Visualizing the Vanguard: How Rhymezlikedimez Became Hip-Hop's Favorite Animator

Fresh off his contributions to NxWorries’ ‘Why Lawd?’ LP and a comic series in the pipeline, Rhymezlikedimez details his colorful career trajectory: catching Stones Throw’s eye early in the game, coining the term “visualizer” and racking up A-list credits.

Art 
4,867 0 Comments

You are reading your free article for this month. Login or sign up for a free account now for unlimited reading.

You know when you’re looking at something made by Rhymezlikedimez. Drenched in vibrant hues and covered in cartoonishly graphic details, Rhymez’s animations are like looking through irremovable rose-colored lenses: the weather is warm, the sun is always shining.

This intricate and whimsical universe that Rhymez has built out over an extensive archive of music videos, prints and other animated cartoons is home to a wide range of residents and visitors alike. With cloud-like mascot Puff as a mayoral mainstay – it’s appeared in all of the artist’s pieces since 2020 – a supplemental slew of rap and R&B artists slide through the streets, including Lil Uzi Vert, Ms. Erykah Badu, Playboi Carti, Aminé, Swae Lee, Rico Nasty, J.Cole, Rosalía and even Dua Lipa.

“I’ve always been drawn to the intersection of music and art,” says the man behind the sonic-driven storytelling himself, whose real name is Robin Velghe. The artist grew up binging music videos with his dad, a personal favorite of his being Stardust’s cinematic and futuristic “Music Sounds Better With You.”

“There’s a real sort of magical synergy when you can combine music and visuals in a certain way. It hits two senses and creates this intangible feeling.”

Some of the world’s seasoned inhabitants include Anderson .Paak and Knxwledge’s NxWorries. The duo’s label, Stones Throw, was one of the first to reach out to Velghe after he published his first music video ever for Lil Uzi Vert’s “Neon Guts” in 2017 which he landed by winning an animation contest posted online by the rapper. Velghe had to submit a brief visual loop to the rapper’s team and Uzi and his team then selected the artist behind the best submission to flesh out the full-length music video for the track.

Stones Throw recruited the young animator – who had initially launched his Rhymezlikedimez persona as a side gig of sorts in order to stay passionate about his craft during his more corporate post-design school internship – to animate the visuals for NxWorries’ Yes Lawd! singles ‘BSTWUN’ and “WNGS.”

The second music video Velghe animated was for NxWorries’ “Lyk Dis” in 2018, which catapulted the creative more into the cultural conscience. After soft-launching his skills and cracking a window to his warm-weathered world in “Neon Guts,” it was “Lyk Dis” that allowed Velghe – who says he “sees images when he listens to music” – to shine, serving as the platform to further flesh out his artistry and flex his storytelling skills.

In a video that Velghe refers to as “a love letter to LA mixed with playful sexual innuendos” .Paak and Knxlwedge gallivant around the city, passing by key local landmarks, including In-N-Out, Hollywood Blvd and the Stones Throw headquarters in Highland Park.

“Both Anderson and Knxwledge were involved in the making of the video and gave thoughtful input and feedback throughout the process,” Velghe says, explaining how he thinks of NxWorries as a cartoonish caricature of .Paak and Knxwledge, which is maybe why the artist and the musicians make such a notable collective.

“They’re very specific characters. I think in NxWorries they’re more exaggerated versions of themselves.”

Velghe tapped into this sentiment when he recently linked with the duo once again for their Why Lawd? LP. For the group’s long-awaited sophomore album, Velghe curated the project’s special-edition Stones Throw vinyl cover, the music video for the lead single “86Sentra” and a limited-release print exclusive to the album’s listening event at Stones Throw HQ in LA.

“I love their dynamic and I wanted that to be apparent, especially on the vinyl. It’s a more long-term piece and gonna be in people’s homes,” he explains, detailing how he took a more compositional approach to its creation in comparison to a digital offering. “I really wanted to pay respect to their artistry in a way that did them justice.”

