Sometimes I get tired of the dope game rap. Not necessarily the soundtrack I need on my way to work. Jeezy has planted in my mind a seed that thinks I should quit my day job and become a drug kingpin to pay my student loans. It grows each day. Honestly though, I much rather listen to the few artists who focus on their lyrical content and paint a picture that can only be described as art. Introduce rap’s supreme team, Hand Gunz High, whose mantra is, “Lyrics Matter.” A trio comprised of Kane, Kwam Izzle and Intell Hazefield, all currently residing in Albany (upstate) New York. Albany, like most cities around the country, is plagued by above average unemployment rates, poverty ridden neighborhoods and a school system that would make you want to home school your kid. The struggle of hard times is felt by a large, always expanding population and these three young men are no different. To Hip Hop however, they differentiate themselves by not allowing their troubled past define their music.
Hand Gunz High – Start it Up ft. Kass Crook
HGH’s debut mixtape, By Any Means, analyzes a number of themes from the comparison of politicians to strippers (dope shit here), drug addiction, gold digging groupies, to topics only stoners who enjoy the Discovery Channel will grasp. HGH is a rapping robot machine, formed by three intelligent young black men, who have their hearts in the street, mind in the books and ears to pop culture. Don’t listen to this tape, really hear the lyrics and get back at us expressing your thoughts. I’m excited to see the growth that is to come on their next project and hopefully it will consist of more production from super producer, and HGH member, Intell Hazefield. We’ll be anxiously waiting, because we need it, By Any Means.
Valentine’s Day is yet another day where women ask men to revoke our caveman intuitions, get all sensitive and demand our money be spent taking them out and buying gifts. This year, I will unite my manly brothers and rebel against our lovers to declare this Valentine’s Day a Man’s Valentine’s Day, full of sandwiches and kung-fu movies. But since I’m having trouble finding any recruits, sneaker companies supply a reliable plan b, and I’m sure it won’t be the only Plan B in use that day. It’s obvious that men hate shopping for women, shit just never works out right, however, we do know our way around our local sneaker shop. Thankfully brands like Nike and Reebok offer exclusive Valentine’s Day styled kicks for your lady friend. Saving us the time spent at a Macys counter getting high off perfume. Hey, I’m sure you’ll even find a way to sneak a pair or two home for yourself.
If you haven’t heard of The Sartorialist then you’re probably reading this in a pair of square toed shoes, accompanied by a Windsor knot that would make an NFL player jealous. On the other hand, for those fortunate socialites that do follow TheSartorialist.com, then you’ve probably notice an increase in your wardrobes versatility, as well as your overall steez. After enjoying a successful career in fashion sales, founder of the site, Scott Schuman, began capturing and uploading photos of unsuspecting street travelers to a typical blog formatted site. He has photographed everyone whose everyone from everywhere that’s everywhere. Construction workers to Karl Lagerfeld, from Los Angeles to Milan. By his efforts he has pioneered fashion photography and allowed all of us to people watch from the comforts of our own home. Schuman’s twenty-first century mentality has paved the way for similar fashion photography sites like Swagger 360 and Jak & Jil. It is no longer required to sit on a park bench to see the trends that currently grace the sidewalks of cities worldwide. Thus, exposing us to the muse that ignites designer’s runway inspirations; common people on an average day in their random wardrobe selection.
Check out the video which gives a glimpse into the life of The Sartorialist. It’s extremely inspiring, and not just from a fashion standpoint. Learning of a man who followed his vision and became a pioneer in a field he had very little qualifications for will certainly push you to follow that dream you suspect will fail.
Sneaker Pimps, a possible name for a gang of tweens in bright clothes and a misguided perspective for hip-hop music, is actually a traveling convention for sneakerheads. No not that type of convention that is assumed to be full of costume wearing geeks, who recently escaped the only light source they know, their computer screen, to converse with forum cohorts, in a fictional language, about a possible movie remake. Yes this does happen and yes some of these ‘geeks’ you may not want bagging your groceries, but conventions are more than just a costume party. It’s a sanctuary where people can forget about their differences and celebrate the few commonalities that brought them together.
