Tag Archives: prodigy

FAREWELL, KING

prodigyhnicteaser

Many wars and feuds did Conan fight. Honour and fear were heaped upon his name and, in time, he became a king by his own hand..
Narrator, Conan the Barbarian

Farewell Prodigy. The Mobb changed my life, and I definitely wasn’t alone in this sentiment, from those introductions in seeing the strangely named duo advertising their debut album on 4th and B’way, mentioned in the same breath as accomplished young acts like Illegal and Da Youngstas around that time (despite being comparatively senior at 16/17), to that Black Moon cameo to the Loud-assisted coming of age when that Nudder Brudders sampler hit in late 1994. While many of their equally acclaimed industry friends and foes flamed out post-millennium, the self-contained nature of the crew (having Havoc and Alchemist in the fold meant that the production side never faltered, (a key contributor to the demise of so many other acts) and P’s prolific approach to guest appearances and solo EPs and LPs paralleled the work ethic of one-time nemesis 2Pac. Incidentally, size jibes are irrelevant when you’re that willing to go to work with absolutely all-comers — something that’s even more admirable in the era of the subliminal. Instead of pursuing the A-list or becoming an enigma, despite extolling the no-new-friends mentality long before Drake, Prodigy’s man of the people accessibility was apparent by the glut of beaming fan photos showcasing those tattooed knuckles (and who else was that inked in the rap realm before he got covered around Hell On Earth?) lighting up social media during the last 24 hours. He was a poet who never papered over that pain and the world is significantly worse in his absence. How many other two-man acts have managed to create their own universe, dress, sound and aesthetic like them? They even went full Droog and had their own language (dun beats nadsat). We lost him as a standalone artist and we lost Mobb Deep — condolences to his family and friends. Even at 42, I don’t think he ever reached the physical age of the mind state he hinted at in his late teens. Fortunately, we’ve been left the ultimate soundtrack for shut in the room gloom.

Given that he brought the quotables from 1992 to 2017 and factoring in that take-no-prisoners approach when it came to letting off those opinions, it’s impossible to single out one highlight. I know exactly which portrait was best though. Around summer 1999, The Source ran ads for the much-anticipated H.N.I.C. portrait with a jewel swoosh mid and grey marl clad Prodigy on an ice throne. In his essential autobiography, My Infamous Life, he mentions the campaign,

Steve Rifkind was serious about promoting my album and Loud started running magazine ads for H.N.I.C. six months in advance. Since my album was called Head Ni**a in Charge, I was sitting on a throne in the ads. The idea came from the end of the movie Conan the Barbarian, when Conan sat on a throne like the king of the world.

RAIN

noelgallagherpolosport1996

Back in summer 1996, an Oasis shoot in Arena Homme+ by Peter Robathan showed that, long before Liam did the cod-mod Pretty Green thing, he had a lot of style when it came to outerwear, while Noel has always understood the power of a good coat. Rain was rooted in the north’s inclement weather and the duality of the siblings. Liam opted for Lefthand, Donna Karan and Hugo while Noel gravitated towards Polo Sport and Kenzo. 20 years on, this Ralph (“coat £165 by Polo Sport Ralph Lauren”) is still a highlight. Trips to Bicester to get this one that Christmas yielded nothing. Continue reading RAIN

MOCKERY

Happy Halloween. I just realized that I shot my bolt on that theme in a few posts over the last few weeks that had a horror theme, so all I can offer is this, my dream Halloween outfit — occasionally forgotten R&B boy band Hi-Five (with whom Mobb Deep’s Prodigy spat his first recorded verse on the ‘Boyz N the Hood’ soundtrack as Lord T) from the cover of February 1992’s ‘Black Beat’ in the purple blazer, luridly patterned tie, tailored shorts, White Sox hat, white socks and Persian Air Max Big Windows. Of course, the outfit would require four matching cohorts (I’m sure Nick Schonberger would be down with the look) for full effect, but this was the most spectacular colour match I ever saw, creating its own sports-formality style in the process. 20 years on, I still marvel at the stylist’s handiwork.

