Pop Culture Without Pretense

Kareem Black On Nas For Complex Cover Shoot: “I Went Up A Level!” (PHOTOS)

In Lifestyle on May 29, 2012 at 11:33 am

Friend to our site, bicycle enthusiast and NYC based photographer Kareem Black spoke to us last week about the photo shoot everyone is talking about online:  his cover of  legendary Queens, NY rapper Nas for Complex magazine’s June/July 2012 issue. 

Black’s  shoot with Nas is by far one of the best magazine covers we’ve seen all year. There’s tons of reasons to love it but here’s why we do: the primary colors, the excellent composition,  the “Do The Right Thing” -Robin Harris tribute and subtext, and the sheer comfortability of the “Illmatic” rapper, which recalls the early days of his stardom and career, in front of Black’s lens.

“Honestly, I feel like I went up a level,”  Black told us by phone while cycling  his way to 14th Street’s west side in rush hour traffic.

“It was Brent’s [Rollins, EgoTrip graphic designer & Complex's editorial director] idea conceptually,” the SVA alumni said, explaining how the idea for the shoot came about. “I’m flattered that a-lot of people got the “Do The Right Thing” reference,” Black added. “Everything in that story is built. We had an amazing set builder! It was up to me to pull it off production-wise, and it was something I’ve never tried before. I loved the way it came out.”

Black  admiration of his work is well deserved. With hundreds of retweets and Likes on Fabebook,  Nas’ Complex cover is definitely a feather in the Philly native’s cap. And its still being discussed,  a week after it made its debut.

Surprisingly, the shoot was the first time Black, whose clients include BBDO, HBO, Brooklyn Brothers, McDonalds,  Arena, Maxim, GQ, Vibe, Flaunt, ESPN, Mens Health, Budweiser, Spin and Spike DDB, photographed the Queensbridge rapper.  ”Its not my first time working on an album of his,” Black said,  ”but it was my first time photographing Nas. Nas is a legend and I’m happy that people have interest. Its seems like the level of interest that guy has has been going for 20 years.”

We feel the same about Black’s work. In addition to having an impressive portfolio, Black has personal projects he loves to share. Check  his work here and here, and follow his exploits on Twitter.

Still from “Do The Right Thing”


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Written by Cacy Forgenie

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