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Business of HYPE: Levi Maestro

The Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders and entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On this week’s episode, Jeff sits down with videographer, consultant and social media jack-of-all-trades Levi Maestro.

Believe it or not, there was a time not so long ago when holding your camera at arm’s length and taking photos or videos of yourself would attract weird looks. It was almost a decade ago that Levi Maestro found his niche by turning the lens on himself and documenting his day-to-day life. This was before the current era of multimillionaire YouTube vloggers we know nowadays, “YouTube was just cat videos and bum-fights back then,” Maestro recalls. So Maestro chose Vimeo, the sleeker video-hosting site preferred by many directors and editors. In this interview, Maestro explains how he began filming material for his talk show, Maestro Knows, while cutting up tour diary videos for singer-songwriter Anthony Hamilton. Then, one day Levi came home to an unmarked box with a pair of the then-unreleased Nike Air Yeezy 2s and he knew he had his pilot: he took the sneakers and a crew to a local basketball court and tried to dunk in the most-hyped shoes on the planet at that time. Maestro even struck up a partnership with HYPEBEAST when it came time to post the episodes. [Levi notes that Kanye posted the first episode on his Kanye UniverseCity blog, too.]

In true early adopter fashion, Maestro has since migrated from platform to platform, consulting brands as he goes, designing and steering brands with his agency becomb. He’s pitched TV shows and new media ideas and even had his own show, The Maestro, on FOX Sports for a minute. Over the course of this conversation, Levi explains how his career is a combination of “speaking things into existence and pure luck.”

This episode contains references to the following:  
00:54: Selfies  
1:08: Levi Maestro   
9:16: Phil Gaedick /  Bread and Butter Berlin  
10:40: MaestroKnows  
11:45: Virgil Abloh  
12:00: Kanye University Blog  
12:15 Anthony Hamilton  
13:31: Daily Motion  
14:03: Vimeo   15:30: Dave Meyers  
18:35: Nike Air Yeezy  
19:12: Don C.  
20:15 HUF and Eddie Cruz  
22:17 Katana Restaurant LA  
22:26: Jordan Brand  
28:50: Arsen from Hall of Fame   
31:48 Kenny Mac  
33:25: Chocolate Rain  
35:52: Levi Visits Nike Campus  
37:10: Seventh Letter  
49:45: Rob Dyrdek  
50:10: Becomb  
53:24: “The Maestro” on Fox Sports