Sunday, November 29, 2009


Digging the Smokin' Aces movie closing credits sequence created in Adobe After Effects-- we loved the titles even more because of the tight Rap jam, put forth by MC Common, as the main theme song for the film played over the animated images and typography. They were grafted by Voodoo Dog.

View the sequence at Art of the Title.


A vivid, fresh take on hip-hop

Art aims to break stereotypes, show 'creative, intelligent aspect'

By Karen Sullivan


Loved LEGO as a child. Love 'em as an adult. Below, they step to the Rap album cover classics.


A few weeks back I'd gotten the word that a RUN-DMC musical was being planned in partnership between the surviving members of the "Hollis Crew" (AKA RUN-DMC) and Tom Cruise film production partner Paula Wagner. You can read more about this below and via the provided link (to the NYTimes online story). Hearing this news got the wheels spinning about Rap and Hip-Hop's relationship with live theater (or the lack there of). So in the weeks ahead we'll post on a few shows we suspect have had great impact in our arriving at this royal moment in time with RUN-DMC's music/life story heading to "the great white way."

From the New York Times online:

RUN-DMC Musical Is Planned

They helped bring hip-hop to the mainstream, revitalized the career of Aerosmith and now, Run-DMC could be headed to Broadway.

Paula Wagner, the veteran Hollywood producer, said that her Chestnut Ridge Productions company was working with the rappers Joseph Simmons (known as Run) and Darryl McDaniels (DMC) as well as the estate of Jason Mizell (Jam Master Jay) to produce a stage musical about Run-DMC, the seminal hip-hop group.

“Their work speaks to everybody,” Ms. Wagner said in a telephone interview, “and the story of their rise to fame is innately theatrical.”

Ms. Wagner is best known for her long association with Tom Cruise, having worked as his agent, a producer of several of his films (including the “Mission: Impossible” movies and “War of the Worlds”) and the chief executive of his revived United Artists studio. She began her career on stage as a 13-year-old actor at the Youngstown Theater in Ohio. She earned her B.F.A. in theater at the Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, has published plays of her own and performed at the Yale Repertory Theater.

Ms. Wagner said she was also a lifelong Run-DMC fan. “Their lyrics and their music is infectious,” she said. “It’s vibrant, it’s alive. Who they are and what they did was a culturally defining moment. It embraced everybody.”

Ms. Wagner acknowledged that her film-producing experience was no guarantee that she could execute a stage musical, and she said she was talking to other producers and potential team members to help bring the project to Broadway. “I have a number of good friends,” she said, “and I think I will be turning to all my friends.”

Ms. Wagner said there was no timetable for the Run-DMC project to come to Broadway, and no specific shows that it was seeking to emulate — though she and Mr. Simmons and Mr. McDaniels did take in a performance of “In the Heights” last week.

Read more about the RUN-DMC/Paula Wagner team-up here.

Side note: We found the only two dicusssion board posts to be very interesting and both raised valid points about Rap and Hip-Hop on Broadway and what qualifications Paula Wagner has to be even stepping to the story of the "Kings from Queens" from the giddy-up! You can read them below.




The commodification of hip-hop continues, much to its detriment. A truly special art form instrinsically tied to the history of NYC will be played out in tights on the Great White Way. I can’t wait for “Beastie Boys On Ice.”

And what exactly qualifies Ms. Wagner to take on such a project? Owning a couple CDs does not imbue one with a true understanding of the group’s contributions to the advancement of rap music.

On the business front, I really don’t see the retired matinee set lining up for this one, nor the tour bus folks from Middle America. TDF, here I come.

— lowbrow


lowbrow -

Have you ever been to a musical? It’s not all rainbows and unicorns like you make it out to be. I remember going to the Queen musical awhile back and it was one of the most enjoying experiences of my life. The ending was the entire audience stomping their feet to “We Will Rock You” and then singing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody”. If this Run DMC musical is anything like that, I’m sure it will stick in my memory for years to come considering how big of a hiphop fan I am.

— John

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Inspiring typographic design work! Love the miniature model design. This work and the Non-format design studio first came tour attention in a special edition of the UK's Computer Arts magazine dedicated to music design. Always inspiring the contents of CA. You can check for a link to the mag in our side bar.
Peep the work of Non-format.

Album: Jean-Jacques Perrey & Luke Vibert present Moog Acid
Label: Lo Recordings
Year: 2007
Specs: Gatefold double LP. Miniature models
Design: Non-format
Photography: Dan McPharlin

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


I think it was a RollingStone magazine article in which it was mentioned that Kanye West was now referring to himself as a "designer" and not only as a Rapper and/or rap/hip-hop/pop music record producer. The idea that he was now considering himself a designer (fashion, interior, graphic, etc) struck me as a very interesting notion. And in thinking on it I've come to agree with the man. The Don (of Louie Vutton) is, in our opinion, the most compelling Rap artists in 360 degree sense than any other artist we can think of currently traveling through our rap/pop galaxy.

