Thursday, October 13, 2011

'Kosovka' Cover + Lyrics

I just wanted to update everyone on a new track I've been preparing for the last few months called 'Kosovka.' The song is produced by three-time Grammy award winner, four-time ASCAP rhythm and soul award winner and ASCAP pop award winner Darius "Deezle" Harrison and my long time collaborator Jonathan Lee. It's definitely the best beat I ever rapped on with the Serbian folk sample meshing perfectly with Deezle's drums and Lee's synths coming together to create a BANGER. I'm on the first two verses with J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League/Asylum Records recording artist Laws on the third. The song was delayed because I plan to donate all the funds it generates to a charity I have set up through 28.Jun which will go towards purchasing and delivering medical supplies to Serbs in Kosovo. It will be available on iTunes and  Bandcamp and we are also setting up a donations account which has caused the delay. The definite release will happen on Monday at 12:01 AM. Everyone tried very hard to make this song happen (we mixed for a week and I went to the studio just to say a "swag" ad-lib) from the production, to the recording process to the art work. Speaking of which, the single cover is an absolute masterpiece and I will let Marko "Da Vinci" Sejat describe the creative process which took place into putting it together:

Filip and I have done a lot of projects together since we first started in 2005 but this “Kosovka” cover was probably the hardest one to execute to date. Because of the meaning and significance that this painting has to Serbs, we knew that it would definitely be on everyone’s radar when we decided to use it for Filip’s new song “Kosovka”. However, this wouldn’t be the first time someone has made a song about Kosovo or used the painting as an album cover so we needed to do something that would make this one different from all the rest; and that’s where the challenge started. Filip came to me with the idea of flipping the painting which was originally done in 1919 by Uros Predic depicting the battle of Kosovo in 1389, and making a modern day version using but leaving the maiden of Kosovo and Pavle Orlovic in the picture representing the battle that we are fighting again today.  We knew that we had to make sure that this came out accurate and most importantly good looking because it’s really easy to make such an undertaking go downhill fast.

With that said, I started off by making the changes to Pavle Orlovic’s clothing into modern day Serbian military field dress. The hardest part about this was putting the camouflage together piece by piece which is ironic because the pattern was dubbed “Jigsaw” by the military. Texturing every piece, adjusting the lighting and layering was very time consuming (as it was on every other part of this project) but came together in the end.  I had added dust and grime to his face as well as all the standard issue equipment issued to the basic Serbian soldier. I then changed out the body of the dead Ottoman Turk that Pavle was laying over to the body of a dead KLA-UCK militant by changing out the appearance of his clothing to that of the typical blacked out jump suits that those terrorists wore in 1999. We also changed out the turban on the ground to a beret and added the patches in the end as a final touch. The other dead bodies on the field were also modified in the same way.  We kept the maiden of Kosovo the same as she was in the original photo because we felt that editing her would take away from that feeling of “history repeats itself” and the symbolism we were trying to attain here. The weapons on the field were also altered. Pavle’s sword was now a Zastava m76 unfolder and the arrows on the ground were now a pile of grenades. The horse in the back of the original painting was now a destroyed technical (commonly known as Toyota trucks mounted with machine gun turrets which are usually seen being used by rebel fighters/militia groups) and a NATO armored personnel carrier (APC).  The background also features two plumes of smoke and an exploding vehicle capped with the 3 Gazelle helicopters which were also not present in the original painting as well. Just as the background was modified, so was the foreground. The grass had been touched up, barbed wire had been added , and the shield had been now changed to a destroyed piece of armor with the words “FUCK THE NATO” written on it.

The lighting in the entire picture now been altered as well for both technical and symbolic purposes. The original painting was painted lightly with the feel of calm and warmth of the heroic battle which had just taken place. Our version was done in a dark tone representing the dark times we are in now while keeping that same spirit of heroism.  It was also much easier to work with darks than lights because the details and texturing had to match the original painting. That in itself was a technical challenge because any sort of available online resources that we had featured the painting were always in very low dimensions at 72 dpi resolution. We needed the final product to be in 18x17 at 300dpi. Anyone who knows about how hard this is to do would know that this is a big challenge. To find a solution to this problem, I had textured the painting and done the artwork in the original low dimensions and resolution given and saved the file to a flash drive. I headed over to staples, had the picture printed on 11x17 glossy cell paper (about 4 bucks a page) and had noticed that the image was very noticeably blurred in very visible areas that the eye focuses to immediately.  I had then re-scanned the image and edited the image to have the same texture that the original painting had, canvas. This made a huge difference in the artwork and pretty much what made the piece execute. It had taken two weeks to complete everything and we hope that you appreciate what we have done. We hope that you love the outcome, love the song, and get inspired by this image to go out and make a difference in the Serbian community and never losing hope because after all, that’s what this battle was about and what this painting represented. Само Слога Србина Спасава!
PS - I was told not to mention this but the vision for the cover came to me while i was in the bathroom?! :s Check out the lyrics for 'Kosovka' HERE