Tag Archives: public enemy


There’s a special place in hell reserved for people wandering around saying “Trill” and “We out here”. Especially hipst… actually, let’s be more direct — whiteys. Unless you’re Haystak or Lil Wyte or something. Self hating hipsterdom of the Homer Simpson “It’s funny ‘cos it’s true! We’re so lame!” kind is equally jarring, but honestly, the only rap nostalgia I’m interested in is a restoration of the days when melanin-deficient rap nerds got a “What do you know about hip-hop?” reaction to any attempts to spark a chat about Rap-A-Lot. I used to enjoy the vicarious thrill of listening to X-Clan, King Sun, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Geto Boys and Brand Nubian just because they didn’t seem to want me listening to them. They weren’t retweeting my endorsement — rappers were taking my international money order for fan club membership or merchandise and sending me nothing because I was a white rap fan and I didn’t deserve it.

It was a poorly kept secret that we were the ones funding the industry by making up a lion’s share of music purchases, but nobody seemed to cut us any slack — we were honkys, crackers, goofy dudes or cops with amplified caucasian dweebiness on album interludes. We kind of knew our place. Even MC Serch sometimes sounded so disappointed at being white that he’d berate white devils too. Somewhere down the line, the pet white characters like that white dwarf in Too Much Trouble, Miilkbone and Knucklehedz gave way to a post-Eminem world where wild liberties are taken, kids that aren’t Paul Wall have fronts, people actually debate whether it’s cool for white people to say “nigga” (some people even think it’s cool if Gwyneth Paltrow does), hug rap replaced thug rap and even the gooniest goons seem to want to interact on social media, not helped by a climate of dickriding where rappers and hip-hop personality on Twitter “reacting” to stuff is a big deal and everything has to be “addressed”.

As is the case with high-end brands and formerly snooty stores wanting to be buddies all of a sudden, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with rap’s acceptance of me. I’m assuming that the NPR intern kid is white (posisbly even fictional) and there he is dismissing Public Enemy — that would have been a beatdown in 1988 (not that I’m advocating one and it’s kind of quaint that kids still want to be music journalists). Now it’s just a low-level viral ticking off. And how did you just get on the Trill talk when UGK said it 24 years ago (20 if we’re talking Jive records)? “We out here” is strictly for white teed characters in the background of WSHH videos. Revoke those passes people — hip-hop needs to start getting intimidating again. The music’s still on point but some folks need to be kept in check.

Anyway, everyone knows the only white dude hip-hop allows is Phil Collins.

If you spotted the mysterious artwork for Pasolini’s ‘Trilogy of Life Criterion Blu-ray set doing the rounds this week, which may or may not be a fake, because its origins are mysterious, you’ll have spotted the homage to Basquiat in there. Whatever the origins, it’s a lot cooler than Swizz Beatz shouting about “That Basquiat Life!!!!!” on Twitter. Is a disfranchised, heroin addled existence something to add multiple exclamation marks to? How about, “That Mark Rothko Life!!!!!”

I maintain that Long Beach’s Proper don’t get their due for breaking from the collaborative norm just before a hype communication infrastructure was in place. Their ASICS GT II used speckles when they were still cool and applied military grade ripstop long before everyone else did. In a ‘Sneaker Freaker’ interview in 2005, they talked about a Gel Lyte III they were working on (seemingly coinciding with the model’s reintroduction). And then, nothing. This Knicks-colour version of the shoe is one of the great lost collaborations and it even has a phantom-like quality, thanks to some wonky Photoshopping. If this shoe had come out, I would have lost my mind and I still think it holds up, despite the slew of makeups that have dropped since.


Every now and again my sports footwear preoccupation infects this part of the internet as well as the other place in which I dwell, but after the homies Mr. Ali and Mr. Grandin put the work in to sort me some Steven Alan Nike Lava Domes,it reawakened a preoccupation. That shoe has an aura. You might not know it by the initial appearance – a roughneck update of a late 1970s mesh runner (think LDV or LD-1000), but it might be one of the best footwear designs ever. Not only did it birth the ACG range, but it just looks terrific. Many of my favourite shoes have been annihilated by overeager colourway characters, but this one’s being treated with a certain reverence — possibly in an attempt to woo the ‘Free & Easy’ heads, hypesters, ’80s nostalgics and NYC’s hiker-loving hardrocks. 1981 was a good year, and this shoe’s 30 years young, still looking correct in grey and orange or the sand and navy variants. I wouldn’t be mad if they released a father and son pack with the Son of Lava Dome. The Lava Dome 2000 never fired my imagination, but if Nike Sportswear put out a Flywire-aided ‘Grandson of Lava Dome’ I could potentially flip out.

This shoe was the subject of some ‘Backpacker’ coverage in its day and I think it aged better than the Approach – especially when they took the GORE-TEX selling point away. And the Magma? Too rustic. This shoe was well-regarded as the middleground between boot and sneaker (though the New Balance Rainier — with New Balance CT tennis shoe inspiration rather than running at the root — seemed a lot more “serious”), with it staying in production for several years (though the RRP slipped significantly). Steven wins with the green suede swoosh, but goddamn, this Georgetown makeup is a thing of beauty. No gimmicks, no bullshit bar an Air application that makes them more comfy. I need more pairs in my life. Its been a pretty dire year for footwear, but the quiet birthday resurrection of this shoe has been a highlight. I could still live without the pissy midsole. Cheers to the Nike man dem.

I like this Eastern Mountain Sports ad from the 1983 era with a few fusions showcased among the dull-looking own-brand stuff. I know nothing about the DMC Outwest Tough Tred, nor why it’s pictured in a pocket.

Because my wrists are feeble, I generally have to switch watch straps to a Nato, but they feel a little wanky. My brother thinks it’s like putting wooden tires on a Benz, but like a child who can’t be trusted with nice things, I ended up putting it on a camo strap. It was a failure because it created a weird mix of diving and DPM, plus the quality sucked, but I took a picture before I kicked it to the kerb, just because I like looking at camouflage things. Why isn’t there an enterprising individual out there offering Natos in every camo there is and packaging their SMUs like Starks did laces? That selvedge joint on Style Forum is just the tip of a profitable iceberg. The poser pound is strong even if the economy is crumbling around it.

Before the Cement Jordan IV drops again, here’s a masterclass in how to wear them from Hank Shocklee in this Glen E. Friedman portrait. You need to be a master of shrieking sonic backdrops to pull off denim that tapers like that though. Wondering why your dad/older brother/ageing colleague bugs out over Public Enemy? The garments they wore (shit, even the Troops) helped matters a great deal, but it’s the supporting characters rather than Mista Chuck who really had me losing my mind from an aspirational standpoint.

The world suddenly seemed to discover the well-known Lo-Life story a couple of weeks ago, but I saw this ‘Lo Down in London’ video for the first time today (hold tight, BNTL) and it was good to see the homies Seth and NickBam aka. Megalopolis on-screen. There’s a curious mix of earnestness and straight-up joking, and the shoplifting question elicited some funny responses. Bar many, many embarrassing moments that will have the NYCers face palming their nose bones into their brains, Seth gets props for making an effort.