It’s a good time to be down with the moc-toes. Firstly, Padmore & Barnes officially relaunched, with a tremendous gallery in the history section, with a Wallee’d out Jim Dale enjoying a cigarette while in Ireland for the filming of 1969’s ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. As I understand, the shoes are being hand stitched by some skilled folk in Portugal from their homes. Secondly, Al Fingers’ ‘Clarks in Jamaica’ book is released in a couple of weeks. This book’s been given plenty of coverage elsewhere, but the images up on the One Love Books website at the moment are pretty spectacular. Old ads and a genuine historical analysis of how Clarks hit the island with a vengeance makes this an essential. Closer to home, there’s a second Clarks book dropping next year — Mark Palmer’s ‘Made to Last: the Story of Britain’s Best-Known Shoe Firm’ is an official history of Clarks that covers the birth of the company as a rug-makers in 1825, how slippers from rug offcuts became a shoe business, the rise of overseas manufacture in the 1980s and the shareholder and family split of the 1990s. From Quaker values to a Jamaican must-have, the Clarks tale is a curious one. Hopefully Palmer’s book will have a foreword by Dennis Coles himself when it drops in April 2013.

If you still need an excuse to buy the ‘Ideas From Massimo Osti’ book (even if supplies seemed to get depleted fast), I think the inserts with Osti’s soundbites and the multicolored Tela Stella ‘Linea Uomo Sport’ image are worth the RRP alone. The galleries of gloves, hats, bags and shoes are equally ridiculous. I may deliberately break one of my legs so I can take the time out to read the book in its entirety.

On the Halloween subject, film buff and the man who made Pazuzu haunt my psyche to the present day, William Friedkin (whose sole dud in my opinion, is ‘The Guardian’ — I can even tolerate ‘Jade’ with David Caruso), just dropped a top 10 Criterion films list that’s worth reading. I also noticed that somebody uploaded 1984’s ‘Terror in the Aisles’ documentary onto YouTube — it’s just a ton of horror film clips with Nancy Allen and Donald Pleasance hamming it up in a cinema, but this film was my childhood checklist for what I needed to see. For well over a decade I hunted the film where a cockroach sets a woman’s hair alight (‘Bugs’ from 1975) and when I found it, it was atrocious. It sold ‘the Exorcist’ and, oddly, ‘Ms. 45 (where Zoë Tamerlis completely ruins a Halloween party by dressing as a sexy nun, then shooting all the men there) to me in a major way though and contributed to my warped mind. Worst. Halloween party. Ever.

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.

10 RAP REFERENCES TO COLUMBO & OTHER STUFF

Farewell Peter Falk. Forget Burberry’s smart ‘Art of the Trench’ initiative — Peter made ruffled look aspirational. Who wouldn’t want to get one up on smug, murdering company CEOs, landowners and wealthy philanderers and their villainy at the last moment? Detective Columbo wasn’t like the rest of the feds — he did his thing with a shambolic veneer that concealed a mastermind. It’s unlikely that Falk would be too annoyed at being typecast in that role with the whole nation commemorating his passing by pausing by doorways hunched and saying that line in a gruff voice — he was grateful for the Columbo role because he’d been in a succession of TV mobster roles prior to the 1971-2003 run of mysteries (only 68 episodes in 32 years).

Still, Peter’s work with Cassavetes —1970’s ‘Husbands’ (which was the subject of a post here a while back on Ben Gazzara) is a classic and the 1969’s trashy greatness of ‘Machine Gun McCain’ (where they met),1974’s ‘A Woman Under the Influence’ and 1976’s ‘Mikey and Nicky’ is equally notable, mixing b-movies with John’s uncompromising sense of the real. That mix gave Falk’s career a real depth, but I’m glad he got to work with another of my favourite directors — Mr. Walter Hill — in 2002’s overlooked ‘Undisputed.’ While many of Falk’s final roles were mob figures, Mendy Ripstein is the best of them — all world-weary menace, and his language during a particular outburst stays classic.

