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Music video director – Rik Cordero

Electric Relaxation: Rik Cordero :: Reexamining the hip-hop video mold

By Paul Glanting
  Photography by Nancy Mitchell

10/06/08 :: URB web

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Hip-hop
is a culture that celebrates range. While watching “Big Pimpin” Jay-Z
doesn’t want you to respect him because he owns expensive things. He
wants you to squint your eyes and merely look at his beginning and
appreciate how distant it is from where he is in the present. The
culture thrives on scope.

At the other pole from “Big
Pimpin'”, Snoop sits on a lonely mattress in a barren room wearing a
wife-beater. Wale, sleepy-eyed and disheveled, gets uncomfortably close
to the camera-lens. Joell Ortiz, showered in hangover-aggravating
light, plays a friendly game of dominos while crouching on a busted
milk-crate. 

Queens born-and-based director Rik Cordero has
the power to change the way hip-hop looks. He’s squishing the gap that
separates the world where rappers came from into the world they now
dwell. The resulting dynamic is a raw portrayal of the artist.

“We’re
responsible for the image of the artist,” says Cordero. “They put their
trust in us and we’re fans, so we don’t take it for granted.”

Peep
any Cordero video and you’re sure to see a large emphasis on the
grittiness and humanity of the music. Cordero’s pathos-mining is
turning him into a true trendsetter, as his ability to depict his
subjects stripped-down and perhaps even aesthetically unflatteringly is
becoming increasingly sought after. Nas, The Roots, Ghostface, Remy Ma
and many more, are all fans and repeat collaborators with the
influential and visionary director. “We’re not being weird merely for
the sake of being weird, like say, indie rockers,” says Cordero. “My
confidence speaks for itself…some of the best human reactions and
emotions are caught when the environment is relaxed.”

Cordero’s
ability to reconstruct the biology of the hip-hop video certainly
hasn’t been an easy trek nor one without conflict. “There have been a
few artists who were more concerned with making their video look like
standard issue network glitz rather than embracing their resources to
make something captivating,” he says. “There are many directors who I
look up to that do the glitz thing very well and I admire their work
tremendously. For me, an expensive video is justified by the storyline.
I shoot for the sake of shooting, not for the sake of spending
shitloads of money.”

Cordero’s quest to extract the soul out
of his subjects continues alongside his production company, Three/21
Media. Cordero’s first full-length film, Inside A Change, is
soon to hit the independent film circuit. “After helping so many
artists with their visions, it’ll be great to work on a vision of my
own.”  

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Rik Cordero
Background information
Birth name Fredric Joseph Cordero
Born March 21, 1979 (1979-03-21) (age 29)
Origin Queens, New York, United States
Genre(s) Music Video, Feature Film, Commercial
Years active 2004–present
Website Official Website

Fredric Joseph “Rik” Cordero (born March 21, 1979) is an independent music video, commercial, and film director of Filipino descent. He was born and raised in Queens, New York
and is known for applying unusual, non-traditional shooting methods in
his work. He is also the founder and executive producer of the New York
based production company Three/21 Films, founded in 1999.

Contents

[hide]

[edit] Early life

Cordero was born in Far Rockaway, New York,
the son of Beatriz Parcon, a registered nurse, and Federico Cordero, an
architect. As a child, his mother nicknamed him “Ricky” after watching
episodes of I Love Lucy while she was pregnant. Cordero moved with his family to Long Island, New York at the age of 10. In Long Island, he attended Baldwin Senior High School (Baldwin, New York) and later enrolled at the New York Institute of Technology where he majored in Computer Graphics.
Although he was studying traditional fine arts, Cordero gravitated
towards video art and motion graphics using consumer camcorders and
post production software. His senior thesis project titled Duck Sauce,
a five minute 3D animation, won the NYIT SOURCE (Symposium on
Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression) Award. He graduated in
2002 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Graphics.

