Tag Archives: french montana

GANGS

Every time anybody compliments me on my blog, I’m not sure how to react. It’s kind of like being complimented on your jacket…what are you supposed to say? I’m grateful to anybody who takes the time out to read it though. It indicates that I’m not alone in my obsessions with the unnecessary. It’s also kind of strange to see me described as a creative director online because of an in-joke made on camera last month. Once you take an in-joke out, it’s often misconstrued. I’m not a creative director. I’m too preoccupied with what’s already been to do much creatively, but as misinterpretations go, it’s better than being wrongly accused of wifebeating or burglary. So I’m not going to make a strenuous attempt to clear my name from allegations that I’m a director.

This is another of those blog entries where I throw down anything on my mind at this moment rather than dwelling on a solitary subject. Browsing Hostem (one of London’s best stores and an oasis of creativity away from Oi Polloi copyists) I was thrown by this mastermind Japan Beanie Hat. Sure, it’s cashmere and mastermind has long been an expensive brand. Not in the exhale at the RRP kind of way — we’re talking cartoonish double takes. Masaaki Homma is somebody who truly understands luxury (and getting a Goyard collaboration is no joke), but if you can afford to lay down 1065 GBP on a beanie, then you’re truly balling.

Twin it with the mastermind Japan Rabbit Fur Flight Jacket for 13,745 GBP and you can dress like Jim Jones or Max B for oligarch money. While I’m opposed to the use of rabbit fur, the fur skull and crossbones is a strong look and the stud version of the logo on the beanie completes the high-end goon look. V-neck tee, YSL belt buckle, wallet chain and concealed firearm are optional. There’s something about laying down that kind of dough (and the yen is out of control) on clothing that fires my imagination and makes me wish that I was some kind of art director who could hurl money around like Matthew ‘Scar’ Allen. The best Max B photoshoot is the Angela Boatright ‘Vibe’ one from early 2009, with some bare-bones lounge waviness and I only recently found out that Biggavelli shares my exact birth date. That makes us practically related.

Beyond some fuzzy jail phone freestyles, Max B’s (thanks to newmaxb.blogspot.com for constant updates) and appropriately amazing artwork, French Montana and Juicy J have been holding it down on the mixtape circuit this year. The Juicy J ‘Stoners Night’ video from August with the ‘Drive’ font before ‘Drive’ and an unlikely-looking video vixen was one mixtape favourite gone visual, but this week’s ‘Wasted’ video (with Chinx Drugs) via French’s official videographer Heffty was an unexpected treat, reinforcing Maybach rumours with those guest spots — this week I’m all about the lo-fi black and white videos with the twitter handles at the end. I’m re obsessed with the History Channel’s ‘Gangland’ again.





I actually experienced what I believe to be total happiness after returning from the Nike campus last year and eating a vast pastrami sandwich the size of my head with potato salad, a litre of ice tea and the ‘Gangland’ on Larry Hoover on my hotel TV. The MS-13, Logan Heights, Aryan Brotherhood, Latin Kings and New York Bloods episodes are all fascinating. The programme should really be called ‘GUNSHOTS AND RECAPS,’ but I could watch it all day via any of the many YouTube channels peddling episodes in fifteen minute chunks.

On the subject of Harlem crews, Soul Jazz’s new book ‘Voguing’ compiles Chantal Regnault’s photography of the 1989-1992 ballroom voguing scene. The fact it was a gay scene will almost certainly alienate a few folk, despite Kanye’s crew infamously standing in full executive realness mode (discussed on this blog before a while back) with briefcases, a preoccupation with high-fashion (Margiela, Lagerfield and Mugler rap namechecks are on the up) and that there’s plenty of hip-hop attire echoed in current trends in the book’s images. Funny that plenty of folk want to be immersed in fashion but still carry a whiff of homophobia.

On a tenuous gang topic, there’s unlikely to be a ‘Gangland’ on the Socs or the Greasers — and I still don’t understand why everybody wants to dress like a Soc — after over a decade of waiting for ‘The Outsiders’ to not appear as a UK DVD, despite two US DVD versions, we’re getting compensation of sorts in Studiocanal’s UK Blu-ray at the end of this month. America’s been left behind on this one, but this British release looks like a port of the director’s cut with the altered soundtrack and extra 22 minutes. It’s a ’12’ rather than a PG now too. It’s melodramatic, but it’s still my favourite film ever. Hopefully it’s not a DVD port in terms of sound and visuals — it’s a beautiful looking film that deserves the extra remastering.