 

With Master P, Silkk the Shocker (who’d made Columbo reference on CD six years prior), C-Murder and Boz performing in ‘Undisputed’ as the Gat Boyz and Puff Daddy in the far weaker ‘Made’ the previous year, in which Falk was equally mobbed out as Max, Falk had some brushes with hip-hop heavyweights. That allows for a mildly tenuous segue way into references to Columbo on rap tracks. Most rappers pepper their lyrics with the televisual pop culture references, but Columbo seemed to be a popular one – unusual to see ‘the man’ celebrated like he was, but there’s a fair few negative references to sneaky cops using the fictional character’s name. Nowadays only elders like Malice make reference to things like “…avoiding the Kojak,” but once it was no real surprise. After all, Theo Kojak and Frank Columbo were hardly Rampart-style douchebag types while they were doing their jobs — Columbo barely even carried a gun.

It’s fitting that Prodigy — a man who once released a street album appropriately called ‘Return of the Mac’ has the best ‘Columbo’ reference on the title track of ‘HNIC’ but in hastily concocting this list I had to omit the presumed references to New York’s Columbo crime family, of which the Mobb were occasionally prone. LIFE’s images of Falk, Cassavetes and Gazzara at the latter’s 1982 third wedding (to Elke Krivat) are excellent, while Falk’s solo appearance on a 1975 ‘Rolling Stone’ has a certain slovenly elegance that’s pleasantly at odds with Bryan Ferry’s advertised dandyism. Fuck an iron.

(Note the sheer volume of ‘Jumbo’ and ‘Gumbo’ rhymes)

“Met this girl at the party and she started to flirt/I told her some rhymes and she pulled up her skirt/Spent some bank — I got a high powered jumbo/Rolled up a wooly and I watched Columbo…”
Beastie Boys ‘The New Style’ 1986

“I roll into the party as if I was Five-O/Book investigation biters like Columbo/Pushing rap for some info in exchange for a jumbo/And when I find a sucker it’s time to play Rambo…”
EPMD ‘Get Off the Bandwagon’1988

“If you’re on a drug tip, don’t be a Dumbo/Police investigate like Columbo if they think you’re sellin’ jumbo…”
Kool G Rap ‘Rikers Island’ 1990

“Stupid ass nigga, sewed your ass the raw/Cause the bitch in the ride ain’t nothin’ but the Law/Attached with the wire, Columbo for hire/So now the Law was on their way/Stupid ass nigga had the burp in his tray…”
Above the Law ‘One Time Two Many’ 1994

“Y’all niggas soup, I’m gumbo, ready to rumble, ready to tumble/Yo’ girlfriend outta line, I’ma catch her like Columbo/Tongue twistin’ like an Uzi, y’all niggas can’t do me…”
Silkk the Shocker ‘How We Mobb’1996

“I scope like Columbo/Pose like Mutombo/And blaze MC’s with rumblo…”
Show & A.G. ‘Put it in Your System’ 1998

“I drive up and down Harlem blocks, iced out watch, knots in my socks, cops think I’m selling rocks/Pulling me over to see if I’m drunk but I’m sober/They wouldn’t fuck with me if I drove a Nova. Listen Columbo, you’re mad because your money come slow…”
Big L ‘Da Enemy’ 1999

“Too hot to hold, too hard to handle when I unload?Still knockin’ jumbo watchin’ for Columbo/Rock it to the top of the pot like gumbo…”
Rame Royal ‘Stick Wit Her’ w/ B-Legit, Niki Scarfo and Richie Rich 1999

“Dunn, I catch you while you shoppin’ for kicks/Surprise bitch/Shoot outs is spontaneous and oh, from now on call me Columbo/’Cause I come through wrinkled up, think I give a fuck?”
Prodigy ‘H.N.I.C.’ 2000

“Slang rocks and snort coke, we cook keys like gumbo drops/We chop O-Z’s to jumbo rocks, pay off Columbo cops…”
Yukmouth ‘Spitz Network’ w/ Brotha Lynch Hung 2001

Lately I’ve been working on some copy writing and despite attempting an avowedly anti-1993 stance here, a recent research mission (more to follow later) unearthed one of my favourite ad campaigns for a record – the brave Blood of Abraham LP on Ruthless with the ‘JESUS WAS A BLACK JEW’ line. It caught many a Source reader’s attention, but alas, that didn’t translate to sales. I never was a Crazy Town (a group that Brett “Epic” Mazur was a member of) fan, but Mazik’s role in starting Conveyor at Fred Segal is well worthy of note — as is the subsequent music video direction. Few groups would have the balls to run this ad and it’s a confrontational classic.