Despite having now, in 2024, amassed a discography complete with the likes of Born X Raised, KidSuper and Adult Swim, Velghe still felt the pressure on the Why Lawd? visuals, as fans have been vying for him to link back up with the duo, who themselves had the added expectations to deliver another cult classic.

When NxWorries presented the three lead singles to the artist, Velghe, who very rarely opts to visualize a project’s lead single, was drawn to “86Sentra” for its “clear message and feeling.” Infused with inspiration from The Powerpuff Girls (.Paak appearing as the show’s Boogie Man) and Fallen Angels (specifically the tunnel scene), the music video is one of Velghe’s favorites as of late, especially from a technical standpoint.

While Velghe admits he doesn’t have a “structured creative process,” it typically goes something like this: he’ll sketch while listening to the music, eventually creating thumbnails that he’ll animate further. In the case of “86Sentra,” Velghe opted to animate it frame-by-frame. Usually, he’ll iron out all of the animations on Adobe After Effects but there are certain songs that elicit the old-school approach of taking it one frame at a time.

“It’s so cool to see my art become the face of a song,” Velghe smiles, also pointing to his art for “Shoota” – a track that doesn’t have an official music video.

“Shoota” not only cemented Velghe’s spot on the map, but it also marked one of the first-ever looped “visualizers” – an aesthetically animated on-screen interpolation of the track – to ever exist; most songs at the time relied either on fully-fledged music videos or static album covers. “If you look up ‘visualizer’ on YouTube, ‘Shoota’ is the first major one you’ll find. It was a way to translate the music that hadn’t been done before.”

The visualizer is simple yet true in form, focusing on Uzi and Carti cruising down the road in a red car as the purple sun sets behind them. Velghe spends a lot of time perfecting the movements of his characters and vehicles, ensuring that each tire bounce is pristine and every flying dollar bill blows majestically in the wind.

Following the success of “Shoota,” Velghe created visualizers for other tracks that “evoked emotion” from him, like “Pretty Little Fears” by 6LACK and J. Cole, “Shine” by Aminé and Sheck Wes’ “Mo Bamba,” along with all three visualizers for Knxwledge’s 1988 sophomore album.

“At first his team wasn’t a fan of one of the visualizers. They were like ‘We really don’t see Knxwledge riding a bike’ and I was like ‘Well it doesn’t matter because it’s the animated world,” he recalls.

As rolling out official artist-funded visualizers became more of Velghe’s bread-and-butter, he ensured to keep his “side hustle” alive, continuing to roll out his own visualizers for songs he feels an innate draw to, including “Heaven to Me” by Tyler, The Creator and “2009” by Mac Miller, as well as fine art prints of artists like Young Thug, Ye and Nipsey Hussle. Velghe’s latest visualizer for Metro Boomin, Future and Kendrick Lamar‘s “Like That” features the trio accompanied by Puff in the middle of sunny Planet Rhymez.

Future and Metro are posted up with Puff on a Cybertruck while Kendrick does push-ups in the background. Watch closely and you’ll notice Future’s Stüssy x Nike Air Penny 2 “Fossil” or Metro’s RLD x AKAI MPC Beat Machine. In a piece by Rhymez, who calls himself a “huge music geek,” the devil is often in the details.

A routine final step of Velghe’s process is translating an animation or visualizer into a fine art print, most recently doing so with the Why Lawd? cover, hit singles “Like That” and “Heaven to Me”, as well as the UTOPIA animated short; the latter on the list is the direction the artist plans to skate towards in the future, as he readies a cartoon series that’s been in the works for a couple of years now.

Velghe tested the waters to ensure his audience’s interest before committing to developing the series. His first short last summer was dubbed Badu’s Forbidden Fruits, developed with Ms. Badu herself. The minute-long clip follows Puff and friends as they embark on a quest to find the “magic apple;” a key part of Badu’s Unfollow Me Tour rollout, the video made way for a handful of IRL scavenger hunts to find magic apples scattered throughout the city.

