Art is for the people by the people.
There is no greater reminder of that than recognizing all who contributed to produce a piece of art.
This time last year, I was one month into the production of my first solo EP The Book of Cosmosis. I had been in conversation with producer, MC, and videographer Symmetry for the months leading up to 2020. We were both excited to venture into a project that could push the boundaries of underground hip hop. We didn't anticipate an incoming pandemic to fuel the inequalities we aimed to address.
The next few months, coupled with the unraveling of COVID-19, involved weekly sessions with Symmetry and collaborations with local hip hop artists, which also produced a separate collaboration EP with Psydeshow, Tre Dots, and Luna Crave. The tongue-in-cheek project titled Current Virus celebrated artists' power and resilience as we persevered through changing times.
Inspired by the artistic community around us, Symmetry and I powered through the creation of both The Book of Cosmosis and Current Virus. We believed our contribution could further empower artists and the communities we come from. This has become the seed for Greenboro, an artist community that continues to grow and develop.
Fast forward past some grueling months, the photoshoot to create The Book of Cosmosis' EP Cover was a godsend - a symbol of a nearly-completed project and the culmination of creative worlds.
The cover photo was taken by Psydeshow, a photographer, MC, and producer, who is also a long-time friend and who was responsible for my first recorded hip hop verse on "Earthquake" off his EP Testimony of a Freak. His latest track SLUMP! for his upcoming album goes just as hard (or dare I say harder).
The photoshoot also wouldn't have been possible without my friend Marisa Llamas, an actor, comedian, and stylist. She's the type of friend who will let me know when shit is not right - perfect for my own takes on fashion! Her creative work ranges from comedic skits, fashion vlogs, as well as film production. A notable recent work is a social parody music video infamously titled "BVE (Big Vag Energy)".
I'm blessed to have the support of a talented and visionary team that made this all happen. Every artist involved brought their professional expertise and insight to create the memorable cover for The Book of Cosmosis.
Shortly after the EP's release, one of my good friends, Vannie Bunnie, recreated the cover art in her unique style (shown above).
Be still, my heart.
We all know art inspires art, and to experience it spanning different genres of art while also connecting my good friends is no less than a saving force.
When you have a chance to listen to The Book of Cosmosis and Current Virus, please remember the people who contributed to make it a reality. Listen to their work, watch their productions, and expose yourself to the talent around you. And when you are manifesting your masterpiece, don't forget the artistic community that supports you.