Category Archives: Arts

Kanye West Cries Front Row At Virgil Abloh’s First Louis Vuitton Show

This most recent Louis Vuitton fashion show at Men’s Paris Fashion Week was a monumental one in terms of the hype building up around the show regarding Virgil Abloh, creator of Off-White, and his first collection as the head artistic director of Louis Vuitton. This was a monumental moment in fashion itself as Virgil is the first African American artistic director of the famous Paris fashion house and one of the few to be a leading influence at the level he is at. What Virgil has been able to accomplish in what seems like just a couple years time from his beginnings with his brand Pyrex Vision to Off-White to his collection with Nike it seems that Virgil has almost reached the pinnacle. To Virgil Abloh though I believe he cares more about just spreading the culture that he was brought up into this industry in.

Virgil Abloh and Kanye West have known each other and have been close creative partners since the early 2000s. Virgil has worked on a lot of different projects with Kanye before ultimately breaking off to step out of Kanye’s shadow, not necessarily creatively but Virgil wanted to make a name for himself. Virgil did this by creating his brand Pyrex Vision back in 2012 which was his first venture into the world of high fashion. Pyrex Vision consisted mostly of screen printing onto Champion blanks and old Ralph Lauren flannels, not exactly revolutionary, but Virgil was able to charge upwards of 500 dollars for the pieces and they would sell. Virgil eventually folded the brand and started Off-White with a crew of Italian streetwear aficionados. Off-White would pick up right where Pyrex Vision left off charging astronomical prices for mostly screen printed streetwear. But Off-White would grow into a Nike collaboration and establish it as one of the most sought-after brands in streetwear today. This would ultimately be Virgil’s foot in the door when it came to breaking into the world of high fashion houses like Louis Vuitton.

Now during Men’s Paris Fashion Week everyone patiently waiting to see what Virgil would do with his introductory show as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton. Virgil showcased to the world and to everyone in attendance a beautiful gradient painted pavement runway outdoors in a garden in Paris. Virgil really delivered when it came to the overall presentation of the environment around the garments. But the garments and accessories were nothing like Louis Vuitton has ever had before from transparent gradient rainbow luggage to ceramic white chains draped over the models and as straps for the luggage. After having various streetwear icons and celebrities from the likes of Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Blondey McCoy and A$AP Nast you can really tell that this show was all about the culture that Virgil Abloh came from. That is why Kanye, seated front row, when Virgil walked out at the end got so emotional. Kanye was able to see one of his very close friends and collaborators not only ascend to the pinnacle of fashion for African Americans today but was able to be a part of it with his new album being played during the show. Kanye has been skeptical of Virgil leaving his side and branching out in becoming one of today’s fashion moguls but he’s finally been able to come to terms with it in this most recent embrace at the end of Virgil’s very first show as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton.

Kanye Allegedly Ripping Off Another Artist for Yeezy Supermoon Ads

Instagram account Diet Prada is an account that specializes in pointing out the not so coincidental copying that goes on in the world of fashion today. As we all know there is no problem with drawing inspiration from someone whether it be their design, runway setup, or just the overall theme of a collection. But there is a very clear difference between pulling inspiration from something or someone and blatantly stealing an idea and crediting it as your own. Diet Prada since their first post in 2014 calling out Raf Simons for using designs very similar to Prada, hence the name, has been diligent to point out those who do not give credit where it is due.

In Diet Prada’s most recent claim they are accusing Kanye West of taking the ideas of photographer Minissi and a series of photographs she took in 2015 that explored identity and the wanted of oneself to reconnect with their own body, a very deep subject. I believe what Diet Prada feels what Mr. West is most guilty of is the fact that he drew inspiration from this very deep emotional photo shoot and turned it into a not safe for work sneaker advertisement. Myself, similarly to Diet Prada see it as a little distasteful considering the subject matter of the original photographs.

This would not be the first time though that Diet Prada has made claims against not just Kanye West but the West family in general. In July of 2017 Diet Prada accused Kim Kardashian West of very blatantly using the designs of Comme Des Garcon designer Rei Kawakubo and Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia for children’s pieces for Kim’s brand The Kids Supply. Kim said that the pieces were being made as an homage to the designers and that the pieces would be named after them, clearing the air about the whole copycatting fiasco. But Diet Prada was not done there also accusing Kim of ripping off the makeup done on Beyonce for a Flaunt magazine cover for Kim’s makeup collection, which Kim did not address. The last claim Diet Prada made against the West’s though was when Kanye in May tweeted sketches that appeared to be taken directly from ex-Nike designer Tony Spackman just with his name for the sketches photoshopped off the top of the sketch. This was another accusation that Kanye would not address.