Music, film, animation, graphic design, fashion design, product design and interior design. Mr. West has been expressing himself artistically with a level of cool creativity, creative complexity and a sophistication rare within pop music (and especially rap in 2010).
So over the next few posts we'll dig on Yeezy's visual expressions, fashion style and design thinking.

And right off the bat we're curious about Kanye's fashion choice for his album 808's and Heartbreak. When looking at West in the his gray suit, one has gotta wonder if, consciously or sub-consciously, Ye's selection of the below dress suit was not somehow inspired by the great Paul Reubens' legendary Pee-Wee Herman. His character rocks a trademark, seemingly starched into cardboard hardness, gray suit. When looking at both images you can't help be see the uncanny resemblance in style and we could really be reaching on this but it brings the image to mind.

For anyone reading/viewing this blog Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) was a character who's show, Pee-Wee's Playhouse, was a big Saturday morning hit in the 1980s- watched by millions of kids, teenagers and some adults. If Kanye did indeed take his costume cues from Mr. Herman, we give him dap for going way back and adding that extra-special Hip-Hop flavor to an iconic American pop culture image of the 1980s. We think that's quite dope!

More on this topic to come...

"His work is remarkably complicated... He's a fantastic Producer and Arranger. And then his lyrics are-- he goes from a wide range of places, some of which are silly and some of which are quite smart, some of which are about being a middle class intelligent Black person raised by a middle class Black woman, and some of which are about embracing the stupider side of young Black culture. I think that's what makes him interesting... He's into Japanese painting. He's into art and design. There's a very refined artistic sensibility at work with him."

--Nelson George (Auhtor, Film Maker)
On The Michael Eric Dyson Show

June 2, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009


While scrubbing through Amazon, I stumbled upon (and remembered) this album by No Doubt- 2001's Rock Steady. I recall it being a favorite music package design of mine, along with the music video for the album's single "Hey baby". I was attracted to the prominent display of handmade typography, strong color (the red, black and white color scheme is always a strong one) and the creative continuity of the of handmade typography also found within the "Hey Baby" music video (within the set design, animated type, 3D type effects) following the lead of the packaging (or was it the other way around?).


Thursday, November 19, 2009


Earlier in the year (2009) the U.K. based DAZED AND CONFUSED Magazine decided to commission film and music video director, photographer, special effects artist and electronic musician Chris Cunningham (of "Come To Daddy", "Window Licker" and "Rubber Johnny" fame) to shoot your girl-- super-duper diva, model and R&B Disco Funk recording artist Grace Jones. Cunningham, a groundbreaking film director, is a favorite over here. His images have fried the retina and melted the grills of the many for the past decade. And there nothing else left for us to state about Grace Jones. What the two came up with is... something else. We're not surprised.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


If you're in Washington, DC or inspired by the below to attempt to ravel to the city, make it happen. The people of Art Vs. Commerce are throwing another event (the first one focused on RAP albums cover design) in praise of the seemingly, rapidly becoming lost art of the (printed) music album cover design. This time they've set their art loving eyes on the SOUL music genre.

Art vs Commerce provides another Classic for your Soul

Washington, DC – Soul. It’s considered by most to be a weighty word. It’s used to describe a variety of people, places, and things and even the most intangible of ideas. Soul has implications of every kind, from food to the spiritual, but perhaps none are greater than it being used to define an era and a genre of music.

And, coming off of the success of their RAP exhibition, on Wednesday December 2 Art vs Commerce, Smirnoff Vodka, and The Source Magazine will again partner on the second installment of The Classics – this time with Series 2: SOUL. Similar to the first exhibition, this version will feature a bevy of album cover art however this one will consist of over forty classic Soul album covers, courtesy of DJ YZO. SOUL, in some ways, will actually serve as a prequel to RAP, in that a variety of the albums on display contain songs that have been sampled and used in many classic rap music records.

Taking it’s lead from RAP, SOUL, which will take place on Wednesday December 2nd at Lounge of 3 (1013 Ust NW), 5pm-9pm, will again have Nick Da 1da and DJ 2-Tone Jones providing the sounds, along with DJ YZO. Guests will also be treated to a new series of complimentary signature cocktails (7pm-9pm), courtesy of Smirnoff, which include the Stevie Wonder and Gil Scott Heron (Note: Lounge of 3 still serves the signature drinks from the RAP exhibition).

