Tag Archives: jodeci

BAGGY

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This Jodeci VH1 biopic might be the best news of the day — a Jodeci flick and a full Ric Flair documentary? An amazing time to be alive, contrary to those apocalyptic headlines. If that rising ocean and those missiles can hold off for a couple of years, that would be ideal. I’m also very excited about the impending issue #1 of TTTISM magazine from the Sang Bleu stable. Maxime Plescia-Büchi is a friend and role model — a man so prolific that he’s put together an entire supplementary publication to an existing rollout, a complete apparel range and even changed his name since I saw him last. And that isn’t even his day job. On an unrelated note, big up Hezakya Starr for upping this 1993 news piece on the sagging, baggy denim boom — big jeans will be back soon (note: bootcut and baggy are two different things), and this is a reminder as to haw voluminous things got back in the day. Switching to unrelated mode again, a couple of cool Larry Clark interviews have appeared online too, including one where Clark talks about an impending retirement from films to drive around Europe in a Bentley and another one for French news — I post a lot of Larry interviews on here, and most tell the same tales and ask the same questions, but he is a character who will forever prove fascinating to me.

NAUGHTY

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(Image by Ernie Paniccioli from Free Stylin’)

Watching Onyx carry on during The Breakfast Club as if the last 21 years never happened, with Envy’s important question about them firing blanks during their Source Award appearance cut off by some haggard mad facing reminded me of how much I wanted an Onyx hockey shirt or black denim jacket back then— I never saw the official Slammin’ Gear versions of the quilted vest in the UK. While April Walker’s contribution to the industry is well-documented, I feel that it should always be reiterated whenever possible — we all know about Walker Wear (whose hoodies seemed more minimal than anything else on the hip-hop brand side of things) which was on the back of any thug rapper of influence, back when a giant mustard waistcoat with fireman jacket fastenings was a thing. The Walker Wear logo was incredibly effective on chests and heads and her connections got it everywhere, but Angela Hunte-Wisner’s styling work from the same era was incredible too — she was key to putting Starter and Nike on in Another Bad Creation, R Kelly and LL Cool J album covers and videos, but her decision to put Jodeci in Hi-Tec Magnum boots (possibly the only legit moment in Hi-Tec’s history) was pioneering in bringing rugged looks to R&B. April Walker also designed Onyx’s mad face logo — this piece from last year is still essential.

Naughty By Nature always seemed to have the best rap merchandise pre Wu-Wear (bar Public Enemy, NWA, Run-DMC or those Sleeping Bag jackets that cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars that were advertised in the EPMD sleeve) and for reasons unknown, I was preoccupied with getting some Naughty Gear denim in 1994. Treach, Vinnie and Kay Gee set the brand off in 1993 and opened a store in Newark, New Jersey the following year. Building on the “Down with O.P.P” tee and Naughty by Nature underwear, plus a knack for merchandising since the New Style era (the connection to master merchandisers Tommy Boy probably didn’t hurt either), given Treach’s patronage of Walker Wear, I’m certain April Walker played a role. This piece from Yo! MTV Raps back in 1995 (recorded in bad quality but essential nonetheless) showcases the store as well as a trip to a hardware store to get chains, plus a Timberland mission too. In that video, Vinnie reveals that Naughty Gear jeans were made by Ruff Era, a frequent advertiser in The Source, who sold stiff, voluminous jeans. Savvy choices of collaborator and Vinnie’s decision to build the brand beyond just local screen printing paid off, but when the band started beefing in the late 1990s when urban wear really started popping, their licensing deals to make Naughty Gear, Inc. more profitable suffered. I’m not saying Naughty Gear was classic, but Naughty By Nature’s visual identity very smart indeed. Now Naughty Gear looks a little more basic.

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South Beach colours on a Wildwood should be the worst thing ever, but these impending versions are decent. Still the greatest all-round All Conditions Gear shoe of all-time — the mystery of why this Pegasus remix existed around the time that the Pegasus ACG and Pegasus A/T were sold remains, but this always seemed closer to Escape spirit.