With these most recent accusations made by Diet Prada against Kanye West, many are left unsurprised by his actions. Many without real ears to the ground in this industry and this culture believe that Kanye West is a very original one of a kind thinker when it comes to his ideas. What many don’t know is that Kanye West just like all of us draws inspiration from the things he hears and sees around him in his day to day life. The only problem with what he’s doing right now is by not giving credit to this original photographer, if that is where he drew the inspiration from, he is disrespecting the whole entire series of photographs she did and the message behind them. The fact that he recreated them as a way for him to sell sneakers too just adds salt to the wound.

RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan on the Return of Wu-Wear

When it comes to the world of fashion music is one of the biggest influences when it comes not just to people’s personal style but for the direction, fashion is moving in. One of the largest impacts that music has had on fashion was the rise of hip-hop. You can go all the way back to rappers like Slick Rick and Big Daddy popularizing over the top gold chains that were literally things only your favorite rappers could wear to groups like the Wu-Tang Clan popularizing Clarks Wallabees and Ralph Lauren’s Polo Snow Beach collection. Groups like the Wu-Tang Clan didn’t start dressing like this because of their new found money from rising through the ranks of the music industry they dressed like that because it was how they always dressed. There is something different in terms of the connection between the musician and his audience when the person listening is able to reflect how they connect with the culture. They are able to portray this in what they wear and when it is easily attainable for the listener that bond grows even stronger.

There were band tees dating back to the late 60s and early 70s that allowed a fan of a certain musical group or act to show their friends that they attending a show or went to a certain stop on the tour, but nothing that just showed that they were down with the group and the movement they were starting. Wu-Wear, the clothing line started by RZA and many other members of the Wu-Tang Clan, revolutionized this idea and perfected it in a way that would inspire many other rappers and groups to follow suit. Wu-Wear was started in 1995 after the success of the Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The clothing line was carried at stores all over the country and was a huge source of income for the entire Wu-Tang Clan, even allowing them to open their own separate retail locations in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Norfolk. Wu-Wear allowed the fans of the Wu-Tang Clan and just those that followed street fashion and street culture to get down with the Wu-Tang Clan’s movement and show their support for the group out of Staten Island. Although Wu-Wear folded in 2008 it has left a huge impact on the culture surrounding hip-hop designed and inspired clothing lines.

Today with the resurgence of 90’s hip-hop culture into the mainstream it’s only right for the return of Wu-Wear but marketed in a way that nobody would’ve expected, it’s being promoted through an event at Barney’s. The fact that Wu-Wear is coming back in a fresh new way at Barney’s, with updated designs and the focus of not just promoting the group but being on trend while still being able to respect its origins is incredible. This just goes to show you that the rich culture associated with hip-hop and rap music has ascended more than just music. Hip-hop today is regarded as one of if not the most popular genre of music today and it shows with everything around us. Barney’s which is a luxury department store that no one, not even RZA, would’ve imagined his Wu-Wear line rolling out a ten-piece collection exclusively for them is just another mark of how hip-hop music and fashion today really go hand in hand. This gives many older hip-hop heads a chance to reminisce on the early days of the Wu-Tang Clan and can cop and rock a piece of the new Wu-Wear while still allowing the younger generation to get introduced to the Wu-Tang Clan in a whole new way.

Interview: In-Depth Discussion with mUsa: HIP HOP, RADICALISM, PROPAGANDA & MORE

We have something special for you all today! We have an in-depth interview between two future pillars of the hip-hop industry, on the verge of making a difference in the world, and they have quite a bit in common, to say the least!

This interview was conducted by, George Fakes, who goes by the stage name Jirias. Jirias is a Palestinian-American rapper & writer based out of New Jersey who weaves in references of his Palestinian heritage into his music. Jirias is also a long-time blogger who is well connected with various multimedia platforms and independent blogs.

mUsa is a Pakistani-American artist, also based out of New Jersey, who brings musical innovation and political engagement to the table. As a first-generation immigrant, mUsa brings a unique perspective in today’s casually racist world. Incorporating revolutionary thought into his music as well as his writings, mUsa brings an entirely unique perspective to today’s world.

