Tag Archives: young jeezy


I love Christmas. This blog might paint me as a curmudgeon of sorts, but Darlene Love’s on iTunes right now begging a lover to come home for the festive season, the radiator’s on and the tree is decorated. That still doesn’t excuse the amount of crap out there that’s aggravated me lately. I’m attempting a hate amnesty to prepare me for some uninterrupted joy these next few days. At the moment, there’s end-of-year polls everywhere….sometimes it’s nice to Grinch it out a little. What can I say? There’s a lot of crap out there that inexplicably gets some sort of pass somewhere down the line. Plus it’s Festivus—in line with Frank Costanza’s vision, it’s time for the airing of grievances…

1. PRs & Twitter: Bad Combination

You can just envision the smug schmoozers bamboozling some overpaid imbecile with a marketing budget that their tinpot PR firm can work the social media angle as well as making their brand look great in the “real world.” You see, social media is very important. You need to interact with consumers. This means an “RT” prefix or out-and-out forward of any mention of the brand by anyone…rich, famous…to quote Johnny Mathis on baby Jesus himself, “Black, white, yellow, no-one knows”…just as long as it ticks a box for the PR.

It fills timelines with the same old shit and frequently makes a brand that was desirable seem common as muck, even if the sales figures stay niche. There’s brand awareness and there’s splattergunning important things (please…never interrupt my WorldStar Hip-Hop updates) with the same press release in a new minimized URL or even a solitary mention of the brand/store/record in question. I swear I’ve seen some individuals converse with themselves under two accounts—one with their name and the other as a brand. Remember that Diana Ross TV-movie where she had voices in her head? This was even better.

2. Brands & Stores Getting Too Familiar

Social media can be excellent for engaging with customers, but like (and presumably connected to) the ruinous slew of overeager PRs mentioned above, does anyone find some previously aloof brands and retailers have become ultra-chirpy online? Go to a one-day seminar and some guru will tell you to befriend those customers and babble about a positive online experience. This is true; a friendly line of communication with an entity can make me a customer for life, but too much engagement, talk and worst of all, the dreaded! exclamation! mark! online can make me feel like you might have lost your edge. There’s a certain aloofness that might secure longevity. Now stores that sneered at you on entering are electronically-hugging you. Probably best to check your wallet and make sure you haven’t been e-pickpocketed.

3. The Collaboration That Isn’t

It’s not enough to twin with a brand anymore…now the very thing you’re printing on is a partner. Those old Supreme sweats and Electric Cottage tees on Champion or Very Apes on Camber always seemed incidental. Now if you print on Champion, it’s a bonafide collaboration. I suspect the Supreme Hanes hookup came out of jokes about a similar subject. Where’s the Fruit of the Loom and AAA dual-brand pieces? The anonymity of a de-tagged shirt seems to be a thing of the past. Now it’s a custom one or a half-baked colab. Only last week I chatted with my buddy Nick Schonberger aka. Paul Wall, who maintained that once upon a time a Pendleton collaboration would have just had a “wool” prefix.

4. When Heritage Goes Wrong

You can’t pop too many shots at what’s ultimately well-made gear. Should you look in the mirror and realise that you look like a rag and bone man rather than Jack on campus in ‘Carnal Knowledge’ you can always dismantle that brown, wool and beige ensemble in the knowledge that it’ll stay wearable in years to come. But brands launching heritage lines which never existed is just odd. What should have carried a certain resonance from man hours of manufacture just ticks a box. I love Ben Sherman’s old shirts…they were a clever reaction to a homegrown desire for Brooks Brothers shirting back in the day. I don’t understand why they needed to release a “modern” heritage collection of Albam-lite instead of dwelling on the classic stuff. “Photo essays” of men in the country on a tie-in blog? Check. “Select” retailers? Check. Apathy beyond a circle of sycophants? Check.

5. Addressing Rumours

Having grown up hearing about rappers punching journalists, each other and putting record execs in headlocks, shootings outside HOT97…even R&B dudes snuffing Q-Tip at industry shindigs, it’s hugely disappointing to see rappers “addressing” things on video uploads for anything. Rap loves gossip, but when mean-looking dudes are talking about their reaction to a mild affront on Twitter, something’s gone very wrong. Hastily compiled “reactions” via Twitter are the downfall of good rap journalism, but the hip-hop world needs to take it to DM or pay the supposed protaganist a visit with some heavy metal in hand. Stop this soft behaviour. When Jeezy claimed that Twitter “sounds a lot like snitching,” he wasn’t wrong.