An easter egg aficionado, it’s these transferable tidbits that set Velghe’s work apart, with background visualizer details – sneaker silhouettes, belt logos or intricate hand motions – making it to the forefront of gold-lined lenticular prints.

Velghe loves opening the windows, doors, and skateparks of his magical Rhymez macrocosm to the public. With a highly sought-after cartoon (just check Velghe’s YouTube and Instagram comments) slated to surface sooner rather than later – it’s clear the cloudy rainbow ether isn’t hitting max capacity any time soon.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Rhymezlikedimez Unveils Tyler, The Creator-Inspired "Heaven To Me" Print
Art

Rhymezlikedimez Unveils Tyler, The Creator-Inspired "Heaven To Me" Print

Drawing from the rapper’s ‘CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: The Estate Sale’ cut, “HEAVEN TO ME.”

Ghostface Killah Says Modern Hip-Hop Has No Storytellers
Music

Ghostface Killah Says Modern Hip-Hop Has No Storytellers

He did, however, namedrop Lil Baby and A Boogie Wit Tha Hoodie as rappers that he like.

Frédéric Platéus Remixes Hip-Hop and BMX Culture in KraftPLus+
Art

Frédéric Platéus Remixes Hip-Hop and BMX Culture in KraftPLus+

A new solo exhibition on view at Ruttkowski;68 in Paris.


Monaleo Drops Hip-Hop Freestyle "Don Who Leo"
Music

Monaleo Drops Hip-Hop Freestyle "Don Who Leo"

She’ll be dropping freestyles each week leading up to her sophomore project.

Nike Air Max 2013 Receives a Futuristic "Metallic Silver" Treatment
Footwear

Nike Air Max 2013 Receives a Futuristic "Metallic Silver" Treatment

Available now.

An Air Jordan 1 Hi ‘85 “Reverse Shadow” Is Coming in 2025
Footwear

An Air Jordan 1 Hi ‘85 “Reverse Shadow” Is Coming in 2025

The Air Jordan 1’s 40th anniversary is shaping up to be a big one.

KidSuper's Spring 2025 Show Is Going to Be a Cirque du Soleil Spectacle
Fashion

KidSuper's Spring 2025 Show Is Going to Be a Cirque du Soleil Spectacle

Colm Dillane’s fashion brand has partnered with the world-renowned entertainment group for its upcoming Paris Fashion Week show.

Forét SS25 Is Down to Earth
Fashion

Forét SS25 Is Down to Earth

The Scandinavian label goes outside to create its latest collection, “Bees and Things and Flowers.”

Marvel's 'Blade' Film Sees Its Second Director Exit the Project
Entertainment

Marvel's 'Blade' Film Sees Its Second Director Exit the Project

A familiar storyline that sees Yann Demange bite the dust following Bassam Tariq in 2022.


Veronica Fernandez & Tidawhitney Lek Ask 'What Will You Give?'
Art

Veronica Fernandez & Tidawhitney Lek Ask 'What Will You Give?'

Unveiling narratives of love and loss at Sidecar Gallery.

Superposition Gallery Exhibition Questions New Realities
Art

Superposition Gallery Exhibition Questions New Realities

Delving into Saturn’s return, a cosmic event that prompts introspection.

Chris Stamp Shares His Travel Guide to Aspen, Colorado
City Guides

Chris Stamp Shares His Travel Guide to Aspen, Colorado

The STAMPD founder shows us where he eats, sleeps and shops when visiting the luxury mountain town.

Patta Celebrates Streetwear Excellence With Its Latest 'Patta Magazine'
Fashion

Patta Celebrates Streetwear Excellence With Its Latest 'Patta Magazine'

Featuring Cash Cobain and Arthur Russell.

8 Drops You Don't Want to Miss This Week
Fashion 

8 Drops You Don't Want to Miss This Week

Featuring Palace, JW Anderson, Diesel and more.

More ▾
 
We got you covered. Don’t miss out on the latest news by signing up for our newsletters.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.