Show Me A Sign: Talking to Shy Lennox About His New Visual

Shy Inspires Us to Stay Cautious About Love This Valentine’s Day

Words and Interview by Ross Atkinson

Last September, Shy Lennox released his 2018 EP Audition. Ink interviewed him in November about the EP, but today, Shy has come back to the project with a new visual for his hit single Signs. The video beautifully visualizes the story of Shy’s realizations after a serious romantic relationship ended. For Valentine’s Day, we talked to Shy about his romantic struggles and the process by which he depicts this in his new music video.

Ross Atkinson: Signs is a track off of your 2018 EP Audition, what caused your decision to make and release the Signs video on Valentine’s Day?

Shy Lennox: The storyline for the Signs visual is loosely based off of a dream I had on Valentine’s Day last year. It had been four days since I had broken up with my first serious partner, my heart was healing, and I was trying to get my mindset back in the right place. I wrote the story down in my journal right when I woke up but didn’t make sense of it until months later. I wanted to release the video precisely one year after for two reasons: I wanted to symbolize my strength and new creative ability after leaving my partner, and I wanted it to be a gift to my listeners who understand the infatuation phase I describe in Signs.

Ross: What’s the personal significance for you in this track?

Shy: I wrote Signs at a time when I was deeply in love. My former partner is an Aquarius, and I’m a Taurus, so I’m an incredibly devoted and loyal person. I found myself feeling so mesmerized in his company, and I was so willing to do anything to be with him that I began to compromise my integrity. He was my world at that time, and I often thought: “Is this real, Is it a sign that we’re meant to be?” Even though I’m no longer with him, I still listen to Signs and remember all of the beautiful feelings and moments of bliss that led me to fall in love [with him].

Ross: Can you tell me about the personal importance of your Audition EP in general?

Shy: The idea of auditioning to me is very close to my heart. As an operatic vocal performance major, most of my life consists of continually auditioning for roles and being judged on my ability to perform, and create, and execute art. I wanted to name my first EP “audition” because I felt like this was my first real chance to show my skills. This EP was my audition to the world to show everyone who Shy Lennox is. The idea of auditioning is also so much bigger than the entertainment world. When you meet somebody new, you’re essentially auditioning for them. When you go to a job interview, you’re auditioning for the position. Also, most importantly, when you fall in love, the entire relationship is an audition.

Ross: The new video really presents a kind of dreamlike environment, something I’ve always felt like matches your music. The choreography and costumes really elevated that, can you tell me about your styling decisions in the video?

Shy: After creating what I felt was the perfect mood board and video treatment, I collaborated with Pharoh Sistare and Nastassja Swift. Pharoh is the creator of Palette Studios and styled the clothing for the video under my creative direction, and Nastassja hand-sculpted the masks from cotton and wire. It was important to me to hire Black artists because I knew they would understand what kind of vibe I wanted this visual to have exactly. When it came to making the visual match the music, I would not accept something that was not cohesive. I believe visuals today are incredibly impactful, and I had to ensure that my first one was perfect

Ross: At the end of the video, you’re seen digging your own grave; it’s not a story that traditionally would be connected to Valentine’s Day. What’s this kind of relationship that you’re expressing?

Shy: The burial scene is meant to be a representation of how you can destroy yourself in a relationship. You can put so much faith, trust, and energy into one person and not receive any of that back. It hurts to be with someone who doesn’t match your level of commitment or understand their toxicity.

Ross: Should we be expecting anything from you in the near future?

Shy: As long as I’m breathing, you should always expect something from me.

Watch the video for Shy Lennox’s Signs here, and listen to the Audition EP on your favorite music streaming service.

 

Fashion Crush Friday: Rhuigi Villasenor

Meet Rhuigi Villasenor, the 27-year-old Manila native who was one of those named on this year’s Forbes’ 30 Under 30.

Words by Nico Gavino

Villasenor immigrated to the U.S. from the Philippines at age 11, settling with his family in relative’s living room in LA. His English was very limited. After high school, he pursued a career fashion, learning design during internships under Shaun Samson and Taz Arnold. Gaining design experience and learning the ropes of the industry, Villasenor started his now flourishing streetwear brand, Rhude in 2012.

The company started slow, but that didn’t stop Villasenor from making his dreams a reality. Rhude’s very first product, a bandana print t-shirt, inspired by his West Coast upbringing barely sold until Kendrick Lamar wore it on stage at the BET Awards in 2013. This exposure was a big break for Rhude.  

Kendrick Lamar wearing Villasenor’s first Rhude tee on stage at the 2013 BET Awards. Via: Rick Diamond/Getty Images North America

Today, Villasenor has produced several Rhude collections and is now expanding into homeware, eyewear, womenswear, and even art.

Rhude has garnered a considerable following amongst celebrities since its debut in 2013. The likes of Ellen Degeneres, Kylie Jenner, Frank Ocean, Lebron James, Justin Bieber, and A$AP Rocky, to name a few, have all been spotted in Rhude apparel. In January, merch designed by Villasenor was used to accompany Future’s “The WIZRD” mixtape.

To make it all come full circle, Kendrick once again wore Rhude on stage, this time accepting his Pulitzer Prize in the Rhude “traxedo” pants. Now, high-end retailers like Nordstrom, Barney’s, and SSENSE are selling Villasenor’s clothes.

 

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A hybrid of gritty Middle American visuals and West Coast street style describes the identifiable aesthetic that Villasenor has developed for his brand. He laces narratives, often from his own experiences into his work. Rhude’s signature cigarette imagery is a reference back to both Villasenor’s childhood in the Philippines and an ex-girlfriend who was a habitual smoker.

 

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Sun is down, freezing… for sale soon.

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Villasenor’s Rhude F/W19 collection, “Horse Power,” inspired by a road trip across the US, touches on the increasing dependence on technology in today’s society. According to Complex, the collection, recently presented at Paris Fashion Week, is characterized by the imagery of “American heritage” and “motorsports”, as well as a “Midwestern color palette”.

 

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few favorites from PSS19 and SS19 🖤🖤 @rhude out now and shipping

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As an immigrant from the Philippines arriving with very little, Villasenor never failed to make do with what he had to support himself, whether it was selling his designer Goodwill finds in school or using his first Rhude sales to get his bedroom, finally.

Villasenor’s story serves not just as a source of inspiration for Filipino-Americans in the fashion industry, but for all people. It highlights the universal immigrant experience of building a new life from nothing.

Rhuigi Villasenor has come a long way from sleeping in living rooms, and it seems like he’s only going up from here.

Bedside Table Cartography

Ink Staff member Paige Fehn illustrates bedside tables and allows you to consider their function.

A Note From the Artist:

When I moved into my apartment for the school year at the end of summer and unpacked all the items of my life (not a lot). Most of it was thrifted or given to me, including a pink alarm clock labeled “Dream Machine.” In my new home, I ceremoniously placed that, along with a lamp, on my blank bedside table. The dreams of the slick minimalist in me were materializing on a blank bedside table. This organized fantasy quickly died after a few days of my actual living habits.

