Creative Corner with Sam RiddleOctober 2021
Sam Riddle is an Artist Manager at Roc Nation, working across various clients at the company, including Megan Thee Stallion, Meek Mill, Chino Braxton and more. Hailing from Ypsilanti, Michigan, Riddle got his start in music at Michigan State University's college radio station WDBM.
He is currently working across campaigns including Meek Mill's most recent album Expensive Pain and Megan Thee Stallion's meteoric rise, including her GRAMMY victories and mega-hits Savage and Wap. Riddle lives in New York City, where he prefers to spend his free time reading, writing and running when he gets the chance.
Our recent chat with Sam discusses his favourite campaigns and discusses the overlaps between visual creativity and music.
I’m currently working on lots! I enjoy working behind the scenes and empowering creatives to do their best and let them lead on their own vision, with myself as a piece of a team that helps facilitate their creativity.
Creatively at the moment, I’m loving Meek Mill's new album artwork for Expensive Pain by Nina Chanel Abney, Charli XCX's video for Good Ones, clothing brand Marni, IG moodboard accounts for designing apartments, and brand campaigns driven by narrative, not product.
My all-time favourite music video is Big Pimpin by Jay-Z ft. UGK. That video inspired me to want to work in hip-hop.
Hype Williams captured the entire late 90's/early 00's era of braggadocio rap in a way that you couldn't look away from no matter how you felt about it. I personally loved it.
I’ve always loved the album art for The Stranger by Billy Joel.
The photo used is so simple but captures the spirit of the album perfectly. It sounds cliche to say, but I love black and white album colours because they feel more emotional.
The most recent campaign I’ve enjoyed working on has been Nike's Play New campaign with Megan Thee Stallion.
Mike Carson directed the hero piece of the campaign and nailed exactly what Megan and Nike stand for. The premise of Nike's Play New campaign is that everyone's an athlete, and you don't need to be on an organized sports team to be one.
The campaign was comprehensive and cohesive beyond the hero spot, with workout videos led by Megan Thee Stallion and a hilarious meditation to live alongside it. The Nike team was exceptionally great in understanding Meg's vision and playing in her world instead of forcing her into a metaphorical creative box.
The most recent brand collab that caught my eye was Balenciaga's Simpsons campaign. Maybe not for the better. I can appreciate a brand that doesn't need to dip into the collab space to create conversation.
For me, the most creative and original music video of the past year is Lil Nas X Montero.
You couldn't escape the conversation around it, regardless if you liked it or agreed with the cultural critique it made. He did a great job of capturing everyone's attention with the video. The concept of it was creatively unique when you pay attention to its message beyond the medium it was delivered.
I wish I’d designed the artist logo for Wu-Tang Clan.
They have my favourite logo in music. The colour scheme of Black / Yellow works so well with them and has stood the test of time. The asymmetry of the logo feels almost risky but works perfectly.
The one artist you should follow on Instagram is Tommy Cash
His creativity is hilarious and innovative. He's going to blow up in the coming year or so, led by his creative and accompanied by great music.
The most iconic music photograph is either the Biggie Smalls photo of him looking dead into the camera with the crown titled on his head by Barron Claiborne or the Cam'ron pink fur and pink flip phone image by Djamilla Rosa Cochran.
Both images are bigger than photography or music but encapsulate entire cultures and 'moods' or 'aesthetics' born out of the respective photos.