I’m still bugged out to see my writing anywhere, but to spot it on the point-of-sale for the Free Run+ 2 City Series, the 1948 iPads installed in the new Nike Sportswear east London store and on the wall of the mezzanine section upstairs was strange. Not as strange as seeing your work reflected in a pool of water, but strange nonetheless.

INFAMOUS

“Bout to do a photoshoot for supreme…that skater brand.. Freeedom is great!” (Prodigy via Twitter a month ago)

I need to confess an act of hypocrisy. After mocking the notion of e-books as “robo books” I had to buy one on iBooks. Waiting two weeks for Prodigy’s ‘My Infamous Life’ in the UK was a step too far and my hearty appetitive for rap trivia meant I had to catch this one early and it doesn’t disappoint. Prodigy’s on his usual form when it comes to talking shit, and in a realm where even constructive criticism constitutes “shots,” his appetite is doubly refreshing. Having been a Mobb fan since the first album, back when they were referenced alongside Da Youngstas and god forbid, Another Bad Creation, its been interesting to watch P and Hav evolve as an act. Prodigy’s a complex character and he’s got stories for days. If you relished his ALL CAPS listings of what he invented and who’s wack a few years back, you haven’t seen anything yet. Rap autobiographies are usually patchy, written in a self-conscious style, pulling punches and overblown in their execution.

This one might not be pretty like Jay’s ‘Decoded’ but it’s vastly superior simply because while Jigga stays media savvy, and calculated, P’s hot-headed ways mean nothing’s unguarded. Sure, there might be some “Never get the truth get in the way of a good yarn” Chopper Reid type theory at work (see the debate over his Capone and Noreaga tales, but we learn plenty about the man — his mother was in the female vocal group, the Crystals, his friends Nitty and Killer were the kind of guys you wouldn’t want a run in with, he had ways of getting guns and razors into the Tunnel (Prodigy was a big fan of knives and guns), Mobb were actually affiliated with 2Pac’s crew, he’s no fan of Keith Murray or Saigon (he calls Def Squad “Deaf Squid” but there’s not Tru Life talk), he got the dragon hand ink when he was very young and his relationship with Nas is particularly complex. He’s seen UFOs too. There’s few who could top this one in terms of content. Between this and Dan Charnas’s ‘The Big Payback’ the bar for rap-lit has been raised significantly.

Havoc is depicted as an exasperated creative partner, frequently infuriated by his friend’s aptitude for personal chaos, and rumours of crack and the scale of the Bars N Hooks beef are confirmed. So you trivia-junkies and hip-hop gossips know you need it, but lest you think it’s merely one for the rap weirdoes, there’s a strong narrative of severe illness, incredibly bad behaviour, revenge, karma and a redemption of sorts (on P’s own terms) underpinning it all. Rappers can be one-dimensional and few could put out something this deep — though I’d like to see a Scarface autobiography — and it’s smartly timed to remind us why this relatively young veteran of the industry remains relevant. Let’s face it — you need any book contains the line, “(we) chilled in Wu’s hood, smoking angel dust blunts with Rae and Ghost and two white kids in a silver Benz.” Thank the stars for beaming down this intense kingpin of Beemer-driving bleakness and that big mouth of his.

You know it’s time for multiple asides though, right?

Despite their breakout from that brief spate of young ‘un rappers talking that proto-thug talk, the recently sample decoded ‘Shook Ones (Part II)’ changed everything for me with regards to the Mobb and rap sonics in general. I recall hunting for the mysterious promo double vinyl ‘Nudder Brudders E.P.’ (what was up with the Alkaholiks ‘Daaam’ fragrance too?) from Loud in late 1994 for the aforementioned track and its prequel, obtaining it and marvelling at the Helly Hansen jacket themed artwork. Mr. Steve Rifkind did some work with Helly Hansen that popularised the brand with his pioneering street level marketing approach, and like Tommy Boy’s Carhartt commissions , I’ve never been able to track down one of the promo Helly Hansen jackets made specially for the Loud team (these pictures are from an eBay auction I missed out on). I’ve never seen the jacket depicted on the ‘Nudder Brudders’ sleeve beyond that record but I’m sure it exists too.