After a week the clutter that had accumulated was evident: nail polish, my meds, tissues from a summer cold, earrings I would take out before letting my head hit the pillow– an assortment of items from my life that never left my bedside. Of course, there were some things that were displaced to other areas of my apartment after a while, but a few things were constants, they had nightly roles to fill at my leisure of having them on hand when I was in bed. I started considering what the implications were of having something at arm’s length when I was least willing to move from my spot.

For this project, I wanted to focus on what people have on their bedside tables. Bedside tables are different from desks or other methods of storage – they’re intimate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Honor Roll

Ink’s Kaelan Brown and Kyle Mayo-Blake share their top albums of 2018.

In a year of fantastic releases, musical triumphs, and amazing feats, it’s tough to narrow it all down to 30 releases. From the glitchy and aggressive energy of JPEGMAFIA’s “Veteran” to the soaring and beautifully crafted guitar ballads of Natalia Lafourcade’s “Musas Vol. 2”, here are our favorite albums and releases of 2018.

 

Veteran

JPEGMAFIA

When it comes to the modern landscape of hip-hop, trap albums are the most common. Ranging widely in quality and offering the same elements of rap grandeur from popping bottles in the club to stealing your girl. JPEGMAFIA, affectionately known as Peggy, blends these with his own punk style and throws them through a meat grinder, taking all the leftover bits and crafting a record that pushes every aspect of trap to its limits. With its dense and textured production and Peggy’s loud and passionate delivery, Veteran leaves you anxiously awaiting for what this artist can deliver next. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Real Nega” “Baby I’m Bleeding”

 

Musas Vol 2.

Natalia Lafourcade

Natalia Lafourcade, the Mexican pop singer, has been gaining popularity in the States in recent years due to her Musas series of releases as well as her role in Disney’s Coco soundtrack. Her release Musas Vol. 2 is a solid hour of gorgeous and well-rounded Latin American folk songs, changing from incredibly hard-hitting large accompaniment tracks to soft, beautiful guitar ballads. This album takes its listener from a crowded Latin American city street to a shining night sky as Natalia’s smooth and soaring vocals sit perfectly on top of the mix. This album is something that I think has importance in the U.S., especially due to the major growth of Latin American infused pop music that has topped the charts this past year. Definitely one of my favorite releases of the year. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Danza de Gardenias (feat. Los Macorinos)” “Alma Mia (feat. Los Macorinos)”

 

GOOD Job, You Found Me

Valee

Following his well-received 1988 mixtape in 2017 and being signed to Kanye West’s GOOD Music label, Valee has made a solid name for himself in 2018. His latest release GOOD Job, You Found Me, presents some of the Chicago rapper’s hardest-hitting material. With all of the songs on the release averaging under 2 minutes, the tape feels very straight to the point. His off-kilt delivery and flow style are perhaps Valee’s most recognizable characteristic — it has been imitated by rappers like Tyler, The Creator, 6ix9ine, and Smokepurpp. Being praised as “The GOAT” by rapper Trippie Redd for his influence in hip-hop so early in his career, it is clear that Valee is here to stay. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks:Miami (feat. Pusha T)” “Skinny”

 

Golden Hour

Kacey Musgraves

Golden HourKacey Musgraves (March 30th, 2018)

First and foremost, this album is not much of a country album and shouldn’t be treated as such. As opposed to her previous releases, Golden Hour presents a much more stripped back and poppy sound, featuring a bit less twang to each track and a little more kick. Not to say that this sound has advanced Musgraves as a musician, it just has opened the doors for more crossover appeal and relatability to different audiences. While the lyrics aren’t stellar, the sheer golden shine of the record rubs off on the listener, giving them a feeling of openness, which is what gives it its appeal. Every time this record comes on, I am suddenly flying 80 miles per hour down a country road watching a beautiful sunset. I look forward to more from Kacey Musgraves in the years to come. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Slow Burn” “Lonely Weekend”

 

Care For Me

Saba

Care For Me is the follow-up album to Saba’s critically-acclaimed 2016 debut LP Bucket List Project. With it’s very up-tempo and hopeful vibe attached to it, and features from artists such as Smino and NoName, Bucket List Project definitely left fans wanting more. Care For Me is a much darker tape, it touches on much more striking themes and features much better storytelling than his first tape. Following the horrific stabbing of his cousin, Saba expresses feelings of depression, trauma, and grief. Again, the storytelling on this tape is impeccable, leaving me wanting more from the Chicago rapper. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks:BUSY/SIRENS (feat. theMIND)” “LIFE” 

 

Bark, your Head off Dog

Hop Along

Every time Hop Along releases a new record, I think to myself “how are they gonna top this one?” And the exact same thing crossed my mind this time around. Rather than sticking to the formula they perfected with their last record Painted Shut , Hop Along pushes the boundaries of their sound in new directions, especially in the percussion department. “Bark, your Head off Dog” is full of far more upbeat, almost dancy-sounding songs along with the band’s already solid indie rock, folk and blues-inspired musical style. All of these new elements come together to create an album that is entertaining for almost any occasion, whether you are sitting back enjoying an iced tea or dancing away with your friends under the stars. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “The Fox In Motion” “Prior Things”

 

Isolation

Kali Uchis

On her debut full-length record, Kali Uchis’ ear for catchy grooves and infectious melodies pair beautifully with her catchy hooks that will leave you humming all of her songs after the fact. Along with Uchis’ brilliant use of features throughout the project every song on Isolation feels like it was created to drill its melodies under your skin and stay there until the end of time. Along with those infectious grooves, Uchis is no lyrical slouch either, speaking on issues of her past relationships and family  that will leave you in awe of how she weaves these tales together. Isolation is a titan of an R&B record that leaves you with something to take away from on every track. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Just A Stranger” “After The Storm”

 

Harutosyura

Harunemuri

HarutosyuraHarunemuri (April 11th, 2018)

Harunemuri’s Harutosyura may be the most eclectic and gut-punching pop record I have heard in a  very long time. Incorporating elements of electronic music and catchy guitar riffs, Harunemuri brings an energy that pours over you with every track. Head-bobbing becomes a necessity the further you get into the record. Despite its pop labeling, the record sheds all notions of what that is supposed to be switching from all of its various influences effortlessly. Blending vibrant guitar fuzz with pulsating bass lines and snappy drums, Harunemuri creates a listening experience that will make you want to endlessly shout the lyrics at the top of your lungs, despite not knowing Japanese. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks:Harutosyura” “Sekaiwotorikaeshiteokura”

 

Die lit

Playboi Carti

While I had at times been very skeptical about Playboi Carti due to his awful XXL cypher and poor lyrics, his 2018 debut LP Die Lit absolutely changed my mind. Rap is changing in quick and amazing ways, taking on trends of minimalism in its repetitive hooks, adlibs, and beat choices. These things culminate together to create addictive tracks that push the listener into a contact high of simplistic bliss. Despite the fact that Die Lit has hardly anything to offer in terms of lyrical content, the pure personality behind the release, and behind Playboi Carti as a whole, are what makes the album so amazing. Playboi Carti hones into what makes him great — not only his catchy ad libs, but also more melodic and catchy hooks and verses, as well as more interesting flow patterns that weren’t found on his previous releases. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Shoota” (feat. Lil Uzi Vert) “Flatbed Freestyle

 

Wide Awake!