[edit] Design career

After college Cordero honed his graphic design skills for Masterdisk,
a New York based audio mastering/multimedia facility. After two years
he began working as a freelance graphic designer for various
entertainment production companies such as 4Kids Entertainment
(an American Film and television production company), Deep Focus
(marketing and interactive agency) and Alloy Media (marketing and media
agency). After four years working in the graphic design industry,
Cordero pursued filmmaking fulltime in 2007 with the help of Three/21
Films.

[edit] Three/21 Films

Launched in 1999 by Cordero as a side hobby, Three/21 was created
with a mission to produce innovative music videos, documentaries,
shorts and narrative features by any means necessary. With little
regard for formal training, permits or rules, they instead focus on
unique and non-traditional solutions for any given situation. The first
feature-length film produced by Three/21 was the prescription drug
drama Mend which received independent distribution in 2006. It was during the production of Mend that Cordero met his muse and partner Nancy Mitchell. In 2007, on the set of Consequence’s Uncle Rahiem
music video shoot, Brady Nields joined Three/21 as Cordero’s key grip
and gaffer. The following year elevated Three/21 from a hobby to one of
the fastest and most independent film production companies on the Internet.

[edit] Hip Hop Music Video Career

In 2007, Cordero met Steven Carless of Best of Both Offices and All
Bets Down Entertainment, who at the time was an employee for Def Jam
Recordings. Within a few months they formed a professional relationship
that combined guerilla filmmaking
techniques with marketing and promotion on Internet and radio.
Alongside Carless and with the backing of Three/21 Films, Cordero
pioneered the landscape of independent Hip Hop music videos by
directing major recording artists such as Jay-Z, Nas, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes, The Roots, Q-Tip (rapper), Ghostface Killah, Consequence, Beanie Sigel and John Legend, legends such as KRS-One, DJ Premier, Darryl McDaniels, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and respected MC’s such as Wale (rapper), Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden, Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, Buckshot (rapper) and Royce Da 5’9″. The Fader has proclaimed his music videos as miracles while the wildly popular Hip Hop blog nahright.com has called him the only Hip Hop video director on the planet.

[edit] Press

With the explosion of Internet video content, Cordero became highly sought after in the media. On print he has been featured in Hip Hop Connection (UK), Rolling Stone, Vibe (magazine), XXL (magazine), Mass Appeal Magazine, King (magazine), YRB and Juice (magazine) (Germany). Online he has been featured heavily on pages by Miss Info, MTV Fire Starter, Giant (magazine), Nah Right, The Fader, URB (magazine), and Wired (magazine).

At the last hour when no one’s been calling him back about
getting something done, he just went and did it on his own. I have to
tip my hat off to you brother.
Nas

Rik Cordero is just his own universe. He’s trustworthy to where I believe in his vision for the song.Questlove

Rik Cordero’s Signature Style: Urban tales with a grime-noir twist.Wired (magazine)

Snoop wisely farmed the video out to up-and-coming director Rik Cordero.Entertainment Weekly

His videos may be rugged and gritty, but Rik Cordero’s vision is 20/20.King (magazine)

With a growing following and more cosigns than Obama, this
Q-Borough native is redefining the role of internet videos, without an
offer from Vivid or an E! reality show.
Mass Appeal Magazine

Thanks to Cordero’s innovation, although the revolution is no longer being televised, it’s still going down.XXL (magazine)

Who is the music video director of the future? Right now, all eyes are on Queens, NY native Rik Cordero…Vibe (magazine)

After Hype Williams’ fisheye lens revolution of the mid-90s,
Cordero’s use of filters on a low-cost high-def digital camera has
changed the rap video game this year…
The Fader

Channel Three/21 works as a street mix tape for music videos. The Best: director Rik Cordero’s gritty clips…Rolling Stone

[edit] Trademarks

  • New York City is the setting for many of Cordero’s videos.
  • Frequently edits scenes in reverse.
  • Frequently shoots videos that reflect the human condition.
  • Is known for a two or three day turnaround time when producing music videos.
  • Despite a strong CGI background, Cordero usually does not incorporate them in his work.