Reading the book also reminded me of how much I liked Live Squad back in the day — Live Squad affiliate and Queens rapper E Moneybags (gunned down in 2001) recorded a fine recorded a fine record called ‘Regulate’ with a guest spot from Prodigy in 1999 as a bonus track on the ‘In E Moneybags We Trust’ album. Like MobStyle, there’s a realer than real feel to Live Squad (Stretch was slain in 1995) and their finest moment is the ‘Game of Survival’ fifteen-minute mini-movie. Pre empting Master P’s grimy ‘I’m Bout It’ by five years, this ultraviolent trio of music videos with a basic rise and fall of a killer theme is a favourite of mine.

It’s low budget, but it’s well made, laden with bloodshed and bullets to the head — the ‘Murda Muzik’ DVD couldn’t compete with this VHS rarity that got a DVD release a few years back before descending into obscurity. To this day, I’ve never seen such a violent hip-hop video and there hasn’t been a better visual depiction of gangster rap’s brutal excesses circa 1993 (when this was released) either. Signed to Tommy Boy in 1992 when ‘Murderahh’ and ‘Heartless’ were released as one single (both the videos make up the bulk of ‘Game of Survival’) and the title track was released as a promo in 1993.

Just as the Almighty RSO’s ‘One in the Chamba’ got them dropped from Tommy Boy during the ‘Cop Killer’ fiasco, Live Squad’s brutal video (complete with a cop killing) and lyrics meant the ‘Game of Survival’ soundtrack was shelved and the group sent packing. Shouts to Majesty and K-Lowe. Most people remember this as the mind-bogglingly ignorant video where a baby is chucked to its death to the lyrics, “Well the job is done — now we can go.” “What about the baby?’ “Throw it out the window.” Best of all, the end titles list ‘Intellect’ as the man who plays ‘Baby Killer.’ That never fails to amuse me. Because I couldn’t find this significant proto-Worldstar oddity on YouTube, I just upped it in two parts. Watch it and tell me that it isn’t one of the most entertaining rap videos you’ve ever seen.





Even in early Summer 1992, Bonz Malone knew that the Mobb was coming.

While the spinning G-Unit efforts, Twista’s egg timer with diamond dust and Flocka’s Fozzie Bear are grander gestures, Prodigy’s Virgin Mary pendant (I’m weak with religion, so feel free to correct me on that) from 1994/5 press shots (as seen far above) is my favourite piece of rap jewellery. I recall seeing this piece on several artists at the time, but when ‘ twinned it with Carhartt and a Newport, he created one of hip-hop’s strongest looks. I was saddened that it never made an appearance in Miss Info’s excellent ‘Bling Bling’ but in ‘My Infamous Life’ the foundations are set back in the Poetical Prophets days as, “At the Coliseum Mall near Jamaica Avenue, I bought Havoc a big gold link with a Mary Mother of God pendant with a big ruby in it. Hav was happy.”


All this gold talk is reminding me how much I want to see ‘The Devil’s Double’ — this poster beats the plainer Sundance one I upped here earlier in the year. Nobody’s even matched this one on a mixtape cover, and it reminds me of Homer’s lottery daydream again (“Oh, I know what it is. You’re the biggest man in the world now and you’re covered in gold.”).

MARL STAYS IN CONTROL

On these pages I’ve talked too much about sweatshirts — about Champion, about the Dexys’ “Athletic Monk” phase and about how Einstein wore fleece jersey very well indeed. But I like to exorcise my preoccupations on this blog, so I’m happy to repeat myself. “Exorcise” was the intended spelling, because I’ll be damned if I ever wear cotton fleece to actually exercise. I love grey cotton jersey.