Parquet Courts

I never really listened to Parquet Courts until I heard their latest release Wide Awake!. Immediately upon listening to it, (which I found myself doing because of the hype it got from online music reviewers and friends) I found a connection with the sound and danceability of the record. I also liked its socio-political lyrics and often hilarious lines. The album sounds not only incredibly tight, but also organic, raw, and real. It remains an art-punk masterpiece, while also finding influence in funk and psychedelic rock. Reaching their peak in performance and popularity, Wide Awake! shines as not only the band’s best release to date, but also one of the best releases of the year. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Total Football” “Almost Had To Start A Fight/ In and Out of Patience”

 

Daytona

Pusha T

It is hard to think of another rapper that has stayed as consistent as Pusha T. The man was at the top of the mainstream lyrical heap with his brother in the group Clipse back in the early 2000s, cranking out classic tracks like Virginia and Grindin. He stayed at the top of his game after the fact with solid records like My Name Is My Name and Fear of God. Pusha’s raps usually revolve around one thing: slinging cocaine. However, nobody can top him in that realm. He is the epitome of “its not what you talk about but how you talk about it”, and Pusha is at the top of his game on Daytona. Pusha raps like a veteran but has the hunger of a young cat in the game and could probably smoke anybody that comes near him (just like he did with Drake earlier this year). On top of Pusha being at the top of his lyrical dominance, Kanye West produces some of the best beats of his career on the album. Each one of his beats fits absolutely perfectly on Pusha and enhance his every bar. Pusha’s sinister delivery and amazing bars flow across every track with absolute perfection. I can not gush about this record enough, go listen to it. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “If you know you know”  “Infrared”

 

Kids See Ghosts

Kids See Ghosts

In the two years following his 2016 release, The Life Of Pablo, Kanye West took a bit of a public hiatus, retreating to the mountains of Wyoming to work on five projects he dropped this past summer. One of those was Kids See Ghosts, his collaboration with Kid Cudi. Running only 7 songs and 23 minutes in length, this release feels much more in-depth than a lengthy album would have been. With features from Pusha T, Ty Dolla $ign, and Yasiin Bey, the release feels like it encompasses some of the best feelings music has to offer. With the major theme of the album being freedom of expression, Kanye West and Kid Cudi manage to tastefully dip themselves into a variety of sounds, samples, and emotions, taking the listener from the animalistic and hard hitting track “Feel The Love” to the soaring and galvanizing track “Reborn”. Despite all of the controversy surrounding Kanye West in 2018, and Kid Cudi’s public struggle with mental health in recent years, Kids See Ghosts proves to be a reminder of everything the duo has to offer. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks:Feel the Love” “Reborn”

 

Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

Sophie

Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides SOPHIE ( June 15th, 2018)

SOPHIE’s bold and bright instrumentals – when blended with her dark, distorted synth sounds and expressive vocals – create musical soundscapes that have to be heard to be believed. Sophie was able to craft some of this year’s greatest electronic bangers, with songs like “Ponyboy” and Faceshopping” that deserve to be played at every electronic house party, blasting over the loudest speaker possible, while you dance to your heart’s content. Other cuts like “infatuation” and Pretending” leave you in complete bliss as Sophie bends and sways beautiful synth and bass lines together. It leaves you in complete euphoria. The EDM genre has a definite front-runner in the form of Sophie. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Faceshopping”  “Immaterial”

 

Nasty

Rico Nasty

When it comes to internet hip-hop hitmakers, Rico Nasty has been my favorite all year. Rico’s rambunctious style has evolved from a bubblegum trap aesthetic to in-your-face. It demands your attention with every track. With help from Kenny Beats, Rico goes crazy, track after track, giving off an energy that’ll make you want to destroy everything around to work off the hype. Rico’s bragadocious swagger is unmatched by her peers. She comes off like she’s already at the top and demanding that everyone around her pay attention. Nasty almost stands as a new start for Rico, a turning point into the rap-mega she is no doubt destined to be. Rico recently signed to Atlantic records, who hopefully give her the backing to make more excellent projects like this one. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Countin Up”  “Rage”

 

Collagically Speaking

R+R= Now

Collagically Speaking is the first LP from jazz supergroup R+R=Now, assembled by Pianist Robert Glasper, featuring Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on trumpet, Derrick Hodge on bass, Taylor McFerrin on synthesizer, Justin Tyson on Drums, and Terrace Martin on synthesizer and Vocoder. Collagically Speaking mixes instrumental hip-hop, 1970s jazz and funk, and aspects of R&B and soul. The sounds of the album remind me of Herbie Hancock and Weather Report in the 1970s. Albums like this are important  in today’s musical age, as artists like Robert Glasper work with hip-hop superstars like Anderson Paak and Kendrick Lamar. I would agree with those who describe “Collagically Speaking” as replenishing, or even a respite in times of conflict. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Resting Warrior”  “Respond”

 

Enemy

Ostraca

Screamo unfortunately tends to get a bad rap in the eyes of harder music fans. It’s often associated with hot topic emo acts and mall goths, who have nothing better to do but scream their hearts out about how they hate their hometown. This is not that. Ostraca is a Richmond, Virginia based screamo band that is leading the Virginia screamo charge with some of the most raw and emotional music coming out of the screamo scene. Ostraca’s guitars shred through your ears like a knife to butter, cutting deep and filling the wound with all of the emotion and anger it can carry. While these loud and boisterous moments are what the genre is known for, that doesnt stop the band from permeating the record with quieter moments that are absolutely stunning such as the gorgeous piano solo at the end of the song Crisis. If you are a fan of extreme music with powerful vocals I cannot see you disliking this record, they are that good and deserve your ears. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Big Star”  “Crisis”

 

TA13OO

Denzel Curry

Denzel Curry has always had an aggressive tone to his music, strongly influenced by punk rock at its core and within its live performances. His latest release TA13OO continues the sense of wild and animalistic energy that its predecessor, 13-EP, had; this time packing in a 43 minute time mark and a solid list of features ranging from D.C.-based rapper Goldlink, to Brooklyn rapper Zillakami. The album is pure aggression from head to toe and conceptually interesting, splitting into three “acts”, each taking on a different persona of Curry’s, getting darker and more aggressive as the album moves along. TA13OO is easily the Miami rappers best release to date, still leaving space for growth in the future. Denzel Curry is proving to be one of the artists that people must watch out for in 2019. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks – “SUMO”  “VENGEANCE” (feat. Jpegmafia & Zillakami)