CONCORDS & R&B

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That Boyz II Men Concord and tux Grammy footage and imagery keeps on eluding me. Can somebody send me it and put me out of my misery. Does it even exist? The closest I ever found was the shot of Jodeci standing with Tempest Bledsoe from The Cosby Show wearing the white outfits and Jordan XIs from the March ’96 ‘Coast 2 Coast’ section of The Source. This was a time before Jojo was fainting onstage and Dalvin was plummeting off them.

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Back in the day, my dad and I were pretty obsessed with Alien — ever since he described a Chestburster to me as a toddler, I was transfixed. If I’d had access to Alien action figures (and I’m not talking about those crappy 1990s Aliens things with the flying Alien Queens and other such foolishness) from Kenner, it would have been game over — crappy Star Wars figures like Lobot and Snaggletooth would have perished with the quickness. But I never even knew plans had ever been afoot for Alien toys back in 1979 until I got talking to geeks who knew more than me and saw them in a 1995 magazine, by which time I was too old for such things. The closest I’ve come to the 12″ Kenner Alien action figure (which, according to legend was created with the license holders under the impression that it was going to be more of a science fiction extravaganza than a claustrophobic horror film) was the Medicom mini-replica, but I’ve always wanted the scrapped series of smaller Star Wars size action figures that never left prototype stage, because, quite understandably, the 12″ Alien terrified kids and sold poorly.

In one of the most nerd-friendly resurrections ever, the ReAction brand — a subsidiary of Super7 (who I know little about, other than they always seem to have monster figures in every Juxtapoz ever) — have obtained the Alien license and obtained either the prototypes or good quality photographs (apart from one figure which only seems to exist in the same shot I saw in 1995) and finally made those unreleased figures of Ripley, Ash, Dallas, Kane in that strange spacesuit and the “Big Chap” alien. If you want more geekery, they even recruited the lady who designed the original packaging for Kenner and this project back in the day to create the packaging for this release and created fake prototype figures in the blue of the fabled Boba Fett missile firing prototype (cancelled after a child choked to death on a Battlestar Galactica toy), created backdrops, bags and boxes that homage Kenner’s Star Wars Early Bird package from 1977 and even made a fake press release that deliberately plays on the misconception that all the figures will be the best of friends. It’s one of the greatest parts of my childhood that never was and you can read more about the ReAction releases right here. Is their resurrections of shelved toys a work-in-progress? I’m interested to see what comes next. This is a superior lesson in absurd attention-to-detail.

PhoneShop is a patchy show in terms of plotting, but Ashley and Jerwayne’s dialogue is a dead-on snapshot of the inadvertent strangeness of Croydon and Sutton’s slang-speaking denizens. The shoulder bags alone are more amusing than anything Simon Brodkin has conjured up in his appalling Lee Nelson character — a performance by a man who seems to have only ever seen a young person in EastEnders once, four years ago during a plot where Fatboy steals a parrot from a magician or some such shit. After a weak third series, PhoneShop redeemed itself with the ultimate parody of UK road rap, with its sloppy metaphors, shushing backgrounders and slo-mo delivery.

It might even be the best rap parody I’ve ever seen — from that obligatory Taliban mention to the threats to sleep with your missus, it captures a subculture that’s doomed never to crossover without heavy compromise and it’s actually better than all UK rap, because our take on rap in 2013 is either JD Sports garms and bandana waving in the hood, Boxpark fodder that’s all murals, shitty streetwear brands and beatboxing, chart stuff that’s just a novelty record that won’t fuck off (because careers seem to be sustained by imbeciles and social media) or it’s practiced by people who look like they steal lead off of church roofs and like to engage in terrible rap battles that are mostly AIDS jokes in front of a crowd of excitable people in Supreme Being sweatshirts. Westwood was always right to ditch our own produce in favour of DMX and Diplomats and I hope that this sketch stops people making UK rap forever.

