Local man animates lyric music video for hit Cardi B song

Nolan Martin via Facebook

A young animator from Chatham says networking is what helped him land a job working on a music video for one of the biggest, most talked-about songs of 2020.

Nolan Martin was one of the animators involved in creating the official lyric video for rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song WAP.

Since its release on August 19, the lyric video has been viewed over 13 million times on YouTube.

The 24-year-old got his start attending Fanshawe College in London for interactive media. While he was in school, Martin said he focused heavily on networking to help him build connections and he was able to start getting paid jobs in the industry around two years ago.

From there, Martin got gigs making content for big-name music festivals including Coachella and EDC. However, when the pandemic starting shutting down festivals across the globe, he used his networking skills to help him land a job for one of the most famous names in pop music.

“I know a bunch of animators who work in this industry and I know one who does work for a lot of rap artists,” Nolan said. “I told him to let me know if he ever needed any extra help on a project.”

Martin found out he has been chosen to work on the WAP lyric video less than two weeks before it was set to come out. He, along with seven other animators, worked on a tight deadline to complete it.

“We had to put in a lot of time when we’d be working on the project, we had like two weeks to do it,” Nolan explained. “It was 15 hour days just to finish it.”

WAP quickly rose to prominence, debuting at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and breaking the record for the largest opening streaming week for a song in U.S. history. The single also hit number one in seven countries across the world including in Canada and the United Kingdom and was certified platinum in both the U.S. and Canada.

According to Martin, he wasn’t expecting the song to get as much attention as it has.

“I’m really happy with that,” he said. “Just to have the exposure too. My name’s in the credits. It’s been good, I’ve gotten other jobs from working on this.”

Screen grab via Cardi B YouTube

Screen grab via Cardi B YouTube

The song also garnered lots of attention and some controversy for its sexually explicit lyrics about female pleasure. Martin said the animation team was tasked with the challenge of teetering the line between innuendo and appropriate.

“You take a lyric and make a visual to that lyrics. Obviously, it’s a very explicit song and we can’t animate really sexual stuff,” he explained. “That’s why a lot of it is symbolic.”

The project got the final approval from Cardi B’s team. Martin said the rapper also posted the video to her social media pages once it was finished.

“I was really happy,” he said. “It’s definitely the biggest thing I’ve worked on so far, just in terms of who Cardi B is.”

Martin said he feels lucky to be where he is in his career and hopes that other big projects continue to be on the horizon for him. For other people starting out in creative fields, Martin said the best advice he can give to stand out from the crowd is to be easy to work with and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

“There’s nothing wrong with messaging [someone] and saying ‘if you ever need help with something, I would like to do [it].’ Really, the worst thing that happens is they say ‘no,'” Martin said. “Then you can just move on and try to find a different project.”