 

Honeybloom

Choker

Honeybloom, the sophomore album of Detroit singer, rapper, and producer Choker, is an aesthetically vibrant and ambitiously experimental product which stems from artists like Frank Ocean. Entirely self-produced, the record’s quick changing pace and stunning instrumentals truly paint a picture filled with color and ambition, clearly showcasing Chokers natural songwriting abilities. Songs on this album will quickly move from part to part and change emotion at the drop of a hat. Choker’s artistry is definitely one to keep you on your toes and pull you in with intrigue. I look forward to seeing what Choker has planned for the future. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Starfruit LA”  “Juno”

 

Astroworld

Travis Scott

Astroworld is the long-awaited third full-length LP from Houston rapper Travis Scott, who has been pushing psychedelic trap to a new level since Owl Pharaoh, his 2013 debut mixtape. Astroworld surrounds the theme of a closed Houston amusement park that Scott visited when he was young. The tape has a number of notable guest artists like Frank Ocean, Drake, and YSL Gunna, running pretty long in length at a little under an hour. The tape flows pretty well and shines especially at the beginning, while it tapers off a bit towards the end. Regardless, the beautifully-crafted beats, top-notch vocal performances, and amazing tour that followed this album, have in my mind pushed Travis Scott to a new level of superstardom. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “5% TINT” “YOSEMITE” (feat. Gunna)

 

Clear tamei/ Steel Mogu

Iglooghost

Clear tamei/ Steel MoguIglooghost  (August 8th, 2018)

We’re counting two albums as one entry for this pick. Iglooghost produced two of the most frantic and glitchy electronic projects I have ever experienced. Across these two projects, Ghost weaves together sounds that come straight from your strangest dreams and blends them together with made up words to create a dizzying yet completely focused piece of music that will leave you stunned and confused all at the same time. Honestly part of the appeal of hearing a new Iglooghost project is hearing how he can take all of these different sounds and blend them together into something a little bit foreign but also digestible. With Clear tamei and Steel Mogu, Iglooghost happens to do just that, offering two bite-sized jumping off points for people not familiar with his work to dive into his beautifully crafted worlds. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Clear Tamei”  “Mei Mode”

 

Negro Swan

Blood Orange

Negro SwanBlood Orange  ( August 24th, 2018)

Blood Orange returns once again with his fourth studio album to deliver some of the most beautifully crafted pop music of the year. Throughout this entire project, Orange puts together some of the most delicate and vibrant pieces of this year. Each song is able to wrap its soft melodies and instruments around you as Orange’s voice serenades you track after track. The albums title and skits throughout the record express an idea of black individuality that is desperately needed in today’s current climate. While the album may be easy listening on an instrumental perspective, that doesn’t mean the music presented is not expertly crafted, or that Orange’s words are meant to be taken lightly. The entire experience of Negro Swan is one of not taking things at face value leaving you with a record that demands you actually listen and pay attention to it to hear what it has to offer.  – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks:Saint”  “Charcoal Baby”

 

Tha Carter V

Lil Wayne

To be honest with you, if you had told me even two years ago that Wayne was going to deliver one of the best records of the year, I would have laughed in your face. But now I am beyond ecstatic that Wayne was able to come back and craft a project that reminds the world why he was heralded as one of the greatest in the world. Tha Carter V is a brilliant return to form, from the lighter flick that starts the record to the Swizz Beatz produced throwback “Uproar,” a masterpiece that sounds right out of 2005. Wayne is in perfect form here, sounding present and most importantly clean, despite my knowledge on his current state. This extends through the entire record with wayne dropping clever punchlines and bars like its nothing. The height of Wayne’s ability comes on “Mona Lisa” with Kendrick Lamar, where the two go on for over 5 minutes of pure rap bliss. If you haven’t been all over this record yet then what are you doing? Pay your respects to a legend. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Uproar”  “Mona Lisa”

 

Aviary

Julia Holter

Julia Holter has always had a knack for making tight and finely crafted indie pop that oozes with charm. With her latest record, however, Holter goes in a different direction, going full avant garde pop. The result takes you on a trip of memories and nostalgia filled with some of the most well-layered and composed sections of music in the genre. In certain sections of the music, Holter just lets the instrumental along with different vocal samples blend together, playing them out in elegant harmony, which create some of the most soothing and comforting parts of the entire record. Sitting back and listening to the record while closing your eyes and letting your mind wander almost transports you to a different place entirely, letting the music take your mind away for a ride it will never forget. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Chaitus”  “Colligere”

 

You Won’t Get What You Want

Daughters

When it comes to nightmare-inducing music, this is probably the first record that comes to mind. Daughters has crafted something that embodies pure chaos and destruction. It reaches into your soul and destroys any feelings of joy or laughter. The entire record is covered with dark, hazy guitar breakdowns and industrial noise that’ll leave your ears aching after each listen (in a good way). When my first listen ended for the record all I could think about is how the record left me completely empty but ready to dive right back into it. If hell had a soundtrack, it wouldn’t be some deathcore record, it wouldn’t be some form of heavy metal — it would be this. Pure hurt and anguish over guitars, and it is incredible. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “City Long”  “Less Sex”

 

Fm!

Vince Staples

Fm!Vince Staples (Nov 2nd, 2018)

In the age of online streaming platforms and playlisting, Los Angeles rapper Vince Staples reminds us of the importance of the radio through his newest release, FM!. Thematically characterizing the voice of the streets, gang violence, and the city of LA, Staples forms the release to fit the structure of a FM radio broadcast, with fake DJ live narration and snippets of new songs by Earl Sweatshirt and Tyga. The well known, dark and repetitive instrumentals found in Staples’ music are also found on this release, but with some of the most catchy, bouncy, and hard hitting songs Vince has released to date. Running a short 22 minutes, the release is concise and filled with sharp and quality material with very little filler. This tape is raw, real, and shows that Vince Staples is not an artist to mess with. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Don’t Get Chipped” “FUN!”