During the fashion weeks that seem to crop up once a month, I usually tend to stay away from the fashion blogs and just aimlessly roam the internet until I’m arguing with random juveniles on youtube about the authenticity of a video. The reason being is I, and you the readers, aren’t really interested in what Louis Vuitton, Gucci or whoever are showcasing, and for few reasons; most of us can’t even afford a pair of draws from these brands let alone something with more material, the runway shows are usually a bit excessive and display clothing that is utterly outrageous and can’t even be worn on our streets and the “I can’t afford it” factor should be mentioned one-mo-gin.
These runway shows however do play an integral role in the fashion realm. Designers that are looked upon as the kingpins of fashion showcase their latest collections for the world to see, giving us insight on upcoming trends. These trends can be something as little as a fabric that will end up being used by many different brands during a specific season or as big as a color scheme that will be seen on the shelves of most brands, kingpins and small time dealers alike. So I bent the truth a little baby bit. I don’t stay completely away from the blogs during fashion week, I try to breeze through, seeing if I can spot an emerging trend that can potentially trickle down to us, the common folk. In doing so, I sometimes stumble across a designer that I dig and I begin to follow their work, even if I can’t afford a keychain from them. This was most definitely the case when I peeped Junya Watanabe’s fall/winter 2009 collection.
Now I knew a little bit about Junya Watanabe before I seen they’re fall/winter collection, but it was just in passing as I was trying to find the release date for a pair of Jordan’s on another website that shall remain nameless. Before I explain my appreciation for this brand, I’ll drop some background knowledge about the designer; Junya Watanabe is a Japanese fashion designer who began as an apprentice during the 1980s for the mack daddy Comme des Garcons, which Junya Watanabe still distributes his brand through. Junya is renowned for using synthetic and technologically advanced textiles and fabrics to create distinctive clothing with a specific direction in mind. I mean this dude has Michelle Obama rocking his shit, and we all know how fly Michelle gets.
Junya Watanabe is kind of a kingpin brand, so I won’t have anything of his in my closet for a little while, but he does deserve mucho respect for his designs. For his fall/winter 2009 collection he drew inspiration from the American “sports” of hunting and fishing, taking traditional clothing worn during the hunt and turning them into blazers or casual jackets or visa versa, taking a tailored suit jacket and adding a hunting twist. I really enjoy when designers devote much of their collection to something particular (see Benjamin Bixby) from the real world, whether it is a time period, color or in this case the attire of a hunter in the United States. It is where fashion transforms to art, much different from the brands today, that just add an artistic graphic to a plain tee-shirt.
Unless your deaf, you probably heard that the King of Pop passed away and you’re probably glad the past few dismal weeks are coming to an end, as we are here at The Ovun. But, before everyone tries to press on, we want to pay our respects to the greatest entertainer of all time. Michael was an OG in all aspects of pop culture, not only his music had grown people passing out, but his wardrobe had fans all around the world wearing sequined gloves and bedazzled jackets.
Point in case with those bad ass L.A. Gears featured above this well written post. Michael, in conjunction with L.A. Gear, released a few different pairs of sneakers throughout the early 80s, with the ones pictured being the most sought after. What I’m trying to say is that before Hov and Kanye released their own kicks, there was Michael. Before Lil Wayne was doing Gatorade commercials, Michael was burning his shit up on the set of a Pepsi commercial. Before hip hop got invited to Glastonbury, Michael had people rocking in Budapest. I can go on for days about Michael, in which my editor and I will be forced to slap box to the death, so I will wrap this up in saying we will all miss Michael, he influenced the world in so many ways, big ups and if you are looking to cop some MJ L.A. Gears you can find them here on ebay, but they are going to cost you.
Sidenote: Does anyone know what’s going on with his album? Wasn’t he working on one? Is it going to drop on some 2pac shit?
Editor’s Note: And for all you classy folk, cop a pair the same brand of Penny Loafers that MJ lived in; The Bass Weejuns
Over here at The Ovun we’ve been trying to keep our readers updated on Lupe Fiasco’s highly anticipated clothing line, Trilly & Truly. However it has been everything short of easy to inform YOU people of a brand that has barely released anything, let alone a season or collection. We’ve all been patiently waiting for this line to take center stage and issue season after season of hardness, which Lupe is fully capable of doing; the wait however, is looking to shorten up a bit. Lupe recently linked up with Complex Magazine for a brief yet, informative interview where he touches on the concept of Trilly & Truly, the launch of the brand’s webstore and what he expects in the future. The webstore allows people from all over the world to finally get their hands on a selection of twenty previously released dead stock tees, that otherwise were impossible to find, being that T&T was only sold in a few stores in Japan and Chi-Town.