Below you will find several selections of transcripts from the original audio interview. You can find a link to mUsa’s work at the bottom of this piece.

Jirias: I’ve seen some of your articles, tell us a little about that. You do political stuff in music, but you manage to keep it separate as well in your writing, can you go into that?

mUsa: I started a website entitled 7th international. I created the platform to proliferate revolutionary thought and action by covering selected political & historical topics. This platform is the farthest thing from CNN or FOX. I also keep this platform separate from my music. I’m not really trying to put myself and my name out there through the website.

Jirias: What type of sources do you look for in arguments? What do you look for?

mUsa: I read a lot of books, meaning a lot of first hand & second-hand sources. Theoretical, historical and political works; never fiction. I like reading my news from the global south, as they are viciously slandered by western imperialists. I can see the inherent bias in most western news sources, which I still keep up to date with despite the obvious lack of accuracy. I don’t like Al Jazeera  because it is run by the Qatari government, who supports US imperialism in Syria. How could I read about Syrian news from an outlet that seeks to imperialize said country?

Jirias: Does this type of knowledge, when you have a factually based opinion on a country, does it distort all the news you hear from that source?

mUsa: You are just falling for propaganda by adhering to western imperialist sources. The public should know that almost all news sources in America are owned by the same company and most are owned by the same man; Rupert Murdoch. Fight against propaganda.

Jirias: We have previously been talking about Radical Islam, how it affects society and how people who live as Muslim Americans. What are your thoughts?

mUsa: Radical islam isn’t a real thing, it is a made up term by the west. If you want to talk about Islam you need to take a look at the history. There was no such thing as islamic extremism, in the modern sense, until the last 200 years.  That was a manifestation of imperialism and specifically western-backed ideology of wahhabism. If you go 1000 years back the moors in Africa, you will find a muslim woman actually created the first university known to the world. People in universities now use that platform to slander Muslims without even knowing the first universities were started by Muslims. It is a direct manifestation of western imperialism. All that knowledge has been taken away from us, they don’t want people to know that history because their system is built upon ignorance.

Jiras: There are generations of people and cultures that people ignore. People don’t realize we live in the tiniest percentage of human history.

mUsa: History repeats itself, you can’t visualize a cycle without a complete understanding of history. You can’t move forward without breaking the cycle.

Jirias: What do you think about the idea of history repeating itself?

mUsa: I believe it. As someone who studies history, patterns can be identified and accurately analyzed. You can’t really deny it.

Jirias: Do you think there is room for forgiveness?

mUsa: No. When it comes to Trump, Obama, etc. I don’t think there is room for anything but the complete destruction of those ideas and the people behind them. Those who have destroyed & raped the global south will have to atone for their complicity in genocide, imperialism and colonization. If people realize their errors and fight for revolution only then can they be forgiven through action. Going forward we must eradicate liberalism because it is not conducive to progress. The ideology of Gandhi is actually the exact opposite of revolutionary, there is no room in my heart for forgiveness for those who are responsible for sustaining hundreds of millions of deaths.

Jirias: It’s not really beneficial to always forgive people, like Kanye tweeted picture of the surgeon who essentially killed his mom, like you don’t need to love that guy.

mUsa: I don’t hate anyone. Love comes in different forms, that’s what many don’t realize. Revolutionary violence is actually an act of love, it is a manifestation of love for their people. Love isn’t just what you think it is, they want love to be a conformist idea that doesn’t threaten the system. For them, Love is only something that doesn’t threaten their existence. In reality, Love is the greatest revolutionary force this world has ever seen. A true revolutionary acts upon Love and Love only.

Jirias: Touching on the topic of radicalism again, what distinguishes a radical Islamist thinker from a violent westernized idea of an Islamist terrorist?

mUsa: I would consider myself a Radical Muslim thinker. What I mean by radical is that I want to change society in a revolutionary way, not by working within an oppressive system. We need radical change, we need to make change right now. We can’t wait hundreds of years before we start to give rights to the poor, the minorities and women. We can’t wait hundreds of years before we start to ease our impact on the environment; we literally don’t have that much time before the earth will be unsustainable for the global population. Everything is falling apart, we can’t just wait for things to happen. Radicals believe in destroying and freeing people from oppression while liberals believe in letting everything happen because they are too comfortable benefitting from an oppressive system.