 

NOIR

Smino has been proving himself to me in terms of creativity, artistry, and vocal ability since his S!ck S!ck S!ck EP in 2016. Now, following his well received debut LP blkswn, is his new, 2018 release NOIR. NOIR features bouncy, melodic, and fun grooves and verses from Smino and collaborator Monte Booker. His tight flow patterns, colorful vocals, and clever bars and delivery set Smino apart from other rappers in so many ways. In addition, the instrumentals on this album are well-crafted, squishy, and keep the listener attentive through the albums 58 minute length. Smino’s relevancy is at its current peak, which at this pace, I can see only continuing up from here on out. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “TEQUILA MOCKINGBIRD”  “PIZANO”

 

Oxnard

Anderson .Paak

Anderson .Paak is one talented SOB. He can rap, sing, produce and has proven himself to be an extremely talented drummer. So it’s no wonder that .Paak can hone in and deliver something so tight and funky as Oxnard. I admittedly have not always been on the hype train for his music, but everything on Oxnard shatters those previous expectations by delivering some of the most infectious drum patterns and bass lines that I have heard in a long time. From the way he makes his drums pop out and sound as sharp and snappy as a George Clooney in a brand new suit, to the way his baselines bend and groove across each bar, .Paaks creativity and personality shine through. The California artist also makes brilliant use of features on this project with Kendrick Lamar delivering one of the smoothest verses i’ve heard all year on the songTints.” With the power of Dr. Dre behind him and his raw talent and ear for catchy melodies, .Paak delivers a hell of a record. He will no doubt continue to drop phenomenal music in the future. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks: “Tints”  “Sweet Chick”

 

Dicaprio 2

J.I.D

Dicaprio 2J.I.D (November 26th, 2018)

Following his debut LP, The Never Story, his placement on XXL’s Freshman Class list, and his signing to Dreamville records under Hip-Hop Kingpin J.Cole, J.I.D has proved himself to be one of the most promising MC’s in the music world today. With his dark, pulsating, and drug-infused-sounding instrumentals, as well as his constant change of flow pattern and clever lines and delivery, J.I.D has been compared to a young Kendrick Lamar. Ripping through each track, he oozes charisma, cleverness and indisputable talent. Not to mention a laid back bravado that keeps him cool from start to finish. Truly to quote the man himself, “J.I.D so flame, (he) propane rap”. Enough said. – Kaelan Brown

Key Tracks: “Off Deez” (feat J.Cole) “151 Rum”

 

Some Rap Songs

Earl Sweatshirt

When it comes to anxiety and depression-induced raps, nobody delivers like Earl Sweatshirt. On Some Rap Songs, we get a detailed trip into what Earl is going through, including the death of his father, how his parents divorce affected him, and so much more. Earl’s rapping style is incredibly raw even though his rhymes remain dense and sophisticated. Earl’s dense rapping style is also paired with his most experimental production to date, focusing mainly on tight instrumental loops and samples that add to the hazy and anxiety-addled themes of the record. Rather than Earl rapping about how he can get better, Earl instead raps about how he was and currently feels and doesn’t really offer any solutions on those issues other then continuing on living, an idea that he also expresses wasn’t always the case. Some Rap Songs may be the most accurate representation of what true anxiety and depression sound like in hip-hop, and for that it deserves your attention. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks:Shattered Dreams”  “The Mint”

 

Championships

Meek Mill

Not many people can get their career back on track like quite Meek Mill. After having a strong start, his trajectory was completely derailed by the now infamous beef with Drake in 2015. This was followed by a series of prison stints due to a drawn out legal case that was meant to keep him in prison for the rest of his life. Thankfully Meek made it through those troubles to deliver his most solid and emotionally moving record to date. He’s has never sounded this good. With what he has gone through as a starting point, Meek delivers a project that touches on his past struggles while also celebrating his triumphs. He is looking forward to how he can not only better himself, but how he can better his community around him. Meek dives deep in the title track Championships; placed halfway through the album, it solidifies the theme of perseverance against all odds. Meek is at the top of his game for the entire record and the same goes for those featured, such as Jay-Z, who drops perhaps the best verse of the year on the track What’s Free. The song also features Rick Rock, who holds his own. Championships serves as a return party for Meek and does a magnificent job of solidifying Meeks status as an M.C. to look out for. – Kyle M-B

Key Tracks:What’s Free”  “Championships”

Unwrapping FOIL: A Platform for Anything Experimental

FOIL is a new community of musicians and artists in Richmond aiming to create a platform for experimentation by like-minded folks.

Words and Photos by Sam Mullany

“We wanted to give people a place—sometimes physical and sometimes digital—to try
new things and feel supported in doing so,” explains Liza Pittard, the co-creator of FOIL. Liza recently moved to Richmond from Charlottesville, where she and Matt Dowdy were a part of the
university radio scene at UVA. Both of the opinion that being involved in any kind of music
scene in a university setting can seem too formal at times, they wanted to break away and start
something that felt more organic. Liza and Matt formed a band, In Fosa, which is where things
started for FOIL. For the band, FOIL was a creative outlet, as well as a way of bringing people
together. “A big part of it comes down to creating a sense of community amongst artists and
having a platform where we can uplift our friends and peers whose work may not be
showcased in any other way.” Liza goes on, “We want people to be able to take risks with their
art/fashion/identities while being supported and having fun.” Although much of the creative
energy around FOIL exists online, this value of physical spaces where musicians, artists, and
audience members feel comfortable trying new things free of judgement is central.

FOIL had their first event in September, a debut basement show of ten plus musical
acts, with collaborative visual elements by Mitchell Craft, Meesh Kislyakov and Will Jones. Liza
and Matt encouraged performers and visual artists to collaborate to make the event (which
turned out to be a sort of one night festival) into a multimedia experience, that was both
unconventional, and fun. “I was really happy with how it went. We had a lot of people
performing for the first time and the audience was supportive and open, which I think made for
a perfect environment for people to put themselves out there in that way.” says Liza.

Matt and Liza see FOIL events as creative undertakings in their own right, so each new
event will be unique to the rest. FOIL functions as a music label, and has several left field
electronic music releases lined up for this fall, but Liza and Matt also have plans of showcasing
local creatives working in other mediums. Liza comes from a visual arts background, so the the
visual curation of each project is important to her. There are plans for a wide variety of content
curation and publication moving forward: limited edition VHS releases, music videos, and
online screening of time-based work, to name a few. “Visual art is very important to both of us
and a constant in creative conversations regarding FOIL. We want to be as open and
exploratory as possible with collaborations which hopefully could lead to working with artists
interested in dance, fashion, videography, photography, installation art, performance, and
theater.” says Matt. On the general spirit of FOIL, Liza adds, “Although it’s primarily a music
project, I think our ethos of experimentation and community extends far beyond sound. We’re
interested in the intersections.” It is easy to sense the excitement and possibility around FOIL’s
future, and the possibility for involvement with Richmond artists.

FOIL has a compilation album out this Friday (12.07.18) and their second show is this Saturday (12.08.18), featuring hankycheif, AUTODIVA, Net 12 fl OZ, and Anatha Flay

An Audition With Shy Lennox

Ink staff member Kaelan Brown sat down with Richmond’s soul child, Shy Lennox, and discussed the in’s and out’s of his new EP, “Audition”.

