Tag Archives: eazy e

BRAINS


Once again, i haven’t got much to talk about on here today (freelance duties are taking over), so I’ll completely cop-out and throw up another The Face magazine scan from 1999. It puts my mind at rest that I’ve at least blogged something.

If it’s a tenuous link you’re craving to at least mildly relate this to a current project, a Kickstarter drive to raise enough dollars to fund a documentary about HR from Bad Brains and his eccentric ways. ‘HR “Finding Joseph I” could be good if it at least gets to the bottom of the greatest band frontman of all time’s (in his day) psyche. Is he schizophrenic, an eccentric or are the crack rumours true? I know he spent some time living in a legendary streetwear brand’s warehouse, but the tales of his time out between lineups and shows are patchy and I’m hunting for answers. This trailer has done the blog rounds in the last 48 hours, so I feel it’s my duty to link to something good as an addition to this — the entire festival cut of the documentary Bad Brains: A Band in DC is on Vimeo right here and it’s excellent. There’s an animated sequence depicting their tour bus being jacked in the early days, conversations with key characters from their past, some ultra candid footage of Daryl switching on HR after a duff performance in 2006, talk of that infamous Big Boys incident, those troubled Maverick days, but amid the chaos there’s a celebration of a unique group that inspired a generation to pick up guitars and make noise, plus a great observation regarding Bernard Purdie and Earl Hudson’s unflappable delivery of rhythm. If you haven’t watched it yet then you really owe it to yourself to take 104 minutes out of your fake busy schedule to educate yourself, because A Band in DC was well worth the wait. While it’s comprehensive, at its conclusion, the HR enigma will play on your mind and that’s where Small Axe Films’ mooted creation fits in perfectly as a follow-up.

In this MTV 120 Minutes interview (minus HR), Daryl Jenifer appears to be wearing the Air Jordan IV to reiterate the Jordan line’s connection to hardcore. That shoe features heavily in the this feature from The Face. The Jordan Years was co-written by Fraser Cooke and, while a sub-editor seems to have made some questionable decisions in the bylines and that quintessentially British decision to omit some of the stranger Jordans pre and post 1995 is there (it’s also curious that the Jordan V and VI never got a picture) there’s some good facts in there too, plus some much-deserved love for the overlooked Jordan XI Low IE (International Exclusive) and talk of its “inspiration” on the Prada shoe of the time as well as some talk with Tinker Hatfield. At the time, this kind of thing was more commonly seen in Japanese publications, so picking it up in WH Smiths was a major novelty.

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On the apparel front, the white hoody from the new Ralph Lauren Wimbledon Collection that’s adorned with an old English font (in an appropriate shade of green) wouldn’t look amiss in an Eazy-E video over a Rhythum D production (alongside goons sporting the Karl Kani check shirt with the chest plate) if he was repping SW19 rather than Compton.

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SUNGLASSES

I have a big head. Not in terms of arrogance, but in the literal sense. As a result, buying sunglasses is a pain. Most pairs make me look like a third-rate coke dealer, sex offender or—with my deathly pallor—a vampire. I aspire to be one of those folk who can throw on a pair of standards, like the Wayfarer or Frogskin, but it doesn’t work. My sleep patterns and caffeine habit should, by rights, make sunglasses a necessity, but the width and height of the damned things makes me utterly self-conscious, and if you aren’t comfortable in shades, it shows. At least I’m aware of this.

I’ve got a few Ray Bans that are immediately rendered uncool on my face, and a pair of Stussy Michaels (which I always assumed were themed on Michael Caine’s Oliver Goldsmith favourites) that felt right once but don’t any more. I would wear cheap locs like Eazy-E and accept defeat but save on expenditure. Except they make me look even dumber. When the quest for appropriate sunglasses leaves you so adverse to readily-available models you’d rather squint your way around a seafront, something’s gone very very wrong.

But at least I’m aware of my sunglass-unfriendly face. Many aren’t. The second rise of the Frogskin—particularly in bolder colours—truly highlighted buffoons in box logo hats on skinny bikes as ones to avoid. It’s a classic design, and the Eric Koston variations are particularly strong, but it isn’t to all heads. Some need to fall back. Then there’s those who should be held up as the masters of darked-out glass. John Ford remains an unheralded style general. For ‘The Searchers’, ‘Stagecoach’ and ‘Fort Apache’, his legend is cemented, but he heads up this legends of sunglasses cavalry with his pipe and rounded frames.

Dignity, authority and power is reflected in those lenses, and they were noted by another legend-Akira Kurosawa, who idolised Ford. It’s refreshing that an oft-imitated genius (yeah, I said it—prove me wrong on that burst of bombast. I triple-dare you), like Akira felt inclined to imitate himself, by aping the old-West master’s dark-glassed appearance, but adding a flat cap (though Ford was no stranger to headwear himself), creating his own iconic look in the process. Then again, the Wild West genre would pilfer from Kurosawa when it came to the lucky number seven, so it was swings and roundabouts.

Beyond the auteurs, on the sonic front, the master is Martin Rev on the synthesiser, creating a drone with concealed eyes, and aiding in antagonizing Clash fans. It’s law that most bands benefit from an aloof individual manning keyboard, synth or drum machine, hiding behind shades to amplify that blank aesthetic. Rev helped cement that musician rule. His sunglasses were often preposterous—vast ski numbers pre b-boy contradicting his wiry frame. But that was part of the look, and Martin pulled it off with the illusion of effortlessness.

Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright remains criminally un-Twittered on his death day, despite a vast musical legacy and one of music’s most striking looks, from the boxy Pendletons to navy chucks, old-English fonts, Jheri curls and the formidable corners of his disposable swapmeet sunglasses. The perfect accessory to crank up a mean-mug. Listening to the cartoonish violence of ‘Louisville Slugger’ , Eazy merrily embraced a cartoonish persona, and these glasses helped define that character, but as with the previous trio, he never let the sunglasses wear him. Always the other way around.

For me, the quest continues. It needs to be resolved by next Summer.

B+ – VISUALLY DIGGING

Whether you were there at the very start, were overseas feverishly browsing Subway Art or just stacking dog-eared XXLs, someone has helped define how hip-hop looks to you. George DuBose, Glen E. Friedman, Martha Cooper, Ricky Powell, Jamel Shabaz and Brian Cross among many, many others, have made memorable contributions by amber encasing key cultural moments. Despite his B+ moniker, Limerick-born Brian Cross is far from an underachiever, putting out A-grade output for nearly two decades, from coast to coast, but calling LA home. He gives the City Of Angels a unique contribution aesthetically – appreciating the elements that only a onetime outsider could bring to the surface.

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B+

Blog post from February 2009.

Blogging about subjects pertaining to hip-hop is something I swore to keep to the bare minimum, but talk of Brian Cross’s work on the new Dickies book project ‘Working In LA’ for Powerhouse is as fine a time for a digression on his work. Why avoid rap blogging? Because I have no exclusive to upload, and everyone’s at it – look at your hands, you’re probably linking to OnSmash or ripping a Mob Style rarity without even knowing it.

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