The final installment in the YBN Almighty Jay music video trilogy pops with color, Jolly Ranchers, and lots of (fake) cash.
Partnering with Atlantic Records and Populace Group once again, ECG Partner and Director Jason Sirotin pitched the idea of setting YBN Almighty Jay’s Drank Sealed track to visuals of an underground, purple-drank-pushing empire. With Creative Director Emily Payton’s input, the idea developed into a story of a power drunk couple running the sickest drank game in town.
With the concept locked, Production Designer Melissa St. Clair got to work. She started by researching how actual lean is made. After studying the culture behind purple drank, she came up with a cinematography friendly (and legal) way to produce our drug of choice. First, we mixed corn syrup and jolly ranchers to mimic codeine and candies. Then the sticky substance was poured onto pans and the trays placed in the freezer to cool. What came out was crystalized “lean” for our talent to smash on camera.
Finally, the product was ready for packing and shipping. The smashed candy was put in little baggies and then sealed into two stacked Styrofoam YBN branded cups, like all good lean should be! And that process, along with some fun wardrobe and room decor, brought our secret operation to life.
Our shoot location was a gorgeous mansion about an hour outside of Atlanta. That involved a lot of planning and logistics to get everyone where they needed to be on time. We had the artist, our crew, actors, security, label executives… you get the point. With that much transport and Atlanta’s unpredictable traffic, it wasn’t easy to stay on schedule. Thankfully, our trusty 1st AD Cameron Shaw had designed a flexible shot list so we could pivot when we needed and adjust the schedule to fit the curveballs. No set ever runs perfectly, and solid pre-production always accounts for that.
Although it was a challenge, we can’t lie. Filming in a mansion is always awesome. Sirotin loved every moment, but his favorite shots were from the office/bedroom scene. The room setup was definitely a bit odd, but we figured a real player in the illegal drank game would totally rock a room like that in his multi million dollar mansion. Because… well why not? We also got to show off some spectacular colored lights and heaps of rented prop money. From stacks and piles of cash, to diamonds and gold blocks – we sourced everything we could to sell the idea of an underground empire swimming in excess.
At the edit bays, Emily worked her Premiere magic to assemble the final dizzying, glitzy video edit. Cutting between the best performance shots and adding speed ramps, she was able to pace the video perfectly. The final video is truly an amazing product that highlights the skills of our entire team, not unlike our prop lean!