Under the fluorescent colored lights of Flora Cafe, Shy Lennox is a ribbon. He’s running between his friends and his band, tying the final pieces together for a night he’s been looking forward to for years. His sequin green shorts and the sparkling makeup on his face shine against the flash of photographers cameras. Family and friends looking to get a shot with him. I had worked with Shy for months in preparation of his newly released EP, Audition, his first official full release, aside from several singles that have given him his name and figure as a blossoming new artist in Richmond’s creative scene. Shy’s first release, Afterblunts, increased his traction in Richmond as well as in communities around the world; reaching over three hundred thousand plays on Spotify, as well as being falsely posted and credited as being written by a YouTuber in Japan, a mistake Shy made sure to clear up. Shy, as well as his music, has a calming presence, something that people recognize when they first hear or meet him. His impact is clear as the club begins to flood with the movement of local Richmonders and VCU students trying to get a front spot in the beautiful boiling melting pot of the crowd. I had talked to him earlier in the day about an interview we had planned, but to Shy, the day of his music release was also to be the day of stress release and self reflection. He explained that he was going to be spending the day entirely silent, giving himself some time to organize his mind and manage his thoughts before his performance. I run into Shy before the show and tell him how proud we all are for his release. He gives me a hug, dramatically poses for a picture to show off his curated concert outfit, and heads back to his band to finish organizing his set.

The year previous to his release show was a time of work ethic and execution for Shy. I remember talking to him during one of our various recording sessions for Audition, and him telling me how important each song was to him,  how this body of music he was working to create was going to be the frame to his portrait as a musician. The EP discusses feelings of lost love, self love, and desire, all things that knowing Shy personally, we’ve discussed as friends.

I laugh when I think of how Shy introduces himself to new people, and how someone who doesn’t know Shy may react to hearing his new EP. Shy may meet you in person and introduce himself as “Shy, like the feeling,” when Audition is far from shy in delivery, soul, and heart. The opening track to the EP, Signs, kicks things off in a particularly sensual mood. Shy confidently boasts over his feelings for his lover, and declares that he isn’t scared to engage in the way he’s feeling. As the EP progresses, Shy gets to know this love interest and flush out their relationship, revealing what each member wants from the other. The turning point in the EP is during the song Hennything, when Shy begins to question why the relationship has begun to fall out. Shy seems to want things to stay casual, explaining to his love interest that he just wants to “smoke, and drink, and fuck.” The song, Tuesday (Interlude), finally shows the breaking point in the relationship, explaining how Shy “fell in love on a Tuesday” and “got his heart broken on a Wednesday.” AA, the track Shy and I personally worked on most in the studio, discusses the sense of payment that Shy feels he is owed from being misused by his lover. Finally, the EP concludes with the song Better Man, which sums up Shy’s feelings of love loss, but also faith in the future to come.

The EP as a whole carefully walks the listener through a seemingly common encounter with a potential partner, that blossoms into something much larger and impactful on the narrator. Shy, crooning often through beautiful, multilayered, almost operatic choirs of somber vocals reveals his vulnerability to his audience, and completely opens himself to his emotions. Granting this sense of passage to his listeners is what I believe attracts people to Shy. Throughout his EP he expresses blunt honesty, longing, and absolute, pure love. This album is a quiet droplet of rain that crashes into my emotional barriers like a monsoon, sweeping me away into its oceans to still find myself calmly floating on the surface.

In Flora, as the show opener, Richmond’s Alfred, aka The Creature Alfred, aka Aaron Brown, begins their set, the sense of family that I feel around me stumbles into my heart, sitting there for the remainder of the evening. This gathering of the DIY Hip-Hop and R&B community provides a sense of inclusion for all people, something I’ve been so lucky to encounter and examine over the past couple of years. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this community, and I attribute my inclusion to several friends I have made during my time in Richmond, Shy Lennox being one of them.

 “The concept of auditioning, whether it is in a romantic sense, whether it’s with friends, whether its for a part or a role, I feel like you’re either gonna feel the regret or the hurt and the pain and just the discomfort that comes with not being able to fit that part or you’re gonna be like ‘Fuck that shit! I’m still a bomb ass person even if Im not what they’re looking for.’ Or you get the shit and go on to the next.”

– Shy Lennox

Shy, still only the age of twenty one, still has plenty of auditioning to do. As he works his way into the music industry as an up and coming artist, the process of auditioning will always be present, whether it be in front of label representatives or other musicians. I do think Shy has one advantage over others who may be “auditioning” for their roles in life: Shy understands himself, he’s not afraid to be exactly who he wants to be and say what he wants to say. Audition, shows Shy following through in expressing his truth, sorrow, and full self. He opens up to his audience in a way that I don’t think many Richmond artists have done before. As I watch Shy perform in front of the sardine packed crowd of Flora Cafe, I can see a shine in his eyes deep beyond the glitter on his face. A smile opens up wide and the band begins to play. I see Shy here in his happiest form, auditioning for his audience, for his friends, for his family. I think it’s safe to say that Shy will be getting a callback.

Words by Kaelan Brown
Photo by Kylie Newcomb

Flotsam + Jetsam

A fashion editorial shot on location at Caravati’s, Richmond’s oldest supplier of architectural salvage. Shot by Maya Jackson and Kadeem Morris for Ink Magazine. Video by Tj Rinoski and John Schengber of Skinny Dipper Magazine.

Creative Direction by Kristina Dickey
Film Photography by Maya Jackson
Digital Photography by Kadeem Morris
Styling by Katherine Manson and Kristina Dickey
Models by Concepción Blake and Diansakhu Banton-Perry
Makeup by Katie Williams
Assistance by Lordina Nyarko
Video by Skinny Dipper Magazine (Tj Rinoski and John Schengber)

FASHION CRUSH FRIDAY: Cowboy Boots

Yes, you can wear them in the city.

(via: Ganni, Veronika Heilbrunner)

Western style boots have gained popularity over the last few years, considered a surprise trend at 2017 fashion weeks (like this double facing boot from hood by air New York show, or more subtly peeking out from under ranchwear influenced collars and buttons in almost every one of Raf Simons Calvin Klein Collection looks).

(Via: IMAXTREE / Alessandro Lucioni)

Calvin Klein spring show featuring a myriad of color blocked double pocket shirts, trousers, and boots.

After recent AW18 fashion weeks, it’s clear these boots aren’t going anywhere. If you’ve been wanting to embody the cowboy hat emoji, now is a better time than ever. Cool for dressing up and down, transitioning between seasons, and protecting your toes from busy sidewalks, here’s some dreamy street style looks to finish convincing you that you need a pair.

Imani Randolph pairs simple but amazing white boots with a flowy dress and blazer to balance.

(via: Man Repeller, Louisiana Mei Gelpi.)

Aimee Song styles more colorful boots with an equally vibrant top and bag.

(via: Song of Style, Aimee Song)

Use as is or with a pop of color for easy prairie core.

(via: collage vintage)

(via ASOS)

Words by Cali Carter

Why the Utility/Workwear Trend Could Be Problematic

Following the acceptance of athleisure and normcore within the past couple of years, Utility/Workwear has had its own steady rise in the trend cycle since 2017 (and yes, it still lacks a catchy little name). Like the trends that preceded it, utility/workwear is only the latest to challenge conventional ideas of luxury. Athleisure has enabled biker shorts to become an acceptable pair with heels, and Normcore has allowed for the return of the Nike Monarch IV beyond caucasian dads.

