RHYME TIME – season 4
THE STORY BEHIND THE ALBUM ART AND HIDDEN REFERENCES
He said the album is called SEASON 4 and he wanted the cover to be a picture of him jumping a shark. That is how the 2-month collaboration with @scottkcomedy AKA: Rhyme Time (RT) began. He wanted to do this as a sort of metaphor for where he was at in his life at the time he was making the album and described it so eloquently that I won’t try to repeat herein.
Me, being the type of person who always wants to punish myself creatively, suggested ideas for not only the cover art but also the back cover and CD face that would tell a sort of story and feature nods to all his previous albums and some of my favorite songs. For me, Scott is not just a friend, he’s a talented artist/rapper that I’ve been a fan of since he put out his first album years ago (NOTE: Scott’s first two albums were put out under the name Atheist before he was forced to change his name, for legal reasons, to Rhyme Time).
The greatest thing about this collaboration was working with Scott as he is a genuinely nice guy and a very generous collaborator. He insisted throughout, that the album be done with my ideas and in my style and complimented me every step of the way. Only offering suggestions or helping finalize creative decisions.
This piece for me is a throwback to the art I grew up admiring like the eye-popping Santa Cruz art of Jimbo Phillips and the old Fat Wreck Chords albums (NOFX, No Use For A Name, Pennywise, Strung out, etc.) but with my own style and twist. This was one of the hardest and funnest things I have ever worked on and it is even more enjoyable because I got to do it with Scott. Who I admire for not only his talent but because, like me, he still pursues the passions in his heart long after most people grow up and forget about Neverland. He is truly a Lost Boy like me.
So, I really hope you all enjoy my take on this. Keep reading below for a guide to all the hidden references in the piece. You can buy the album or a tee/print featuring my cover art by clicking here.
1. Topanga is One of my favorite songs and the title of Scott’s 2nd album. The last under his previous name: ATHEIST. You can see the video for Topanga by clicking here.
2. “Thanks for the Burgers” is the first album Scott put out (under the Name ATHEIST). The story as I remember it was when Scott was making the album he heard Rapping 4-Tay (Playaz Club, y’all) was working in one of the neighboring studios so Scott went and bought burgers for him and his friends. To show appreciation, 4-tay recorded the intro track for the Album thanking Scott for the burgers.
3. “Gnarly” is the title of Scott’s 3rd album and the first officially under the name Rhyme Time.
4. I had really wanted to flush out all the onlookers on the pier but time got the best of me so we went with silhouettes (which is how it was originally pitched). Still, I’m a geek for life. So, while most of people were drawn using references from stock photos of the Huntington Beach pier, this girl was drawn using a reference of Harley Quinn from the 90s Batman animated series. I don’t think RT even knows this one.
5. The graffiti on the pier says: Mikey was the best. This is a nod to one of my favorite tracks on Scott’s 1st album of the same about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I always remind scott: Donnie was the best! Though, I was a Raphael guy growing up cuz his weapons sounded like my name.
6. Artists should always sign their work!
7. Donnie Bonelli is a frequent collaborator and, along with Scott, member of the group: House of Lewis. A former California native, Donnie saw the cover and asked if it was the HB pier, noting the similarity to Ruby’s Diner located at the end of the pier in Huntington Beach. It was in fact my reference (as I was born and raised in HB), though we decided to use more of a fast food chain color aesthetic for the final piece. As a result, I decided to embrace it for the back cover and use the Huntington Pacific Condos as the background for the piece. Located on the north side of the pier, they are only dwellings situated on the actual sand in the City of HB.
8. The Hot Bean Burcheetoh is a made-up snack Scott and his friends enjoy. It’s referenced in another one of my favorite songs from Scott’s 3rd album: party with Snoop. While the HB kid in me wanted to make it exclusive to the now defunct Naugles, it made more sense to find it exclusively at T.F.T. Burgers.
9. 39 is my lucky number and makes an appearance in a lot of my work. It’s also the number I wore when I played Volleyball in high school. You could often find me frequenting the volleyball courts located just off screen by the HB pier. Now an official stop on the AVP tour.
10. So, I had written a much longer dialogue for the back cover but Scott thought it would be better if it read like a rap so he threw this down and we went with it. Shot out to Scott for all the self-deprication! Regardless of the changes, this is still a nod to lyrics from (again) Party with Snoop. In another classic example of self-deprication, Donnie Bonelli raps similar lyrics saying: Shouting I was on TV for 15 seconds. [15 seconds?] Girl, that’s true. I’m looking for a side piece, Girl that’s you. Pretty thick and good tattoos. This is a nod to the brief appearance by House of Lewis on America’s Got Talent. Reba just didn’t get them. Though Scott didn’t care because he was smitten!
11. Scott always has the House of Lewis dagger logo on his albums. I decided to work it in as a a nice thigh thick tattoo for Donnie. Scott found it really funny, and a bit of a commentary on kids these days, that the girl would have a House of Lewis but not know who he was.
12. An artist should always sign their work!
13. This one ain’t so hidden. I wanted to tell a bit of story that unfolded across the experience of seeing the cover, turning the CD over to see the tracks, and opening the case to remove the disc. I thought it’d be funny if, after all the beautiful exposition Scott had about why he was jumping the shark, we showed him losing the battle (the self-deprication continues). All before you even hear a single track. Here, the shark has won and taken his thumb, leaving him with only (Season) 4 fingers left, reaching for life outside the water like the hand from The Evil Dead movie poster.
14. An artist should always sign their work. Doesn’t mean they always do. It’s art… there’s no rules. You do what feels right when you make it!
So, what’s the point?
I worked on this album every waking second for two months, constantly engaging and collaborating with my client. The hidden references are just an example of the care and thought I put into my work. It takes it from just being a stupid (albeit eye-popping, bad ass) cartoon to an extremely thoughtful piece that the fans and my client can enjoy.
My favorite part of this commission was the texts I would get from RT when I would send him update pictures. Every time he’d notice a small extra detail he hadn’t previously, I’d get an enthusiastic text with 5 exclamation points at the end!!!!! You could argue that’s the greatest payment you can give an artist… though I still require cash too.
so, the point is, if you ever hire an artist and they accept the job, remember… you’re doing them a favor. They work for you. I’m not saying to be a prick. Pay them, pay them well, promote them online to help build their following, share and credit their work, but don’t accept anything less than a piece that is thoughtful and created specially for you and your needs.
And if they won’t do that, call me. Your friendly neighborhood Kaiderman!