and one of the best I've seen due to him immense versatility. I can give him a concept idea and 90% of the time he takes it and brings it to life exactly the way I had envisioned. Even when there are alterations to be made, I know they'll be done with great detail. As for the time at which this cover came about, I would say the album concept and length was already decided. However, he started working on it in another room during the very first recording session for the album."


"Well, the covers were really extensions of the individuals I see them both as. For the Transition, the artwork was a far cry from previous work I had done with CJ mainly because the focus was on him instead of the concept of the record at hand. Compared the single artwork for Be Free and Pina Colada, the Transition is an artistic rendition of not a theme, but a quality I had gotten to observe over time. The proudest moment I had taken apart of was Jig's wedding day and i've never seen him more in his element. So as the gradient of drafting increases from college ruled lined paper to a final digital render of the man himself, the middle ground where he made a commitment to the woman he wants to spend eternity with felt like the middle ground with which he will stand upon, regardless of the hardships he'll most certainly encounter in changing his moniker. That cover basically drew itself to be honest haha.

For Cam's cover, the idea was much less tangible and shifted from concept to concept. He's obviously a big fan of japanese culture, sports, video games and the like, so the ideas given started with the initial inspiration of Yu Yu Hakusho but hit a wall early on. As he had me sit in on sessions for SpiritGunner, I got a better feel of the direction he wanted to take the visual design. A thread that ties together these two covers in particular is the bond shared between members of Half Valve and OE. There's no yes-men in our collectives (respectively) so subpar work won't reach the masses 9 out of 10 times. Speaking from such stipulation, members of both camps trust my artistic vision and if all else fails, will let me take the wheel in putting together something fye. I dropped the idea of doing an Akira homage and having the 5.0 from the first cover make a return and Cam responded with a Drake meme and it was lit. I painted most of said cover during the session for Nights and completed it before we finished the BGIV track. The back cover was inspired by a Yoshiro Togashi promo piece and actually went through two drafts before getting it right. The OG draft is the first time i've put myself into any of my clients work. "

* Spirit Gunner back cover
* for comparative reference, art from Akira



"When I was broke and in the streets I would go to the top of the city, smoke and think: one day I'm gonna be known in my city. I'm gonna do great things and become a success. All while being a broke kid on top of a mountain. The irony is funny cause even at my lowest point I managed to still be on top of the world in a sense. I would sit there and think like 'Damb, this happened over there, I did this over here, I smoke over with so and so in that lot...I went to school there, lost my virginity over there like- damn, this city has really seen the best and worst of me and now when i go to the top I smoke and remind myself where I once was compared to where I am now and to where the future will lead me next.
MUSICIAN: RasJosh Beats & Tanjint Wiggy
ALBUM TITLE: Inland Imperial
ALBUM ART BY: Ryan Gaffin, Cash Tijerina of New Culture Media Group & Tan Nguyen of CopyCats


"I wanted something that evoked our last West Coast Avengers group album, “The Inland Empire Strikes Back”,  but also just something really attention grabbing. I knew I wanted a juxtaposition of the fantastical and the street. Ryan Gaffin got to showing me photos he had taken of Fontana. I saw the ones that made the front and back cover and just knew if we added Star Wars crafts to them I’d have what I wanted.
Something about the electrical tower’s geometry made me think of an Imperial Star Destroyer. I was wondering how we could turn the tower into a Star Destroyer when Cash suggested we depict a Star Destroyer crashing INTO the tower. Once he did the Photoshop work to make that happen I knew I had my cover. Cash knows me well because when I said it reminded me of the Led Zeppelin I cover, Cash said he was inspired to make an homage to that image by the black-and-white coloration of Ryan Gaffin’s photos. I don’t remember ever explicitly telling how much I like Zeppelin but either way he knew, so the confluence of Fontana and Star Wars and classic rock homage made me very pleased with it. "

* for comparative reference, art from Led Zeppelin I

* for comparative reference, image of the Hindenberg disaster before being edited for Zeppelin cover

MUSICIAN: So Cal Street Team
ALBUM ART BY: Wellington Rawls

Yung Miss (of SCST):

"I came up with the concept from a picture of us I have as my desktop screensaver.
Basically the same picture just updated with our separate looks after growth.

Seeing the picture whenever I logged on to work always inspired me to make something happen."

Tristan "Tanjint Wiggy" Acker is a staff writer for JooseBoxx, youth hip-hop writing instructor with CHORDS Enrichment Youth program (chordseyp.org) and member of the Inland Empire nerdcore hip-hop group the West Coast Avengers. Catch more of their work at westcoastavengers.com, follow Tristan on Twitter @Tanjint or e-mail him at tristanacker@gmail.com

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