Muse: Dianna Lushus. Photography: PhotoHuynh.

What if it was really all a dream?… SICK STAR reimagines Hip-Hop legend Notorious B.I.G.‘s classic lyrics from “Juicy“. Take a peek into the bedroom with SICKS Degrees Fam Dianna Lushus as we do our own visual take of lines from the song. See if you can spot the references.

Assistants: Martin Ramos, AJ Ramos

I met Dianna Lushus with T. Luxe. The two are best friends and at the time I met them, they were inseparable.

Notorious B.I.G. is one of the greatest lyricists of all time. He’s often compared and contrasted to 2Pac in a as the best rapper ever. Biggie’s lyrics are very vivid and paint a picture in your mind. “Juicy” was an idea to do a whole shoot revolving around Biggie’s song of the same name, breaking down each line and brought to life as props and items in a single bedroom.

This would be by far, one of the most expensive and most elaborate shoots to date, requiring a lot of planning. We couldn’t skimp out on anything, especially try to do an homage to someone as legendary as Biggie Smalls. I started purchasing props representative of the lines and words in the song about 3 months prior to the shoot off of eBay. Some of the items were straightforward (“hanging pictures on my wall” – various posters tacked up on the wall, including a Notorious B.I.G. one) and some were inspired (“I’m the rappin’ Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha” – John Wayne a.k.a. “The Duke” VHS video tapes, “born sinner, opposite of winner” – “Se7en” movie VHS & MR10’s basketball trophy). Additionally, we added our own mementos and touches from each of us and a lot of SICK STAR memorabilia to make it feel like it was Dianna’s room – the Pochacco and Hello Kitty dolls are hers and mini figure skates are found in the room and PhotoHuynh’s photos from old shoots and events are found on the wall. A lot of the stuff was originally mine growing up, that I gathered from my parents’ house back home in Las Vegas.

I brought an IKEA shelf from my room and loaded it up on MR10’s truck to bring to his room which was the location of the shoot. I had free reign of his room and moved his furniture as I pleased, staging all the props and putting all the stuff on the walls. After the shoot, I left the IKEA shelf and MR10’s room stayed just the same quite a while after the shoot.

The actual shoot was long and tedious, trying to find the right angles for both Dianna and to get everything into frame for the shots. We shot for around 6 hours, and Dianna, like her friend T., liked to drink. It was literally shot after shot – a few photography shots followed by shots of Henny. With the length of the shoot and the pace that we were drinking, we polished off a handle of Henny between the 4 of us. Sometimes we drink a lot on shoots, but this is the first time that I threw up.

I was proud of what we out together yet it was difficult trying to display and portray the meaning of the work because a lot of the concept is really in the details. We did an 18×24 poster that we sold but found that we were still explaining what was going on. But when we did, people loved it. Biggie’s song speaks volumes to people. It’s the ultimate rags to riches story.

"Way back, when I had the red and black lumberjack" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Smokin' weed and Bambu, sippin' on private stock" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"The Moet and Alize keep me pissy" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Remember when I used to eat sardines for dinner" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Call the crib, same number same hood" ... "To up close and personal with Robin Leach" ... "And I'm far from cheap, I smoke skunk with my peeps all day" - Notorious B.I.G 'Juicy'
"Peace to Ron G, Brucey B, Kid Capri, Funkmaster Flex, Lovebug Starsky" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Hangin' pictures on my wall" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Born sinner, the opposite of a winner" ... "Remember Rappin' Duke, duh-ha, duh-ha" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"I let my tape rock 'til my tape pop" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"When I was dead broke, man I couldn't picture this" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Every Saturday Rap Attack, Mr. Magic, Marley Marl" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"['Juicy'] was produced by Poke of Trackmasters & Sean "Puffy" Combs. It contains a sample of Mtume's "Juicy Fruit", but is directly sampled from the song's "Fruity Instrumental" mix, and has an alternative chorus sung by girl group Total." - Wikipedia
"Salt'n'Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine" ... "Time to get paid, blow up like the World Trade" ... "Puttin' 5 karats in my baby girl's ear" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Now honies play me close like butter played toast" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'. For our shoot, "Rap Jam: Volume One" for the Super Nintendo plays on the television. The game featured rap and Hip-Hop artists playing street basketball.
"And she loves to show me off of course. Smiles every time my face is up in The Source." - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'. We feature The Source Issue #228.
"You had a goal, but not that many 'cause you're the only one I'll give you good and plenty" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'
"Girls used to diss me, now they write letters 'cause they miss me" - Notorious B.I.G. 'Juicy'