Words by Nico Gavino

via @awende_official on Instagram

In 2017 traditional workwear brands like Dickies and Carhartt were picked up by streetwear brands like Opening Ceremony and Vetements for special collaborations. This popularization of classic American workwear in streetstyle didn’t happen overnight, Carhartt made its own crossover into streetwear when the brand founded it’s lifestyle division in 1994. The crossover of workwear brands into streetwear is not a story we haven’t heard before. Jeans, which have become a universal fashion staple were originally purposed for workwear. After being widely used among builders, railway workers, and farmers in 19th century, denim was adopted by youth subcultures in the 20th century and eventually made into the stores of designers like Gucci and Calvin Klein by the 70s and 80s.

The current utility/workwear trend has evolved into the adoption of what often resembles the high-vis garments you might see on a construction site. It seems as though Instagram streetstyle and Hypebeast culture have taken queues from construction site styles with the adoption of utility vests, carpenter pants, cargo pockets, decorative hardware, reflective panels, and neon color palettes. Calvin Klein’s FW18 collection included a full on fireman inspired look and this year’s SS19 runway shows showcased utility belts and cargo pockets from Fendi, and a number of utility/workwear inspired looks from Louis Vuitton including a neon orange utility vest.  

1: via MontrealGotStyle by Yannis Vlamos, 2: via Imaxtree, 3: via the Cut by Alessandro Lucioni

Virgil Abloh’s utility inspired pieces in Louis Vuitton’s SS19 show were not his first dip into the trend. Beginning in 2012, Abloh’s own luxury streetwear brand, Off-White produced pieces that took inspiration from industrial aesthetics. With his growing influence in the industry and beyond, it’s no doubt that his brand has played a role in the trend’s rise. What separates Abloh’s previous work from the utility inspired pieces we’ve seen this season is the subtlety of his inspiration. So far Off-White’s industrial inspiration has not gone much further than caution stripes and factory labelling. In more recent seasons we have seen pieces from across the runway that look more like elevated replications of utility/workwear than subtle inspiration.

via: Off-White

In recent history the upward flow theory which says that trends begin with younger low-income groups and are then adopted by high-income groups has become the most prevalent theory of fashion adoption. But as the utility/workwear trend follows this pattern, it’s hard not to notice the irony in it. The trend is arguably the antithesis of luxury high fashion. To put it frankly, high fashion’s adoption of workwear juxtaposes symbols of blue-collar livelihoods into leisure for the rich. It’s clear that none of these high fashion spins on workwear are actually meant for labor. The Carhartt x Vetements shirt jacket retails for just under $1,000. No one rocking a Fendi utility belt or a Louis Vuitton utility vest is here to fix the sink.

So is the trend simply a repetition of history? Or is this high fashion’s latest form of appropriation?

The word appropriation almost always implies appropriation of national or ethnic culture, and high fashion is no stranger to that. In 2016 we saw Marc Jacobs take heat for styling white models with dreadlocks, and we saw Moschino called out for its irresponsible use of Hindu iconography. But in this case, the adoption of the utility/workwear trend appropriates symbols of blue-collar livelihood. We’ve seen similar phenomenons with Kanye West’s early Yeezy collections which bluntly stated, resembled distressed Gildan sweats with an earthy color palette. Frankly, these styles could easily be read as an appropriation of working class life as well.

Why is this problematic? Though the meaning behind these styles doesn’t hold the same cultural significance as dreadlocks or the religious significance of Hindu icons, there are implications behind their use in high fashion. When high end brands capitalize on styles originally purposed for working class labor, it detracts from the often grueling work behind blue collar jobs and makes light of the large economic gap between the working class and high fashion consumers who are most commonly upper class.

But what about denim? Denim has followed a largely similar path to the utility/workwear trend. Both have made their way from laborers, to youth subcultures, and then to the runway. Nobody is saying we have to ditch denim in 2019, it’s just one of many styles that have loaded histories. It’s important to note that overtime many of these styles have lost their original purposes. Today, denim is more associated with casual wear than any kind of physical labor. That’s not said to be an excuse; in 2018 we have access to information like no other generations have. At the click of a button we can get a crash course on unethical manufacturing or cultural appropriation.

The paradoxical trend stands in a unique position among other ethical problems in fashion, as it interacts directly with the inaccessibility of high fashion to the working class. With the size of these brands it’s less than likely that they will be held accountable for these issues or even make note of them. As awareness of issues like this is becoming more accessible through the internet, it is ultimately our job to remain conscious of what we buy and what we wear. At the end of the day we, as consumers are responsible for which trends we participate in and give power to.

The Living Room

Ink staff member Cali Carter sat down with VCU alum Aaron Brown who, alongside Air Force Vet Jacob Fonseca, runs emerging community space “The Living Room” to talk music, art, plants, and demons.

 

What is The Living Room?

The living room is a plant boutique, so we curate different plants that we think are dope, they’re tropical in nature, and we put them out here for you guys to purchase. It’s also a co-working space, so come in here, do work, chill- and we have artists come in here so it’s a great opportunity to bring the community together, free of charge. We host different events in this space, like yoga classes, we’re about to start a poetry slam too, in December. We have clothing pop ups, art pop ups, we do a thrift boutique called ungrateful bastards- lots of dope stuff, a communal space. And we sell plants!

Where did the name come from?

Ok cool, so… my brother Jacob, he’s the co owner, came up with that. He was in the living room at home, trying to think of a name, then he just sat down on the couch, and as soon as he sits down, he’s like “The Living Room!” It’s like a double entendre.

What inspired you to open the space?

Jacob’s really into plants and nature, I wasn’t, to be honest, I was just a musician. He gave me a fiddle leaf fig tree and was like, “try to take care of this.” I said, “bro I’m gonna kill this for sure,” like, there was no way. That tree is over in the window now, he’s still living, super dank, people make me offers for him all the time. After that tree, it just kept going, my plants grew, a lot of those over there are mine. I got into it, I was looking to invest, and I was like “well bro… let’s do it!” It’s all God inspired, all God guided, we’re very spiritual people, we just follow.

 

 

How did art and music influence your vision for the space? Did any specific artists shape that scene here? Or just culture in general?

Yeah that’s everything, I’d say it’s the culture in general. Jacob and I are both musicians. I’m a rapper, producer, engineer, and he’s a DJ, producer, engineer, so our whole idea was to take the things we like, the things we do, our culture, and try to embody it into a space. This is the brainchild of our creative minds, at least one portion of it.

Where would you love The Living Room to be a year from today?

Ooohhh, that’s cool. I would like to see it as a space where when people come to Richmond, they’re coming to The Living Room. Whether it’s celebrities or other horticulture people, I just want it to be a spot where its like- yeah we gotta go to Living Room, gotta pick up a plant. That’s definitely my goal, and of course, I wanna see it help a lot of people too, for sure.