Jirias: Where do you see your music and political aspirations coming together?

mUsa: I believe a political revolution can’t happen without a cultural revolution. The people need to be behind any revolution otherwise it will just be more of the same elitism. I personally believe that, due to systematic infiltration, Hip Hop has become another corporate tool of oppression. I’m not trying to sound like an old head. My music is never boom bap or reliant upon older hip hop aesthetics. All my music is forward thinking; both sonically and thematically. We need to change culture before the system. That is what I am currently doing with my music, my art and my writings. I’m not the only one, there will be others as well. But personally that’s what I’m striving for.

Jirias: You seem to be big on freestyling. You bring a different energy to the mic, do you wanna talk about that? In terms of the rappers I’ve worked with, there is a difference in your energy.

mUsa: Personally what drives me is expression, I couldn’t express myself growing up because I was a first generation immigrant. I felt the need to be heard, even if it’s just some on some light shit. I Express my emotions as raw as possible, without censoring cause fuck it. What I say is my expression. I paint too, I’m not very particular, my main form of expression is just raw. Going with the flow. Wherever the energy takes me I go.

Jirias: A lot of people are looking at places like Fox News, but they have no sources to look up. What do you think of sources?

mUsa: Too many people don’t use sources and people just eat it up just because it’s CNN. People think they have an illusion of free choice with all the different news channels. No, they are just different shades of bullshit. That’s what I call them, different shades of bullshit. It’s propaganda. Most of these news channels don’t even have proper sources and regularly are found to be 100% inaccurate.

Jirias: Alright thank you, any other topics you want to talk about?

mUsa: I’m about to drop hella music. I got this song I just dropped called “Please Shut The Fuck Up.” It’s fire. I talk about Syria, I already knew shit was happening before Trump so the timing of the release is extremely important as the bombings happened after I recorded the song. But you can still bump that shit in the whip with the windows down this summer. You aren’t gonna bump it like “oh shit, this is political shit.” A lot of people who don’t agree with my views will still bump my music and might not even recognize I have political messages, which is why I made the site.

 

You can follow Musa at:

https://www.instagram.com/king_mansa_musa/

Twitter

Spotify

https://www.youtube.com/user/MystMusa

 

You can follow Jirias at:

https://www.instagram.com/george.fakes/

https://www.youtube.com/user/MrGeoFake

Future Hip Hop Star Jirias Releases New Single, “Box Me In”

With every year that passes it seems there are multitudes upon multitudes of new artists popping up, doing their best to receive recognition for their skills and ideas, so much so that it often becomes extremely difficult to find artists hidden in the rough, there is just too much white noise obscuring us from finding true talent. That is where we come in, we dive into the sea of new artists to emerge with the fresh catch of the day, and today that is Jirias with his latest released song, Box Me In.

Jirias is a unique example of modern day hip-hop; eschewing the “club banger” beats and overplayed samples in favor of creating a sound profile that features both classic motifs interposed with modern sensibilities. Hailing from New Jersey and wearing his inspirations on his sleeve, Jirias is an artist to keep an eye on.

Box Me In’s four-minute and sixteen-second runtime tells you right off the bat that Jirias isn’t going for some bubble gum two-minute long club affair. Featuring an upbeat instrumental backing that inspires the vision of driving a fast car at night through an empty city. In fact, Jirias’ use of imagery continues to his lyrics as well, with many scenes playing out through his use of wordplay and storytelling.

Confidence is another major aspect we here like about Box Me In. Jirias has an almost palpable swagger on display; he just positively exudes star qualities in his flows and deliveries, he makes you believe every word he says, it doesn’t simply feel like he is reading off a sheet of paper or trying to emulate another artist, he is simply Jirias being Jirias, and it is a breath of fresh air in a stagnate industry desperately in need of something new.

Jirias is a favorite among us here, and we forsee big, big things for his future. To hear more from Jirias, check out his Soundcloud for his latest releases, and the Spotify link below to listen to his latest album relase, Castle:

Music Spotlight Highlight: Chris Stylez, R&B Sensation

How do you describe the future of R&B music, and music in general, in just two words? That is easy: Chris Stylez. A native of Ottawa, but based out of New York City, Chris Stylez is a name you will soon become very familiar with, if you haven’t already, that is.

Rocketing up the ranks as a rare triple threat talent – a singer/songwriter/producer – Chris Stylez made his break by becoming a Vine superstar, collecting over 50 million loops of his songs through the popular service. He has quickly found himself touring around the world based on the fruits of his hard work and dedication.