It can be worn with anything as an utterly neutral accompaniment. For me, it’s a wearable comfort blanket — I can remember growing up in bootleg ‘A-Team’ and ‘Ghostbusters’ (complete with a lurid Smarties stain) grey sweats, then becoming obsessed with the same colour in skate wear before getting myself some ludicrously oversized Carhartt hoodies in outmeal and grey that had the perfect imperfections that the marl meeting-of-faintly-differing-yarns guarantees.

Some days the repro slim fit feels right, and other days, I want some cheap boxy excess to my sweats. So I keep a stack at hand. It could be made in Japan, Indonesia, Canada, England or assembled in the Dominican Republic (from American components) — it doesn’t matter. Loopwheeled or straight from a sweatshop? Whatever. Raglan sleeves and side panels make for the very best examples of everyman apparel done to perfection.

Sometimes those excessive stitches externally can make the garment too fussy. Less is more, but I mourn for the mass of zig-zags and ribbed shoulders of my £9.99 Gap 1969 variation – missing in action since 2005 . Just as Gap seem to have missed the khaki boat of recent years, much of the year 2000’s 1969 collection was slept-on before it was reduced to little more than a tenner for each component.

Like my white t-shirt quest, each sweatshirt has a shortcoming somewhere that reveals itself during repeat wears and washes. Thus, I’ll keep adding to the pile until I reach my platonic ideal (though it’s worth noting that Our Legacy make a sweatshirt that veers toward my idea of a perfect fit after 20+ washes).
If finding a solitary sweatshirt that ticks the boxes is tough, finding the whole suit is an even tougher brief. Nothing beats the grown-up romper suit styling of the marl tracksuit (hood and zipper optional) for the last word in anti-formality. It’s you’re engaged in physical activity for a living, it’s the non-work suit . Patta’s underrated outfit with Reigning Champ last year has the best track pants I’ve worn in a long, long time. They’re heavyweight, but they’re not excessively ASBO baggy.

Despite working in an environment devoid of dress code, my plan to visit work in them fizzled out because a. They made me look like a mature sports science student who’s going to get kicked of his course and b. Because I didn’t want to associate loungewear with the workplace — that’s separate worlds colliding.

Still, the full tracksuit shouldn’t be confined to the sofa and the airport. It shouldn’t just be for the wifebeaters, shoplifters and crap degree seminar attendees. Executed correctly, it’s a work of art (Timberlands are optional). Just as the tracksuit deserves an open mind, marl doesn’t need to be grey. Pink and orange marl are strong looks. But the wings + horns Large Loop Terry Sweat Suit (a pretty late arrival, seeing as there’s only a month or two left of probable full sweatsuit weather left) as brought to my attention by Hypebeast, but available from Canada’s Haven are more proof that CYC keeps on running this sweatshirt game. It’s officially the best item of clothing I’ve seen this year.

Other good things spotted today:

The UK’s Beat Butcha producing Havoc’s pre-Prodigy release banger ‘Bang On My Bullshit’ (when P gets on Twitter, the current Sheen-mania will subside in favour of Albert’s trouble-making) is worth repeat listens. I don’t fuck with too much UK hip-hop, solely because our scene is corny as fuck, but Beat Butcha’s got beats for days and he’s had Sean Price and Tony Yayo (over the Hav beat) blessing his productions. UK stand up.

The terrifyingly prolific homie Maxime Buechi’s Flickr account is probably better than yours: www.flickr.com/photos/sangbleu

‘PORT’ finally hit shelves. Of course, it couldn’t live up to those breathless pre-release Vimeo testimonies, but it’s very good. It’s content-heavy without being oppressively dense with text, beautifully designed and well written. It still doesn’t feel fully formed — as is the case with any launch issue (and I always feel like an idiot buying anything billed as “Intelligent”), but the Commentary section is better than anything I’ve read in any other magazine lately. There’s a decent article on Nike’s Sports Research Laboratory and Innovation Kitchen, plus Margaret Howell extols the virtues to the duffle coat in here too. I hope it proves successful. There’s a decent Creative Review interview with guys behind the magazine here.