THE BIG BUBBLE ERA
Watching this 2005-era Fall documentary in between morsels from Gucci Mane’s new mixtape trilogy, it’s clear that Gucci may well be rap’s own Mark E. Smith — the occasionally unintelligible delivery, the stream of consciousness that makes up the frequent filler on these tapes, the unpredictable live shows, the admirable work rate, the volatile relationship with other musicians, the molly usage, the drinking and the seeming lack of interest in his own appearance is all intrinsic to his appeal. Fortunately, we’ve been spared Paul Morley talking about Radric Davis’, “…postmodern, shamanistic soundclash of knowing ignorance, naivety and genuine artistry.” I’d sooner hear a full mixtape of Gucci and Mark than a single song with Marilyn Manson. However, while Gucci has expressed disappointment at not bagging Keyshia Cole, Mark’s way with the ladies was superior and he aced his Atlanta-based like mind by marrying Brix Smith.
It’s Carnival Bank Holiday, so the west London image from 1999 above is always relevant. Liz Johnson-Artur took the picture (which features in the Seen: Black Style UK project from 2001, where the image is done full justice, rather than the clumsy crop above. This was the golden era of big bubble Air Max, but what’s with the Air Max 98 upper with the 95 sole? Was that a bootleg or the small size takedown? I know somebody will be ale to answer that. Liz Johnson-Artur’s site includes more of her excellent work, including her Fader assignments on the Sapeurs and the Paris suburbs.
My friends at Victory Journal let me write a piece on underwater photographer Kanoa Zimmerman and his studies of free diving spear fishermen in Hawaii. It was a nice change from writing the same thing about jackets or sport footwear and an honor because I love this magazine and the way it treats sport. Their layouts are always carefully selected things of beauty. Victory‘s sister brand No Mas has some strong new products too — the sport book cover collection is solid (I’d like to see a Fat City shirt though), but the PRIDE license is bringing the best of both brands with the PRIDE 10 poster t-shirt. Pride’s advertising was always strong, but the summer 2000 event poster, with Gracie nemesis Kazushi Sakuraba being overpowered by a PRIDE ring girl. It’s a piece of design that could sit alongside the best bout promos across disciplines from decades prior.