But Chris Stylez hasn’t let his success affect him, he manages to stay humble in the face of mainstream popularity:

“I’m thankful everyday to be able to do this [music] full-time, I have friends who have struggled to maintain through the high’s and low’s of this music business, so for that, I stay humble and appreciative day after day, that I’m still here.”

Chris Stylez

When asked about how he approaches songwriting and music videos in regards to his song, “Who Is” (linked below), Chris Styles had the following to say:

“To appreciate this record is to open yourself up to uncomfortable conversation, I wanted to keep the minimalistic approach of the music consistent in the visuals. This is about more than the physical aspect of sex; it’s about the complex emotions involved.”

For those interested in hearing more from Chris Stylez, his EP can be found here, and you can connect with him through Facebook and Twitter.

Get Blue with Raf Simons and Sterling Ruby

It is not rare to witness a collaboration between an artist and a designer. But it can be, when they produce a complete collection with consistent style and extreme attention to detail.

Back in January, Belgian fashion designer, Raf Simons, collaborated with L.A. based contemporary artist Sterling Ruby on his F/W 2014 collection. Each piece in the collection brings together the two creative minds, leading to the design of a shirt partway between a spoilt, blue-collar worker’s shirt and a subtle tie-dye. The collection also features pants duplicate to the shirt. So for fall don’t shy away from exaggerated prints and keep it fun. For a subtler look, you can mix the pieces with solid colors.

Simons himself called the collection “our collection”, implying that the clothes were a truly joint vision, not dismissing anyone’s’ role. This is not the first time Simons has collaborated with artists back in 2003 his F/W 03 collection featured various garments printed with classic Peter Saville designed album covers.

 

The Empire State will light up silver for 50 Anniversary of Warhol’s Empire on 7/25

“I never liked the idea of picking out certain scenes and pieces of time and putting them together, because… it’s not like life… What I liked was chunks of time all together, every real moment.”

The late American Artist, Warhol stated this after producing the most unique film of the 20th century. He was known for his ambiguous productions of art. He stuck by his own visions and perception of beauty and gave his viewers a journey through his eyes. His love for the Empire State building was so grand; he created an eight hour filmed dedicated to the building.

via moma.com
via moma.com

All throughout July you can catch a Viewing of the film Empire in the Empire State building. Also details of the artist and his creations will be accompanying this tribute to Warhol and the building.

On July 25th, the building will be will filled with thousands of white lights dedicating the honor of the film’s anniversary in 1964.

Be sure to hashtag #WarholEmpire while tweeting your pictures!

 

Photo via Linghao

Tupac Inspired Broadway Musical “Holler If Ya Hear Me” Closed!

The hip hop infused broadway musical “Holler If Ya hear Me,” delivered not only a love story but realistic emotions of the streets to Broadway.

Although, some were very critical of the use of Tupac’s music and lyrics, others seemed to embrace the show and Tupac’s more poetic side. Sad to say, the production’s last show was July 20th. So if you didn’t get a chance to see if, you probably missed out on a gem.

tupac_holler_fashionmr_002(via hollywoodreporter)

On opening night, Broadway.com interviewed the cast, director and couple celebs after the performance. One of the interviewees was in fact Tupac’s brother, Mopreme Shakur. He briefly shed some light that he and the late rapper were well involved in the arts at a young age.

Rolling Stone writer, Jason Newman, grasped some insight from cast member, Saul Williams, on why the production didn’t last long.

Williams said, “One of our producers came in really angry because he had spoken to one of the TKTS people [who man Broadway ticket-selling booths] — not saying she was a producer — and asked them, “What about Holler? Should I see that?” And the response of the person who is supposed to guide tourists to plays stated that ‘It’s a bit of a downer. It’s not necessarily as fun as’ whatever other play they mentioned.”

Click Here for the full article.

Furthermore, he led into a comment that Harry Belafonte told him after the show, expressing that “you took an afrocentric-themed play and placed it on a eurocentric stage. The problems you’ll face are larger than you think.”

Is the reason for the production closing early deeper than just financial issues?

tupac_holler_fashionmr_003(via essence)

Overall, cast members emphasized on the shows huge success inside the theatre. With standing ovations after every performance; a crowd sing-a-long to “California Love” had the atmosphere grooving. The talented cast seemed to have had enjoyed the experience while it lasted.

More importantly, to even have Tupac’s work be brought so far from a lyrical aspect to an actual live show is something worth noting down as another accomplishment of Hip-Hop.

 

Watched it? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Edited By Zain.