More tenuous tribal links? I never realised that someone kindly upped the rarely seen (apparently director John T. Davies lost his archive in a fire) documentary on late 1970s’ Belfast punk rock — 1979’s ‘Shellshock Rock’ onto YouTube. Don’t complain about the tenth generation video quality. Just be grateful that it still exists.


Art Wednesday
‘s free (and ad-free) publication, ‘Art Wednesday Editorial’ just dropped. You can get a little preview of it via this link, but it looks like something that warrants a tactile look, feel and smell above any digital medium. Finding it sounds like a case of being the right person in the right place at the right time. I like Art Wednesday’s jollier approach to the subject than the sterner outlets. And in a curious way, that jollity tells me that they’re confident in what they do too, which makes me like the site more.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

According to a Complex.com rundown, I’m one of the top 25 influential sneaker Twitterers. That was a nice surprise. Shouts to the Complex famalam, but I’m definitely not influential, unless being strange is considered aspirational. Still, it’s fun to be acknowledged in whatever form, even if it appears just after you Tweet than sneaker culture is just a load of old men in colourful hats and big shoes. Like all lists it also had some folks acting all “How come he don’t want me, man?” Will Smith too. Between the brands and the consumers, I still think the whole sports footwear cycle is in a dark, dark place right now. Blame the egos, their ’97 mindsets and forays into blog reliance. There’s good shoes out there — in fact there’s some amazing stuff out there — but we in the UK seem to be denied them in favour of some dreck.

Take the Zoom Huarache TR Low for example. Most updates of shoes are a letdown — the Platinum Dunes remakes of the sneaker world — but this shoe somehow channels two years of Huarache running designs and brings it up to date without being anything close to terrible. The Mids seem to be a more popular choice Stateside, but we Brits always loved the runner — from Derek Redmond’s old man (“Have You Hugged Your Foot Today?”) to Olympus sale racks and the Foot Locker and JD Sports high street resurrections.

Thus I’m baffled as to why this model — one of the few pre-Presto times when something so progressive got road wear before popular footwear on these shores went defiantly retro in white-on-white or black-on-black. This model debuted late last year but I’ve not seen any pairs over here. That’s a Bozo move, and with the subtle change in textures and Knicks colours, a bargain at $69 in NYC. Admittedly some other variations feel a little too plasticky, but this is a classic in the making. It’s fun that you can still saunter through ‘Nothing to Declare’ at Heathrow with a gem in tow, but I can’t help but feel that it’s an opportunity wasted over here. These were a breath of fresh air amid the city’s spectacular humidity.

Other online appearances this week included an interview with ‘Crack & Shine’s Freddie for the excellent new site, ‘The Heavy Mental’ that operates from Australia and launched quietly with a wealth of features on talented folk like Lev Tanju, Fergadelic, Luke Meier and Shaniqwa Jarvis. Even Union’s Chris Gibbs — a style king in a realm populated by herbs — is involved. It’s a great start and props are due to Ed for putting it together. It’s worth your energy and a fine antidote to padded paragraphs for SEO’s sake or the shackles of 140 characters.

www.theheavymental.com

It was also good to see Allen and the 12ozProphet crew making big moves at site and agency level at the moment. There’s evidently some huge things in the pipeline that they’ll be rolling out soon, but their meticulous approach to digital, paper and cotton product is an inspiration. There’s never a pixel of half-step on display from these guys and their appreciation for graffiti in its hardcore form manifests itself in the meticulous rather than cliche drips and arrows. I was privvy to some amazing, energising and inspiring work that’s all too rare these days, left as it too often is, in the hands of a head designer with a grip of Thames & Hudson tomes and precious little else. 12oz are role models and I need to get these stickers up by any means necessary, having seen the logo throughout both Berlin and New York these last few weeks. The amount of detail in the labelling and packaging of the tees is appropriately uncompromising.

The late, great RAMMΣLLZΣΣ may have decried the ‘SNEEZE’ logo as “toy” but for $2 (those import charges are a motherfucker) from that Lafayette vending machine, issue #12 is a banger. The almost jizzy, translucent cover lettering over Kate Upton, a big Prodigy fold-out from the Supreme shoot and an interview with the perennially wavey French Montana are all breaks from the bullshit. The Downtown broadsheet delivers time and time again — there’s some insightful content amid the gloss.