Tag Archives: vibe

1996

The internet just keeps spitting out gems. Kyle Lilly upped another chunk of NYC public access show Video Explosion’s coverage of a 1996 Vibe Magazine and Def Jam party. With DJ Finesse chatting with Mic Geronimo, Charles Oakley and the mighty DJ Red Alert (wearing this incredible Odd Squad promo t-shirt for a night out), plus (a grainy) umlaut-era Jaÿ-Z with Mary and Foxy live on stage (where did I leave my Nutty Professor cassette?), it captures a transitional point for hip-hop. Half a year later, Jay would command a very different status in the city.

LIFE CHANGING

bobbitolilkim

If you haven’t watched Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives yet, you’re slipping. It’s one of the great hip-hop documentaries, and one that seems to have satisfied even the most ardent backpack rap fundamentalists in its running time. I bet there’s still a ton of stuff that never made the final cut though. Continue reading LIFE CHANGING

HELLY-HANSEN & HIP-HOP

hellyhansenimagery

Every now and again I put together the kind of thing that would traditionally be here for somebody else. My friends at size? asked if I could throw together something on Helly-Hansen’s moment in the spotlight back in the 1990s, and its subsequent trend-level moments. It’s kind of a celebration and cautionary tale. I’ll always respect the brand for trying to take that Nautica cash and embracing its hip-hop audience to the point where they ran HH Dead Prez promos.

Got back to the mansion, to divvy up the paper/Helly-Hansen was the brain of the whole entire caper
Q-Tip ‘Drink Away the Pain’

I went from Helly-Hansen to mini mansions
Mase ‘Top of the World’

Had on the Helly-Hansen and a knot that was fat/Had the spotlight beaming on my Astro Black hat
Quasimoto, ‘Hittin’ Hooks’

I’m holding up for ransom, still rock the Helly-Hansen
Action Bronson ‘Brown Bag Wrap’

Continue reading HELLY-HANSEN & HIP-HOP

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DECADE MAKES

whitesail

I’ve got technical jackets on the mind right now, but I’ll up more on that here another day. Let’s cast our mind back to a time when the raised collar and extra visibility of a HH design was the stuff of dreams. I think the sheer nostalgia a Helly-Hansen jacket instigates makes folks forget how hardcore they were in the face of inclement weather. I imagine that they were pretty good for sailing in too, but anyone who remembers their reign in hip-hop and jungle, just after Nautica and Tommy seemed to boom, will get all emotional at memories of cigarette/spliff burns and un-fixable synthetic materials. Helly Hansen’s popularity wasn’t just down to aspirational cost and a degree of inner-city functionality — Loud-founder Steve Rifkind was paid to promote the brand and its sales boomed as a result, with the jackets defining the late 1994 to late 1996 rap video. It never fails to amuse me what difference a decade made — from the whitest ad of all time in 1984 to a former member of Brand Nubian as the frontman for a 1996 campaign (here’s another image from the Wild Cowboys and Hansen ads). After we all moved on, I don’t recall returning to Helly for more and I’ve always wondered whether the mansion and a yacht (rap nerds will clock the connection) brigade were alienated by the company’s courtship of hip-hop. I’m sure I recall it being sold in JD Sports for a minute, but I spotted it on a recent episode of The Deadliest Catch too, and I’m fairly certain that those guys weren’t wearing it because they paid close attention to Flex’s 60 Minutes of Funk.

sadatxwildcowboyshelly

CHEF

wutanggroup

Too busy to blog, so here’s some pictures of Raekwon instead. I know that’s meant for Tumblr, but I’m too old to be upping 1990s rap imagery on there. Why Rae? Because I see more and more adoption of the 1993-1999 hip-hop aesthetic across lookbooks and products means anachronisms galore plus I think this guy always edged Puba in the style stakes. Even when he’s in that Michael Douglas Basic Instinct knitwear on the beach in linen trousers for Vibe to promote that patchy second album Lex Diamond is still styling it. Motorola phones, Polo, Sertigs and shorts, fly medallions. The rest of the Wu were style masters too, but this guy always stood out. Shit, I’m hyped at the prospect of Corey Feldman as Mouth from The Goonies (no amount of tees worn by I.T. bods and dudes called Dan at design studios who get fully Movembered can kill my love of the film), Crispin Glover and Snake Plissken action figures made in a faux early 1980s Kenner style, but the appearance on Tumblr of this shot from a 1995 Rap Pages shoot (the coolest of all Rae shoots — to quote the man, “…soon to get an article in Rap Page“) that I’ve been hunting for a while has brought back some powerful memories of keeping a mental note of everything this guy wore and then trying to find something similar and wearing it badly. He wore the box before most other rappers too when he posed with his bodyguard for Kenneth Cappello in 2005 and since he rocked up at RapFix in head to toe Fila ahead of the release of this year’s Fly International Luxurious Art album (which promises to be a celebration of the gear he’s worn throughout the years), this guy still seems on it, even if the more eccentric outfits of his younger days seem to have been jettisoned for the F, the C and the man on a horse.

