A duo that met as teacher and student at Annapolis High School has produced Jay-Z's latest music video.
As Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s first child, Blue Ivy, follows her parents’ footsteps, the first track of her musical career has been animated by Annapolis multimedia company Artlife Studio — and they could be animating more of her in the future.
Artlife Studio founders Maurice “Moe” Taylor and Eric Elston say they were contacted by Jay-Z’s media company, Roc Nation, to animate a bonus track from Jay-Z’s most recent album, “4:44.”
"Blue's Freestyle” was released on Jay-Z’s streaming service, Tidal, for Blue Ivy’s sixth birthday at 4:44 p.m. Sunday. In a preview clip of the freestyle, she can be seen rapping onstage as a cartoon ballerina in front of a stunned audience — including a star-struck cartoon Jay-Z and Beyoncé.
Artlife’s roots began at Annapolis High School, where Taylor says Elston was his keyboard teacher in 2001.
“After he graduated, I mentored him for a long time and then I said, ‘Hey, let’s take this to the next level,’ ” Elston said.
Since their start in 2009, the duo’s projects have ranged from wedding videos to documentaries. After working for Jay-Z, they’re still open to projects beyond hip-hop.
“We do everything,” Taylor said. “We never want to limit ourselves.”
Elston is an educator at Fredrick Douglas High School in Prince George’s County and also manages several professional athletes. Taylor also works with professional actors and has done video and graphic work for Idris Elba, 50 Cent, “Power” actor Omari Hardwick and radio personality Angie Martinez.
After the success of the “Blue’s Freestyle” video, the duo is working on a proposal to produce a Blue Ivy cartoon series for Roc Nation.
“The idea is in its early stages, and we’re just looking to ride this wave right now,” Taylor said. “I love creating. This is another step in the journey.”
For more Artlife videos, visit www.vimeo.com/artlifestudio.