GORDON, WALTER & GHOSTFACE

There’s a big week ahead, but I won’t be indulging in much of what’s going on (though I would really like to see the Christopher Shannon show at LFW) because I’m not invited and because I have an unnatural amount of assignments that I’ve greedily agreed to to finish. Freelancing is boring like that. So all I can do here this evening is bang out the things I’ve been checking for over the last couple of days. The most notable thing next week is Supreme London’s Thursday opening – already I see people declaring it to be a sign that the brand is “mainstream” but that criticism seems cyclical — the ’95 kids decried the ’00 kids who decried the ’04 kids who are decrying the ’07 kids who are hating on a perceived influx of ’11 Odd Future fans touching their beloved brand. It’s like a 5-panel hatted foodchain of hate. Funnily enough, plenty of kids crying “NEWBIE” weren’t even aware of the brand when Kanye unexpectedly wore the sweat in ‘Vibe’ back in winter 2003. What a stupid and strange realm we reside in…

Mr. Andrew Bunney and Darryl Saunders are making low-key power moves with the British Remains brand. From their own carefully selected t-shirt fit (and Bunney is super-careful about that kind of thing) they don’t leave much to chance, but the capsule collection with Japan’s Uniform Experiment gives them a new blank to play with, and I really like the circular homage to a humdrum existence. Go check his Honeyee blog for the rest.

I’m also massively impressed with the Rap/R&B metal vest that did the Tumblr rounds this week. That Jodeci patch is the winner for me, but James Jirat Patradoon‘s twitter indicates that he (James’s work is awesome) and Aaron Kuswara have another 50 logos to go and might be selling the patches separately. Just when I thought comedy rap references were done, this comes along and knocks me sideways. It looks like a labour of love too.

If you’ve ever hungrily delved into Google looking for food information, there’s a fair chance you’ve stumbled into Serious Eats. Some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten were recommendations from this global scoped network of bloggers and affiliated sites (including the awesome Slice and A Hamburger Today). They’ve gone real world by putting out a 360+ page book this coming winter that promises to match the quality of the site. The infamous Hamburger Fatty Melt is in there, but I don’t think the Fake Shack will be.

How can Money Mayweather pop shots at the mighty Larry Merchant? I love Larry’s deliberate post-fight interview style, complete with deliberate pauses and his earlier writing that matched the mighty Gay Talese’s sports journalism. He’s the king of slow motion antagonism. But seeing an 80 year old man stepping to a 34 year old man was Worldstar gone global. Floyd needs to watch out though, because back in ’97, Merchant had put hands on a buffoon defending an enraged Wayne McCullouch fan who interrupted his Daniel Zaragosa interview. God bless the kind of people who create this nonsense.

The homie Sofarok made this montage of Drew Struzan renditions of sneakers from his posters. This deserved to go triple E-platinum and be retweeted forever, but half of the MAG-preoccupied herbs don’t know who Struzan is. Fuck you if you don’t know about Drew. Charles Morgan knows what’s up. This should be made into its own poster.

I’m freshly re-obsessed with the classic footage of Franz “the Flying Tailor” Reichelt and his idiotic death dive from the Eiffel Tower. It played like a silent movie version of ‘Faces of Death’ but Franz’s flying coat demonstration also feels like the doomed great-grandfather of the latest brace of Stone Island videos.

Whatever your leaning, you can’t deny (think ‘Deer Hunter’) that the notion of  small towners heading to war and the aftermath makes for powerful viewing. ‘Where Soldiers Come from’ has finally hit US cinemas. The destruction of individuals always drives the point home across more than the mass body bag bombast of press coverage, and those repeat roadside bomb photos can become a little anonymous. Sometimes you need to study a microcosm to appreciate the bigger picture.

I’m re-obsessed with Clarks Wallabees at the moment. It never fails to throw me as to what was deemed a ‘moccasin’ back in the 1920s, courtesy of Padmore & Barnes (who were, of course, the masters of Wallabee manufacture back when they were made in Southern Ireland). For me, worn right, the Wallabee, Weaver and the Padmore are some of the most perfect footwear designs ever. The marketing materials were pleasantly to the point, but frequently text-heavy (my favourite kids of old ad) and keen to dismiss copyists. I always wondered as to whether they were as plagued by copyists as they were circa. 1989/1990 when “baggy” seemed to affect even the most provincial UK outposts. Before there was Ghostface, there was Gordon Monro and Walter Melvin…

R.I.P. Nathan Clark.