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A sit down with Director Diego Cruz Interview

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After getting back the bio for Director Diego Cruz, I surprisingly discover i had come across this talent early in his career. It was 2014 when him and a group of friends put together a short horror film. It was then he decided to get into making music videos and sharpening his skill sets. It was late 2015 when he started working with Icewear Vezzo who was quickly building a buzz nationally.

It was over the joint  “MoonWalkin” that i first got acquainted with Diego. Unfortunately it was not the exchange i would have preferred to have with a talented person i knew was on his way to big things. But i completely understood his reason for disbelief and being frustrated. You see his video was nominated for Video of the year, yet he was not a finalist for Director of the year. Seems a little off right?

I dont really know if what i said pissed him off even more, but he left it alone and came back year after year with a undeniable presence in awards voting. Unlike music producers which often have a tag on the track so you know who did the beat, you dont exactly see artist out here giving video directors props. Knowing he deserved to be on that list of final nominations, he had fell victim to the popularity contest that fan voter awards are plagued by.

See at the time everyone had seen Diego Cruz work, but wasn’t familiar with the name. Well that soon changed as Diego was plastered on all of the hot artist coming out the city. It got to the point where if you didn’t have a video directed by Diego you wasn’t really serious with this music thing yet.

We will fast forward to the presence and get the conversation started.

 

Uncle P: Before anyone attempts to put you in the Local Box, where we all start somewhere but let’s familiarize the people with the National acts that are apart of your portfolio at this point.

Diego:   National Acts that are currently on my portfolio are, Gucci Mane, Joyner Lucas,  Joell Ortiz, Fredo Bang,  Fabolous, Westside Boogie, Benny the Butcher ( Video is unreleased )

 

Uncle P:  What has life been like since winning your Underground Hip Hop award as a director?

Diego:  After the win, it was just like before, great. I just had an extra little spice to it, because it does really feel good being acknowledge by my city and peers. I love Detroit, and everything about. There’s no city like ours.

Artist really started approaching me differently when it came down to the creativity of the videos.

 

Uncle P:  We notice the depth of the videos you direct, how difficult was it to turn down doing the typical video shoots and demand more creativity from the artist you are capturing on camera?

Diego:  Turning down the typical Run and gun video has been and still is an ongoing battle, it’s usually more of a time thing, but I have run into artist that really don’t want to do that because they feel their brand and audience won’t appreciate it. I still catch myself doing run and gun videos, I just approach from a creative point of view, concepts and storylines are always about immersive experiences, so if I can costume the same feel with a run and gun video then it’s a mission accomplished, so over the years it’s been better. Most artist that hire me know what they’re getting into with me, cause now the first words are, I want a treatment.

 

Uncle P:  How was the experience working along side Gerard Victor? Who i might add won the very first Best Director award from the same Underground Hip Hop awards you were celebrated at.

Diego:  Gerard is definitely like a brother to me, he was the main source of my inspiration during my early career, we get confused for all the time as well, which is funny. We definitely have that little brother big brother mentality, even down to disagreements, but at the end of the day, that’s my family. I’m grateful our paths crossed, and we learn from and inspire each other all the time, we’ve collaborated on videos and share our videos sometimes to get some feedback from each other.

 

 

Uncle P:  Have you done everything you wanted to do when it comes to directing music videos?

Diego:  I don’t think I’ve done everything I wanted to do. I’ve been directing since 2014/15 and it feels like I’m just getting started. I want to start tackling music videos on a bigger scale. I watch music videos all day everyday, from different directors and genres.  I see the scale of these projects and tell myself, it’s only a matter of time before I’m taking on a music video that has six figure budget or larger.

 

Uncle P:  How often do you present your ideas for a video to a artist only for them to not understand your vision?

Diego: All the time, it’s funny because I pick out photos as references for treatments to display my ideas, only  to show them a music video and be like “ just like this” then they see it in motion and understand. So sometimes it feels pointless to write out a treatment, but I still do it. At the end of the day it helps me as well.

 

Uncle P:  How long will it be before we can expect a film from you?

Diego:  Soon. I don’t like to speak on things before they’re done, but it’s long overdue that’s all I can say. It’s going to be something I just drop on social media. No announcement, nothing.