What’s your favorite thing about Richmond? Why open here?

We’re both born and raised here, it doesn’t make sense to start anywhere else. Maybe we’ll franchise out, that’s one of the dreams, but this is home. We can help the economy here, we can help the community here, if we can help the people, why not?

You mentioned growing, would you open in another city?

Yeah, definitely something we’d do. Hawaii’s a spot were interested in, and Puerto Rico. Miami would be cool, I’d love to open there, and New York for sure. We’ll show Cali some love too.

 

 

What has surprised you so far, since opening the space?

Oh yeah, all of it. We really were excited to put this space together, but of course you have dreams, like how this will be, how this will happen, even the space in general, we made all from scratch, started from nothing and just went head first. Then CBS-6 was interested, Richmond Experience hit us up, R Home, you guys, it’s just been a blessing, it’s really dope.

Did you have any expectations before opening?

I can’t speak for Jacob, a lot of this is his vision. He brought me on, I added a twist, another aesthetic to it, and I added the finances. I’m on the business side, and I was like, I don’t see many successful plant stores, but something on the inside was like- do it, do it, do it.

Favorite or most memorable couch convo here?

The craziest one that always sticks out to me, if you’ve read the CBS-6 article on our opening, we told the story of how I got the money to do this. My house burned down, there was some crazy spiritual entity in my house, we spoke to that whole situation in the article. After we’d been open for like two weeks, five or six kids came in, Jacob and I were both here, it was like a western showdown- they stood in a line and then we stood in a line, and they said tell us the story. I said “where do you want us to start?”, and they said “the demon,” so we all sit on the couch and we tell them the story, it was crazy, pretty cool. But everyday we get to talk to people who are creators, or are creators in their heart but haven’t embarked yet, on their journey. We tell them, hey, there’s a way in this world, a way to grow sustainably, what you want. You don’t have to follow the curve or conform, you can do what you love and still be successful.

Anyone particular you’d love to have a couch conversation with?

Oh Bodega Rose would be super dope. I would love for Sean Wotherspoon to come here too, I actually spoke to him before the grand opening, he wanted to try to make it, so that would be cool, and so would really any influential person who came through.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a business?

Honestly, I can just tell you what we did, we stayed true to the vision. There’ll be so many opportunities for you to cut corners, or to just quit, to say maybe this isn’t smart. There’s gonna be a million opportunities to do that, it happened to me. If you stay true to your vision, to what you believe in, and you put the energy out there, that energy will come back.

 

 

Words and Photos by Cali Carter

Fashion Crush Friday: Jeff Goldblum

The Hollywood star who’s giving us hope that it’s never too late to become a style icon.


Jeff Goldblum in a Prada shirt and trousers, paired with Balenciaga sneakers. (via: Sharp Magazine, Matt Barnes)

Over the last five decades Jeff Goldblum has earned his place as a Hollywood icon. The blockbuster actor, most recognizable for his roles in Jurassic Park, Annie Hall, The Fly, and Independence Day, has also launched a career in Jazz music and has recently gained attention for being one of Hollywood’s flyest dressers.

At 66, Goldblum has been included in Vanity Fair’s Best Dressed of 2018 list and even won British GQ’s Icon of the Year award. For all of this, we can thank Goldblum’s LA based stylist, Andrew T. Vottero, who only began working with him about two years ago. The collaboration between the two has created a distinct and original style for Goldblum, only enhancing the eccentric and multi-faceted persona he has built for himself.

Goldblum receiving the Icon of the Year award by British GQ in September, 2018. (Via: @jeffgoldblum on Instagram)

Aside from gracing our eyes with his captivating smile and infecting us with his youthful charisma, some of Goldblum’s best looks come straight from his instagram. His meme-inspired captions infused with internet lingo are the cherry on top of all of it.

The latest in a series of posts where Goldblum sports printed Prada button-ups is captioned  “…felt cute, might delete later.” followed by a trio of playful emojis. If that’s not the best thing you’ve ever seen, I don’t know what to tell you.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

…felt cute, might delete later. 🤷🏻‍♂️🤳🏽🤓

A post shared by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Goodness, gracious… 🔥🔥🔥 @prada @atvottero

A post shared by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on

“Goodness, gracious…” is right! Goldblum in another Prada top, this time with split prints.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

SURVIVAL UTOPIA. 🖤🦖🖤

A post shared by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on

 

Goldblum’s love for zebra prints is made no secret as you scroll through his Instagram page. Rather than isolating the print to one piece, Goldblum goes all in, layering his animal print pieces into a bold cohesive look. Under his latest zebra inspired look the caption reads “Into the Wild!” followed by the hashtags “#zebradad #zebradaddy #zaddy #didthat”. If anybody deserves the title “Zebra Daddy” it’s Jeff Goldblum.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Into the Wild! @isabelmarant @atvottero #zebradad #zebradaddy #zaddy #didthat 🙏🏼🔑🦓⚡️🖤

A post shared by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on

 

 

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Today’s shoe and sock situation. What sound does a zebra make? 🦓🦓🦓 (👟🧦⚗️✨: @atvottero)

A post shared by Jeff Goldblum (@jeffgoldblum) on

Goldblum giving us double Zebra once more, this time on his feet.

Don’t be fooled by his taste for those flashy Prada button ups and his fondness for animal prints, Goldblum values comfort over all, and has some favorite pieces he rewears on a regular basis. Vottero shared with Vogue that you won’t find Goldblum participating in Hollywood’s “wear-once-and-dispose” habits. On a laid back kind of day Goldblum told GQ you could find him sporting his favorite Saint Laurent leather biker jacket paired with some black Acne jeans (which he prefers with some stretch).

Not only is his style journey refreshing and original, but it also sends an important message in a society that tells us that with age our wardrobes should become reserved and conservative. Goldblum says yes to wearing double zebra print, yes to wearing wacky double printed Prada shirts, and yes to wearing Balenciaga dad sneakers as an actual dad. Goldblum’s spirit breaks the mold for people his age and shows us that even in the later part of your life, we should  continue exploring our abilities and tastes to express ourselves to the fullest.

Words by Nico Gavino

Stolen Steps

An eyewitness look at the Washington, D.C., protests against Brett Kavanaugh’s  nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Shot and Directed by Fiona Penn

Three weeks ago Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court amid allegations of sexual assault and lying under oath. Numerous Americans, myself included, were frustrated with the way the Senate seemed to dismiss the compelling testimony of Christine Blasey Ford.

Protesters gathered outside of the Supreme Court as the Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh. Some publicly shared their traumatic experiences while under the scrutiny of numerous Kavanaugh and Trump supporters. Others chanted for hours, passed out water and snacks, held those who were crying, or just stood in silent resolve.

By the end of the day, 164 people were arrested for protesting.

I joined the protests that day and documented the experience.