“Leave ya lookin like the Michael Jackson jackets wit’ all them zippers” 50 Cent ‘Patiently Waiting’
I just realised how much I love ‘Kush’ by Dr. Dre. It’s got that futurist piano plod, but it’s that cocaine sheen that makes it bang extra hard. It took me a couple of years to accept the bulk of ‘2001’ but this is a tight record, sans the Akon crooning—he’s the poor man’s Nate. They should have given Yelawolf a call. But that jacket in the video? Not so good. Is it some kind of CGI effect that Joseph Kahn added post-production? Was the Doctor wearing a plain black tee until they applied a skintight leather to him? I’ll refrain from claiming it’s pauseworthy (I actually only just noticed the “All my niggas that say pause after they say some fucked up shit…rock on” line on the outro from Jay-Z’s ‘Can I Live II’ in 1996), but it’s not a strong look. Smedium and rap are not good bedfellows—isn’t it a little rich that Snoop singles out Will-I-Am’s jeans as a metaphor for lyrical tightness, when his mentor is suffocating himself in a futuristic cowskin creation?
Perhaps the black biker number would have been a little looser if Dre hadn’t been getting hench in a Timbaland style these last few years. Rappers and leathers have never quite merged properly—Slum Village members always had some boho-looking brown coats, but the XXXL Avirex was the main culprit in a poorly fitting plague that filled screens, magazine shoots and CD sleeves. The usually impeccably dressed Grand Puba even wore a black leather that was too loose. But looking like he robbed Fonzarelli isn’t working for Andre. I haven’t seen him looking so questionable since those sequin shots that Eric Wright used to gleefully wield. Even in the Dr Pepper ad he opts for a leather number, but nothing like the ‘Kush’ effort. He needs to fire his stylist.
Or maybe he got caught in the smedium trap. Who hasn’t paid through the nose at some emporium—filled with stone-faced staff—for some Japanese product in a Large and got the simpleton sleeve and belly top look when they tried it on at home? Buying sweats and tees is one thing—it can give someone manorexia. Even in the best case scenario, that’s going to be unwearable after a single wash, no matter how cold the setting. When you find an XL is problematic, it’s doubly depressing. Many garments should be re-labelled on entering the country by law. Biker jackets are meant to fit slim, but the Visvim Strabler, Junya Watanabe take in that design and the Uniform Experiment effort are outerwear Russian roulette without a try-on. Beware before you get your proxy purchase on…unless you’re mad frail.
Back to the Doc…obviously no one should be dressing as if they were still in their twenties at the age of 45, but Dre used to get it very right. Black Ben Davis, Dickies, Shelltoes and a White Sox hat? Ageless. The Funkadelic ‘Maggot Brain’ (“Hell yeah”) tee in the ‘Fuck Wit’ Dre Day’ video is a classic too. What happened to the wardrobe of crispy Ben Davis shirts in the wardrobe at the opening of ‘Let Me Ride’s extended promo? That was an iconic uniform…I can only presume it was engineered to slim him down alongside his skinny sidekick. Now those concerns have evidently been allayed, he’s proudly gone the smedium route.
If you’re strapped for Christmas ideas, I recommend the ‘Apocalypse Now: Full Disclosure’ boxset. It isn’t cheap, but it’s an region-free Blu-ray. If you liked the film on DVD, this is next level. It’s curious that we’ve been denied the ‘Hearts of Darkness’ disc in the UK, but this includes it in this set as well as plenty of extras previously included in the tin box set of DVDs. Still, the quality here is amazing. You can turn up the volume to convince neighbours that all hell has broken loose, and some brand-new add-ons like Francis in conversation with John Milius are fantastic.