 

Uncle P:  What can we expect in the next 5 years from Diego Cruz.

Diego:  Bigger videos, Films, just a lot of creativity. We have so much talent here in Detroit that sometimes we don’t even see ourselves. Expect greatness and showing the world Detroit is a force that can’t be stopped.

 

Uncle P:  If you could leave a little something for those who have followed your career and could use a word of knowledge or inspiration?

Diego:  Don’t be afraid to evolve and adapt. As a creative that’s always been my biggest obstacle. We want things a certain way we forget life itself is art itself and it changes. Evolve your art, adapt to circumstances. Always have an open mind to learn because you meant something from everyone and everything.

 

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BEAT 16

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1.  What inspired you to create this new platform?
I wanted to connect Artists creatively. It’s a huge generational and cultural gap that exists in our scene today and I wanted to get us to work together. We’re locked down why not? My Father did the same for musicians back in his day by connecting their scene. It’s in the blood.
2. What is your background when it comes to music?
I use to produce music. Also ran a Battle Rap league called Scheme Street with my partners.
3. What type of response have you gotten so far from the public? 
All love. This is a breath of fresh air. Not only are we inspiring artists we’re getting genuine excitement from our fanbase. Countless artists have reached out to step on The Beat6Teen stage. We’re humbled.
4. How are the artist and producers feeling about the platform?
Mostly every artist has told me the Platform has inspired them to CREATE. They say they haven’t been writing or making beats and Beat6Teens woke up that creative spirit. And that’s what we love…RAW, ORGANIC CREATIVITY!
5. To date what have been some of your biggest challenges?
The Pandemic has forced us to call audibles. Studios are closed, Social distancing guidelines won’t let us record visuals in certain areas. We’re eventually going to transition to venues for live shows but no one knows when that will happen or what that looks like with the changes from Covid-19.
6. What has been your most exciting moment so far as to what you have created? 
Watching the reaction from artists and fans alike genuinely enjoying and anticipating the broadcasts.
7. Where do you hope to see Beat16 go thru the end of 2020?
 We want to be a platform for artists to connect and showcase their talents. Hoping to grow and connect artists from all over.
8. How does a artist or producer get involved with the platform?
Email submissions to beat6teen@gmail.com QUALITY SUBMISSIONS will be favored. No politics. Send some dope shit and we’ll book you.
9. We have noticed you have added some twist to things, can you share any surprises you got up your sleeve?
Beat6Teen Duos has been announced for July. 2 random MC’s will be paired with a producer. Should be interesting.
10. If you were on a elevator with powerful investors and you got 20 floors to go, how would you explain what going on with Beat16 in the short time you have there attention?
I’d tell them to tune in and enjoy Raw, Creative energy. It explains itself.
11 Any last thoughts? 
Stay Inspired. Protect The Music!

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INTERVIEW

DetroitRap.com Interview Series : Mark Cooper

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DetroitRap.com Interview Series : Mark Cooper

As 2019 wraps up I had the opportunity to sit down and chop it up with one of the busiest Detroit artists of the year. Mark Cooper, has continued to etch his path in powerful ways from releasing the critically acclaimed album “The Allspark” to taking to the road for his first national tour. On top of that he recently performed at Youmacon Detroit helping further cement his status as the cities king of Nerdcore Rap. 

As a nerdcore rapper, Mark Cooper gets to rhyme around nostalgia that would warm the souls of any kid who grew up in the 90’s. From a mixtape series about Saturday morning cartoons to his travels as Player One, his raps traverse a plethora of memories for those reflecting. Just recently he continued his quest with “Ranger Raps” an ep packed with six raps for six rangers, each color specific, & with segments voiced by the actual actors who played the rangers in real life. It’s a mighty morphing EP if you ask me!

Let’s not forget his greatest accomplishment of 2019 and one of the most stellar hip-hop concept albums I’ve come across in recent times. For emcees who dare venture into the world of concept albums this sequel in a series of more to come not only tells its story authentically, but it engages you as you listen in order following Player One on his journey. It’s a depth that allows you to climb in, and pick out new things with each listening session.

To learn more about, or follow along with Player One aka Mark Cooper’s journies yourself be sure to hit up the link below & find him on social:

Website: https://www.itsmarkcooper.com/

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