Initially I was excited about the webstore launch, but that reaction was quickly consumed by a feeling of misunderstanding. As the scrolling through the webstore stopped at the final $50.00 graphic tee, I was left wanting MORE for LE$$. If this brand is the brain child of Lupe Fiasco, I expect it to exceed my expectations, and it hasn’t. The graphics were short of artistic, featuring either a Trilly & Truly script or the lightning bolt and bones logo, making the price tag of $50.00 a bit excessive. I can’t speak on the quality of the shirts in question because I have YET to have see a T&T shirt in person, but I am hoping the quality is better than the wholesale shirts no name brands use for their screen printing.
The word “couture” in France has a more acclaimed meaning than it does here in the United States and when used it is not typically associated with simply a trend setting designer, but a brand that meets “well defined standards,” thus titling them “haute couture.” Haute couture is French for “high sewing” and is protected by law, with a few designers able to meet the specific criteria to gain the world-renowned label.
I have no idea what entitles a brand to identify them self as an haute couture entrant, but I do have an understanding for the definition of dope! Random, but follow me on this magical school bus ride. When I say dope I do not mean the drug associated connotation that most people think of, but the adjective meaning extremely good. I don’t know about anyone else, but you are only branded “dope” by me unless you are the Beez Neez. The word couture however conjures up a more reputable definition as a clothing brand that delivers high end fashion, at a high end price.
Now that you have been schooled in The Ovun’s third period English class it would seem difficult for a clothing line to be identified as both dope and couture, however an Indiana based clothing line as figured it out. Of the brand you ask the name yes? Dope Couture. Can you really ask for a more straightforward brand name? Dope Couture keeps it 100, they offer dope clothing, that by my definition is the beez neez, but at affordable pricing, playing on the word couture. Couture for this brand represents clothing designed with artistic creditability in mind and not profitability. DC wishes to deliver clothing that evokes pride in what you’re wearing and not insufficient funds fees.
Historians have found it hard to pinpoint the origins of headwear, yet many believe it was the first article of clothing worn by primitive man. Sounds a bit outlandish, yes, but ponder that implication for a moment. Seriously, DO IT! Hats weren’t conceived to coordinate an outfit, they were more than likely stumbled across by early man to protect themselves from the elements of the world, i.e. rain, sunlight and the occasional falling pterodactyl poop. Having said that, headwear evolved over the course of time, to be worn by religious, nobility as well as military figures to publicize their social status. But most notably headwear expanded to the realm of fashion.
Jump ahead a few centuries and the generation of urban, streetwear, hip hop fashion is introduced to the masses. In our fashion community, hats have played an integral role in our appearance. From the days of snap back raiders to closets full of New Era fitteds. Okay, I guess this history lesson has gone a little too far, but it was done to prove a good point, I hope. The point being that with the rich history of headwear our community has decided to focus on a very small assortment of styles. I myself have fallen into this close-minded thinking: owning nearly ten different hats all being the same New Era design.
Nike does it all, sneakers to music. That’s right my ill-informed friend, MUSIC! And if Nike is going to do something, they go legendary. Which is why Nike commissioned the legendary hip hop trio of De La Soul for an exclusive release. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 3 Feet and Rising (which was the bases for Nike and De La Soul’s first collab) the two have released ARE YOU IN?: Nike+ Original Run, De La Soul’s first material released in 5 years. The album is only available through iTunes for $9.99 and is part of the continuing series of releases through the “Nike+ Sports Music” section on iTunes.
ARE YOU IN: Nike+ Original Run, with production by the Chicago based DJ/production duo Flosstradamus, is an album written specifically with runners in mind, but can be enjoyed by all listeners. In a recent interview about the Nike project, Posdnuos explained, “When we first heard about this project we were psyched on the challenge. We pride ourselves on being able to get bodies moving, so it was cool to do it with a specific goal in mind – giving runners the sonic fuel to clock some miles.”