6. Stop the Sneaker Prefixes

My Scandinavian and Australasian friends know this isn’t directed at them, but I saw several awful cash-ins on the sneaker collecting ship that sailed a long time ago with “sneaker” prefixes this year. Sites, events apps…gimmicks that people emailed me about and I ignored. I love shoes more than I’d probably like to admit, but I saw some of the corniest contact messages I’ve seen in half a decade. The notion of a standalone “sneaker personality” for personality’s sake is odd to me. But looking at YouTube views I suspect I’m in the minority.

7. Please Criticise Something

I appreciate the wave of blog and Tweet positivity, but it can get a little too cheery. I don’t want to see unfocused rants (like this one) everywhere, but too much dead-eyed press release copy-paste is a bad thing. Mediocrity triumphs when good men do nothing. If you’ve got the apparent insight and self-promo savvy, why aren’t you criticising and contextualising? If you want to leap out of bed on an irritating god-bothering “Let’s get this money!” Diddy-lite tip, bear in mind that Sean assaulted Steve Stoute and apparently beat down Positive K before he became so damned positive himself. You need to earn that right to be cheery. You might lose out on some free crap, but be honest once in a while—it feels good.

8. I Hate Your “Video Lookbook”

Put some bland looking men in duck canvas coats and backpacks. Film it. Edit it to the sounds of something experimental. Next to blogs featuring videos of any gathering of more than three people that had free alcohol, “video lookbooks” are the worst. Good idea, but just as “viral” became a misunderstood byword for shitty commercials to amateurish to run on TV, the moving lookbook ended up being some wankers wandering about looking shit because just as anyone with hi-def on a camera could film the things, anyone who could do up a zip became a stylist this year. Videos of magazines being flicked and free things being unboxed were also infuriating.

9. I Hate Your Tumblr

Nobody cares about this blog and nobody cares about the artful collection of images you found in an overpriced second-hand magazine. Type Gianni Agnelli into Google. Click “Images.” That’s basically your shit Tumblr, but better.

Here’s what I envision your Tumblr to be before I click the link—McQueen looking moody…a quote by Edward Tivnan on the perfect suit…a jpeg of a constructivist Norman Carlberg piece. Whoopee shit. Go tell your mum what you’ve achieved.

Fuck Yeah Menswear clearly can’t stand you. If your effort isn’t as good as Uncomfortable Moments With Putin or Eye on Springfield, give up.

10. Homogenized Style Blogs

There’s a lot of the same content with the same copy. Sometimes it’s faintly rewritten or butchered for SEO purposes. Sometimes there’s a faintly bemused selection of padded-out paragraphs for the sake of differentiation but it’s all the same. I don’t understand the PR mouthpiece blog onslaught. If you see it elsewhere, why bother? Some site even started something called the “Cravats” which seemed to nominate anything that ever mentioned a tweed tie for some kind of award. “I’m staying up late and getting the popcorn in! It’s Cravats season—the most important night in the men’s style website calendar.” It all blends into one fawning WordPress.

As well as wishing all of you a very merry Christmas (and non-denominational greetings to everyone else), just to counteract the negativity, the new ‘Proper Magazine’ just arrived. Where I’d simply enjoyed the level of content that Mark and Neil compiled with each issue, the look and feel was always pleasantly slapdash—the lengthy interviews and sense of humour (in a realm where humour is hard to find) compensated for that. With ‘Proper’ #10, there’s more pages and it’s perfect bound too.

A good complement to Oi Polloi’s highly amusing ‘Deck Out,’ the photos of Great Yarmouth took me back to my time at Hemsby’s  Sundowners Club as a kid, but the articles on Ian Paley, Takeshi Ohfuchi and Richard Gill’s extensive collection of old jackets (the Mountain Equipment Fitzroy is serious outerwear) are excellent. Increased irreverance to match the bulkier content includes a quiz to see how seriously you’re taking the blogs that’s startlingly on-point. Defiantly clobber led, there’s a vast market for the niche team ‘Proper’ has carved. It’s a far more fully-formed publication and I’m looking forward to where it’s taken in 2011. Good work chaps…


“In these times, you can’t get a job as an executive unless you have the educational background and the opportunity. Now, the fact you don’t have a job as an executive is merely because of the social standing of life.”