raekwonmotorola

raekwonrikers

raekwoninsertigs

raekwonbeach

raekwonsuit

ESSENTIALS

ESSENTIALS1999

Apologies for the lack of good updates on the site right now. We started 2014 so well then tailed off into rush-jobs. I’m currently working on a book project and some other things so I apologise for the dearth of anything substantial here (and an increase in nostalgia on what was already a pretty nostalgia-heavy slice of the internet). I would be too scared to ever submit my day-to-day goods to Hypebeast (apologies to Rav) for the scrutiny of the angriest men on Disqus. But if I put up the selection from a late 1999 issue of Vibe, they’d all fall back. Nobody should leave home without a Sega Dreamcast, Helmut Lang sunglasses, some adidas fragrance from Target, a T18z Ericsson phone and accompanying Ericsson Mobile Companion Flightposites, Sony Minidisc and some Joel Schumacher Batman & Robin looking Prada boots, all carried in a big Samsonite case. Beats a MacBook with a box sticker, token Submariner and Goro feathers, but that entry-level Vuitton bill holder was obligatory 15 years ago too.

MADE IN ITALY

akuad1

The amount of boot talk on here is pretty monotonous, to the point where I considered creating a spinoff site called Shitkickers, that was solely dedicated to them. But I never got round to it. The reason for their ubiquity here as a topic is that there’s too many great brands out there with amazing ads to ignore when we’re talking about matters of design and construction. My respect for the Italian boot industry is substantial (as the preoccupation with La Sportiva and Vasque demonstrates) and Montebelluna is the town that matters when it comes to that artform (it’s also where Nike gets certain football boots made too) to the point where it houses the Museo dello Scarpone aka. the Museum of the Boot which looks very interesting indeed. Aku is one of those brands with plenty of performance cred up to the present day, but one that actively sought an urban consumer when it launched Stateside circa 1997. It’s an interesting case study in delivering two very different messages for their Timberland-clad trend consumer and the climbing and hiking communities — presumably via a U.S. licence holder.

The blacked out ads in urban outlets like ‘Vibe’ and ‘The Source’ highlighted cost and style, while brushing on the performance side and mentioning the all-important GORE-TEX while the ads for hiking press are dense with facts and figures. Launched around 1990 by boot boffin with innovative inclinations Galliano Bordin as the successor to his workshop’s Dinsport trekking and ski boot brand that ran from the late 1970s to the mid 1980s, Aku is a classic Montebelluna brand. I never saw much more advertising this extensive after these March 1997 campaigns (maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough), but while it’s not the stuff of rap lyric references, I know a few New Yorkers who still get misty-eyed for the $220+ priced pieces of the line from 15 years ago that date back to a time when they were losing it over Italian off-roaders.

falconaku

akucomfortablebootad

Related to the above through its nationality, the appearance on the Rizzoli site of the ‘Thirty Years of Research in Style: WP Lavori in Corso’ book, with a publication date of April 16th is a reason to be happy this year. If the Massimo Osti and Stone Island tomes didn’t deliver enough documentation of Italian impact on the way we dress, here’s some more for you. As you can see above, I can look at old ads old day, and from the preview on the WP Lavori site, it looks pretty heavy on the ad archive front. With WP Lavori and its creative director Andrea Canè being a cover star on ‘Inventory’s sixth issue, that relationship seems to have expanded, meaning the book is an ‘Inventory’ co-production. I like Philip Watts and Leanne Cloudsdale’s writing, and the ‘Inventory’ aesthetic means a certain clarity and quality control that I respect. WP Lavori have been putting it down for a shedloads of classic brands since 1982, acquiring, licensing and crucially, treating the companies in question with a certain respect that guarantees longevity, long before there were blogs or carefully rehearsed artful layering for Pitti Uomo tradeshow camera coverage on said blogs. This book is likely to be good.

wplavoribook1

wplavoribook3

wplavoribook2

Can we tenuously link this to the above via Tom Penny’s Columbia boots? No? Okay then. Ged Wells’ Insane brand has been mentioned here before but the history page on the relaunched brand’s website is worth reading to learn how the brand grew, from Andy Holmes giving Wells’ work a name, Hiroshi Fujiwara introducing it to Japan, Jesus Jones’ role in boosting the brand’s popularity, Sophia Prantera’s work that evolved it significantly and ’30 Days of Night’, ‘The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’ and ‘Breaking Bad’ director David Slade being the director of the Insane skate video back in the day. Basically, it’s all the stuff I managed to not mention when I blogged about Insane a few years back, but it reinforces the significance of Ged’s creations and reminds me of the days when Curtis McCann was that dude.

insaneimages