In addition to the album covers displayed, SOUL will also have its own series of cultural projects and a few extras that include a:

*Interview: Tom Nickosey (
*Instrument Highlight: The Clavinet
*Connoisseur Profile: Nick Da 1da
*Soul Food items added to the menu
*Surprise Feature

For more information visit or call 202.460.3594.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


With MTV not showing music videos as they once day waaaaaaayyyyyyy back in the day (they've committed more of their air time reality TV). And I know ya' got MTV 2, 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 through 50 attempting to hold it down and that's a part of the point. With so many channels and online outlets for video content there's an ocean of stuff out there to swim through (or drown in). So, if you're a member of the so-called Gen Y or Gen Z (that’s creepin’ on a come-up), perhaps you've not seen the classic and technically groundbreaking music video for Peter Gabriel's 1986 single entitled "Sledgehammer" from his album SO. If you've missed this one or have not seen it in some years, this serves as an introduction and a reminder.

Gabriel, a onetime member of the hit UK rock group Genesis (also including drummer and singer Phil Collins), who left the group to go solo, had developed a reputation for marrying his music with unusual and groundbreaking visuals and graphic design (see the covers of his albums II (aka Scratch) and III (aka Melt). Gabriel took things to a whole other level-- that "other level" with the music video for "sledgehammer". The single became number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. in July. And the video, a stop motion animation tour de force, played on MTV seemingly around the clock- keeping viewers staring at the TV screen in awe every time it came on. I can say that this was indeed the case for myself. To this day It's one of the most stimulating music videos ever made with the stop-motion animation techniques employed for its execution only adding to its tangible textured appeal (now that we live in a easily added in shiny computer generated special effects world).

“Sledgehammer” was one of those cuts that caught play on the turntables of Black folks where the single found a home amongst record collections alongside other Black artists. Taking into account the influence on the song, this should come as no surprise. Apparently for “Sledgehammer”, Gabriel was influenced by the Black soul music sounds of the 1960s. There is evidence of this influence found in the fact that the song employed the use of the distinctive Horns which were provided by the Memphis Horns, house musicians for the legendary Black soul music label known as Stax records. The music video, which helped propel the song to become Gabriel’s only ever number 1 US hit, was directed by Stephen R. Johnson. What we here at StereoTyped find interesting about the production of this music video is that the animation for the video was produced by the legendary Aardman Animation studios (in the UK) in association with the Brothers Quay. Aardman Animation is the studio responsible for the wonderful stop-motion animation series Wallace and Gromit created by the renowned stop-motion animator and Aardman associate, Nick Park. Together, Aardman, founded by Peter Lord, Park and the Brothers Quay, delivered the now trademark claymation, pixilation, and stop motion animation to the video that brought the song's images to life.

For Gabriel, it required his laying under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video one frame at a time was completed. And Park, who back then was still developing/refining his technique for
plasticine animation, was responsible for the famous two headless and featherless dancing chickens sequence.

Pictured above: Images of Aardman Animation's Wallace and Gromit characters,
a shot of a character from Mary and Max,
Aardman founder Peter Lord
and animator Nick Park (left)

It won Best British Video at the 1987 Brit Awards.
It ranked at number two on VH1's Top 20 Videos of the 80's.
It was named the #1 Amazing Moment in Music on the Australian TV show 20 to 1 in 2007.
It was voted number seven on TMF's Ultimate 50 Videos You Must See (first aired in 24 June 2006).
It has been declared as MTV's number one animated video of all time.
It won nine MTV VMA In 1987. As of 2008 it was a record that still stood.
It ranked at number four on MTV's 100 Greatest Music Videos Ever Made (1999).
MTV announced that the "Sledgehammer" music video wass the most played music video in the history of the station.

Monday, November 16, 2009


First things first. The work of David Lynch has always creeped me out. And it's a creeping creep-out if you know what I mean. Sinister and unsettling, there's always some type of nostalgic Americana with an overdose of menacing dread. real yet unreal and surreal all at the same damn-assed time! I just had to state that opinion straight of the top from over here. Earlier this year your man Danger Mouse, he now of Gnarls Barkley fame, somehow joined forces with legendary artist and filmmaker David Lynch and Sparkle Horse for a very unusual collabo album and visual art piece entitled "Dark Night of the Soul". In addition to three artists, the group enlisted a crew of their favorite musicians to add their talent to the tracks.

The list reads as follows: Suzanne Vega; Black Francis of the Pixies; Super Furry Animals’ Gruff Rhys; The Flaming Lips’ Wayne Coyne; former Grandaddy frontman Jason Lytle; The Shins’ James Mercer; Vic Chesnutt; Iggy Pop; The Cardigans’ Nina Persson; and The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas.

Apparently, there was beef over the rights to the music and we're not sure if the album ever came out. However, a special limited edition art book pf photos inspired by the music and created by David Lynch was printed and released by the Brooklyn based powerHouse books.

Below are a handful of the surrealist nightmare images that David Lynch dreamed up for the book of music inspired photos. Many people talk about being "next level". This is that next level (whether you understand the level or not).