[edit] Selected Filmography

Inside A Change (2008) (feature) (post-production)
ManwomanboogieQ-Tip (rapper) feat. Amanda Diva (2008) (music video)
Arab MoneyBusta Rhymes (2008) (music video)
Renaissance RapQ-Tip (rapper) (2008) (music video)
Part Of MeRoyce Da 5’9″ (2008) (music video)
Job SongConsequence (2008) (music video)
For RealSkillz (2008) (music video)
Who Run ThisJadakiss (2008) (music video)
Shake ThisRoyce Da 5’9″ (2008) (music video)
MoveQ-Tip (rapper) (2008) (music video)
The TruthJake One feat. Freeway (rapper) and Brother Ali (2008) (music video)
Ruck N RollHeltah Skeltah (2008) (music video)
MemoriesJoell Ortiz (2008) (music video)
Everything Is Heltah SkeltahHeltah Skeltah (2008) (music video)
Take It To The TopStatik Selektah feat. Cassidy (rapper), Saigon (rapper) and Termanology (2008) (music video)
Get EmAce Hood (2008) (music video)
DisperseConsequence feat. GLC (rapper) and Really Doe (2008) (music video)
Sly FoxNas (2008) (music video)
The Artistic IntegrityWale (rapper) (2008) (music video)
Westurn UnionWesturn Union (2008) (music video)
Be A N****r TooNas (2008) (music video)
Rising UpThe Roots feat. Chrisette Michelle and Wale (rapper) (2008) (music video)
Birthday GirlThe Roots (2008) (music video)
Get BusyThe Roots (2008) (music video)
75 Bars: Black’s ReconstructionThe Roots (2008) (music video)
Hold It DownBuckshot (rapper) feat. Talib Kweli and 9th Wonder (2008) (music video)
Neva Have 2 WorrySnoop Dogg (2008) (music video)
Feel This WayConsequence feat. John Legend (2008) (music video)
Ups And DownsJoell Ortiz (2008) (music video)
Stop Hittin Me – Big Lou feat. Wendy (2007) (music video)
Barrel BrothersGhostface feat. Beanie Sigel & Styles P (2007) (music video)
Go LowBeanie Sigel (2007) (music video)
Hit Em With The Shottie – Novel feat. Joell Ortiz (2007) (music video)
You Ain’t ReadyBeanie Sigel feat. Styles P (2007) (music video)
Go All Out – Buckshot (2007) (music video)
Star Inside Of MeJoe Budden (2007) (music video)
Get Ya Money UpMemphis Bleek (2007) (music video)
Crack Head – Big Lou (2007) (music video)
StompSmif-N-Wessun feat. Joell Ortiz & Heltah Skeltah (2007)
125 FinaleJoell Ortiz (2007) (music video)
Blue MagicJay-Z (2007) (trailer)
Gotta Say ItSmif-N-Wessun (2007) (music video)
Night Is Purple (2007) (short)
LatinoJoell Ortiz (2007) (music video)
Boy – Big City (2007) (music video)
JumpRemy Ma (2007) (music video)
WeathermanRemy Ma (2007) (music video)
Uncle RaheimConsequence (2007) (music video)
Party Like A Rockstar RemixHot Dollar (2007) (music video)
Brooklyn BullshitJoell Ortiz (2007) (music video)
Looks Good On You (2006) (35mm short)
Bura Sera (2006) (short)
A Good Ghost (2006) (short)
This Actually Happened (2006) (short)
I’ve Been Lost+/- (band) (2006) (music video)
Mend (2005) (feature)

[edit] Awards

[edit] References

[edit] External links

One comment on “Music video director – Rik Cordero

  1. gordon caesar
    April 16, 2009

    hey rik im an upcoming video treatment writer i have alot of treatments writen down but no outlet to get started i live in P.A & would like to know how i can get started i have no prior exp in the buisiness if u have any info or would like to contact me anything would be much appriciated thanks for your time keep making great videos

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This entry was posted on December 23, 2008 by in Music video director - Rik Cordero and tagged .
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