Pause. You know what? Hip-hop’s pretty gay. I’m not talking the rumours of green-eyed producers, musclebound ladies men, middle finger issuers and hypemen. The Furious 5 and company’s attire could be dismissed as fruity, but they seemed to be dressing akin to Rick James at the time. Rick’s attire on the front of ‘Street Songs’ is flamboyant, but he’s just paralleling the Prince approach of being so swaggeringly hetro, one can dress like they’re some kind of future-loverman. Nah. As hip-hop veers between curiously conservative and utterly audacious, 2010 is the year it seems to have opted to get even gayer. It even goes beyond Lil ‘B’s ‘Pretty Bitch’ – eccentric as it was, Brandon’s boasts felt as ultra-straight as Prince Rogers Nelson’s self-adulation. It’s in the behaviour that social media is fueling.

Can any other musical form boast an audience this desperate for gossip? Jeezy alludes to Rawse and the entire hip-hop nation gets all theatrically, “Oh no he didn’t!” Even the mildest verses are being scrutinised in the search for the “shots” and joy in perceived slights. Jeezy’s right when he laments that, “Twitter is a muthafucka, by the way.” That hunger for drama is insatiable. Rappers face the camera to address any rumour, scowling soul mates of the Britney meme man. Just as so many gay fashionistas are opting for extreme ink, that neck of thorns is just as likely to be shared by the next southern phenomenon. Amplified levels of toplessness in any press shots up the flamboyance. The quest to give that ink an outing is outing emcees.

Yet even more oddly, hip-hop culture gets even more homophobic and insecure. Cam’Ron and company opened the gates for a retraction after each sentence, but now we’re pausing our way through stop-start conversations. It’s fun, but again, it’s pretty gay. Kanye’s never shied away from the finer things in life, and his current besuited persona, driving the Twitterverse to the point of mania is some executive styling. This can only have ramifications. Just as his big shoe movement and a slimmer denim style had the biters geared up in mismatching, borderline feminine attire, Mr. West is bringing back the suit. Cue Rapidshare rappers everywhere breaking out their big-shouldered funeral suits. Everyone’s the CEO of their label now too. There’s plenty of folk playing at being shot collars on a business level. The mere notion of realness as a sham that revelations of Rick Ross’s past revealed, built on who makes the most mixtapes and has the best ear for a beat, isn’t too far away from the notion of ‘Realness’ espoused in the classic 1990 documentary, ‘Paris is Burning’.

Rap’s rarely been rooted in reality. There’s always been performance, but for a former CO to play kingpin and be as accepted as Armin Tamzarian ultimately was in his Skinner role is the ultimate reinforcement that hip-hop is about that theatrical facade of Realness. Realness in the ball circuit was about convincingly passing as someone else – for example, hardrock posturing, trying to pass as straight. There’s definite parallels. Truth be told, as long as the records are hot, it’s all good, but as the members of the House of Chanel and House of St. Laurent proved, it’s about the escapism of that fakery. Even the designer name fixation that Kanye’s blown up to the point where Jadakiss talks Margiela and Rawse talks Rick Owens bears similarities to their flamboyant theatre of competition.

The best moment in Jennie Livingston’s masterpiece is the notion of ‘Executive Realness’ where suited participants compete in a walk-off, trying to look as powerful and business-like as possible. Opening a briefcase to reveal paperwork elicits rapturous applause. It’s a momentary attempt to defy the social standing participants have found themselves in, and total role play. At least they’re honest about the performance aspect. The CEO stance and power-tailoring is pure hip-hop. Taz, ‘Ye and Cudi took the look to Paris last year for their infamous, ultra-fly group shot. In fact, ‘Style Wars’ and ‘Paris Is Burning’ are as essential as each other in documenting 1980s New York. There’s a grit to them and that same determination to rise above that occasionally seems utterly doomed. Shit, ‘Paris Is Burning’ is even laden with designer clothing boosts. Again, what’s more hip-hop than that? And what’s more punk rock than CAP or Pepper LaBeija?

Now every blogger’s a fashion guru and 8 out of 10 twats are claiming stylist status, maybe that notion of ‘Executive Realness’ spills beyond the rap realm to other cultures tainted by perpetrators. But that’s a whole other post…