When I was a student, studying design, I was always taught that everything goes round in circles, reverting back to previous trends, that we look to the past to gain inspiration , we just tweak it, revamp, sprinkling a bit of personal flavour, a few added colours and make it into something new. I felt the very same applied to Hip Hop music, maybe that’s why I gravitated so much towards it, and later formulated King of the beats.
Sampling culture is like design, taking something from the past, that sound, that groove that you feel drawn towards, taking into that sampler, your canvas stripping it down, thickening it up, what ever. Like a designer you are going to turn it into something new, which is going to be of the now. Whether its a juggle on 2 turn tables or a beat. The principles are just the same. The techniques are just different.
Unfortunately I never really fully applied that way of thinking towards my T-shirt designs or graphics. The generation I came up in, in regards to Hip Hop was tough; we had a very hard core attitude, not really open to much. It was either our way or no way. I ended up making T-shirts for people of my generation. A little error on my part as time went on. I never fully explored my potential or really pushed other peoples creativity within my circle. Watching Chris Malbon develop grow as a designer and watching, and getting know Marley Marls Son Marlon, and Jazzy Jay Son who are involved in the music and culture now. I started to recognize and identify that I was disconnected from the youth or the future flavours.
The kings of the beats events were perfect as they bridged the gap. We developed a lot on new talents and put people together. Whether they give us the props for that or not. I always use Italy as a example the work there over a few years, the evidence was there over the 4 years you hear the improvement in the sound especially from those that repeatedly entered. Italy should be proud of a man like Maurizio who shared and understood my vision.
Recently going to events where I’d be seeing people who dress Hip Hop for the weekend. Claiming to live it and that’s who they are, sounds ridiculous as you can see it and feel it. you love it, It’s just a part of your life, and that’s fine. What I do and who I am, I do every day. I want what ever I design to be relevant to somebody everyday, Style played a huge part in Hip Hop, exploited these days, as Busta Rhymes puts it, ‘by people who don’t give a F$£K about it’, but still it was a played a huge fundamental part in the whole ethos of self expression.
Like listening to Tribe Called Quest, I never get bored of ‘Midnight Marauders’. I want to be able to maintain my integrity and message, but improve it and update it visually. Eric Orr aerosol writer along side Artful Dodger have made that transition and kept up with the times. Johnny Juice, DJ Disk, Cutmaster Swift and even Diamond D have all also able to move with the times, keep up to date with their craft and still be major players in there field. This is why I have decided to reinvent my clothing brand, and develop my visual design skills as well as bringing new talent through.
Hence I am announcing a competition to look for new designers of Tees. To bring into the family and help develop, elevate visually my brand, maintaining foremost the integrity of all my years work. To help deliver garms that will have the old and young want to rock day in day out.