This is a scene from the life and times of Shawn Carter, volume two. (Volume one, if you missed it, was that hard-knock life you heard Jay-Z —Carter’s public persona—rap about in a track that samples the famous track from the 1982 Annie movie.) It’s a good life, a high life, and the people depicted living it are good and high on cannabis.
The image is the first installment of a three-part campaign for Jay-Z’s new Monogram cannabis line, which launched this spring in California. The campaign is a modern take on the legendary work of Slim Aarons, a midcentury photographer who built his fame by photographing “attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places,” as he famously described it.
The photographs Adams captured during the Rat Pack era have become synonymous with midcentury luxury, beauty, and leisure. Carter’s Monogram tapped legendary hip-hop photographer/director Hype Williams to reimagine a series of Aaron’s most notable vignettes. Shot at the stunning Frank Sinatra House in Palm Springs, the series has been cast with a diverse group of creative talents like Grammy nominee Chika, Ghetto Gastro, Curren$y, designer Aleali May, and the model Slick Woods—all styled by High Snobiety fashion director Corey T. Stokes. The creatives are seen lounging on floats with Monogram product in hand, basking in outdoor opulence.
The resulting imagery illustrates the dynamic, expanding landscape of modern luxury, and how it intersects with a new chapter in cannabis culture. “The perception around cannabis has shifted a lot since the 20th century. If you were to ask me and my peers how we’d define the good life today, weed would definitely be a part of it. Whether we’re smoking to inspire creativity or to celebrate an achievement, cannabis has a rightful place in modern-day culture,” says Williams. “HOV has a vision for the industry that he’s bringing to life through Monogram. His focus for this campaign was to showcase how beautifully cannabis fits into the good life today, and I am honored to be a part of it.”