Chris Buzelli's Key for Success with Rolling Stone
You’d be forgiven if you’re not sure what DJ Khaled does for a living. Everyone knows who he is (unless you’re playing yourself), but there do still seem to be questions about why he’s attached to every major rap and hip hop project from the last decade. Those who still aren’t sure can look to his latest album, Major Key, to get a better idea. To many he’s the perfect networker, bringing together artists from all over the industry to create epic work, making him something like a ringleader. When Rolling Stone brought together their own review of Major Key they needed artwork to pair with it, and who better than Chris Buzelli to bring it to life?
For Rolling Stone the idea was about visualizing Khaled as something like a circus ringleader. Each one of the tracks on his album features at least one other musical artist creating a roster that is blistering as it is sparkling. Based off early reports and quotes from Khaled, Rolling Stone gave Chris a list of other figures they’d like included in the image and he found a trick or talent for each of them based on their distinct personalities and tones. “Kanye should definitely be swinging on the trapeze,” says Chris with a laugh. “Drake is always doing that smooth dance move so I thought he should be on the tightrope. And Jay Z seems like a strongman. Future seemed a little more lighthearted so I put him as a juggler.” Each of these artists are so in control of their own images it’s fun to see them reinterpreted in another world, especially one that ends up making so much figurative sense.
So what's Chris Buzelli's own key to success? Patience.
This isn’t the first time that Chris has created an illustration paired with an album review, but he remembers a day before those calls started. In fact, it took 10 years from the day he swore it would happen for that call to come. “When I was a senior in college my studio mate somehow got a call to do this album review illustration,” Chris recalls. “I remember being astonished, because that was back in 1995, and I was like, ‘how the hell do you get this?’ Back then it was the pinnacle to get that album review illustration. And I remember after that I was like, ‘One day, one day I’m going to get it.’” Since then he gets to bring his own interpretation to the work of other artists consistently, but he always tries to remember the days before that call came. “Every once in a while I still have to pinch myself.”