Embracing The Envelope




If you're like me, you spend a couple hours every morning in your white room meditating on the vastness of the Japanese streetwear market, chanting that enlightening and deep mantra of "what the fuck. what the fuck. what the fuck." Seriously, that motherfucker is huge, son; did you know there are 4 Supreme shops around the base of Mt. Rishiri alone? And they don’t even have a skate park, let alone a weed spot. While American lines are, for the most part, stuck in perpetual clever t shirt mode, Japanese brands cover enough ground to turn on everyone from art skaters to junkie fags, with full range apparel lines willing and able to push (or conversely embrace) the envelope thanks to a comparatively hyperactive market. While there’s something to be said for the opportunity to viably create in new and different ways, it’s not always a, for lack of a worse term, good thing. For example, one could argue fairly effectively that from a design POV, denim crotch screen-printing is not an (one more time) inherently “good” innovation stemming from a receptive and consumptive market, if you get my drift.

In the context of a large and receptive market, the concept of embracing the envelope rather than pushing it, and the pitfalls of tacky innovation, let me introduce Japanese brand Nonnative, and their elemental take on street style.

  • Pricele$$; back for the bread.

  • Jayson Musson is sonning sons, namely you. The question occurs to me, though; how fast is this cat going to get swept up in the commercial end of all this shit? I throw this out there only because Musson makes second and third wave cats like Shephard Fairey and Kaws look like Norman Rockwell.

  • I'm not going to bullshit you, there's not too much "cool" in the British Knights equation, but for some reason when PWM hit me up with their Dirty Ones exhibition I had to at the very least, say word. I mean, dude went through some hassle to get these BKs produced, you can't really front on that.

Anyway, Merry Christmas fuckers! Thanks for reading, emailing, hating, correcting, Myspacing, downloading, contributing, and all of that good shit in 2005. Baby Jesus forever!


Half on a Sack

Is cocaine raps most unsung substance? With the inordinate amount of rock being cooked in the industry today, you have to figure that at least a couple grams have made their way up a skinny skinny Benjamin, straight into the rhyme zone of your favorite rapper slash drug dealer. In a genre (pop, no less) where reality not only bites, but sells, artists have the freedom to admit all their, well, let's call them "indiscretions"; from borderline date rape and murder, all the way up through the especially hot pop crime of the day- producing and distributing crack cocaine. So you're going to tell me that these cats make millions by putting in major work with big bricks and pollying with record execs, but somehow manage to keep their noses clean? Bullshit. I call it on any crack rappers that claim real life, but pick and choose their experiences based on what’s selling records. For example, slanging heroin is just as real/profitable as moving rocks, but it’s not en vogue, and dare I say, not a “black drug” in the way crack has become in the media. On the other hand, rocks are so in fashion this year that an artist can build their entire image on it. Somewhat surprisingly, cocaine, like heroin unsurprisingly, remains avant guard in today’s hyper real rap world. Why rappers end the Scarface act there, I could not tell you- perhaps it’s the white mans drug stigma, or maybe Biggie ingrained the “don’t get high on your own supply” adage so deeply in the DNA of modern rap, that it'll be years before it fades. Fortunately for jaded ears wanting a new drug, there are lyrically progressive artists out there pushing the reality envelope and openly admitting their affinity for ski slopes.

Three Six Mafia "Half on a Sack"
Juvenile "Powder Bag" (thanks to Cocaine Blunts)
Juelz Santana "Pick it Up"
Raekwon "Knowledge God"
Raekwon "Knuckleheadz"


Weekend Wars

Baltimore, tonight

Baltimore, Thursday

Baltimore, Friday

Vancouver, Saturday

Williamsburg, Friday through Sunday

Baltimore, later in the month, but RSVP to get in

Sorry Bout this lame type of post, but I'm mad real this week; working on assignments for The Fader, Wax Poetics, Complex and City Paper. Papes, son, papes.


The Truth, 1940-2005

Washington Post

Gettin' The Nut
My Funeral


Twelve Inches Revealed

BBC & Spank Rock "Back Yard Betty" 12" release party this Saturday @ The Ottobar. , hit 'em up. Free National Bohemiam, 9-10. Free pussy grinding, 10-2.

Talk about Skateboard P...

Props to Nike for coming with the Blue Iris Pack, these are way better than the High Pitch Eric Dunks from last year.


Boost subscribers- fiend out.


Two Legit

Dave Denis, Glynnis Mcdaris

Could Dave Denis be any larger or possibly more in charge in the land of the rising sun? With JP distribution that's exponentially larger than his stateside circuit, it makes one wonder; are American consumers truly not ready for higher end wear that's not either blatant conspicuous consumption or alternately on the metro vampire fantasy tip? With a collection that blends seamlessly into a wardrobe constructed of smart streetwear, thriftstore finds, surplus and parental hand me downs, Dave Denis again shows vanguard tendencies with a S/S '06 collection that may seem excessively inconspicuous to those with a need for over the top sartorial gestures, but hit the spot for a small and sharp minded crowd interested less in showing off and more in honing a personal style that's thoughtfully casual.


On the topic of lines who do low key and smart in the context of streetwear, I would be remiss to not mention the designs of UK brand Answer, who now in their second proper season have created another collection of simple but captivating graphics for sometimes subdued but always thinking minds. Featuring work by indie rock godfather Daniel Johnston and famously multi-school photographer Jon Naar, Answer succeeds where others may fail; creating a truly unique referential position in the context of cotton.


The Year in Bass

With 2005 being yet another fully proper year for DnB, I can't help but lament the void of drum n bass coverage in mainstream American legitimately "cool" media. DnB was the "smarty art nigga" music critic's young hot and brainy girlfriend for that brief period in the mid 90s; but as the Yes-like urban concept albums stopped coming and DnB returned to it's clearly-on-the-sleeve dancefloor roots, the genre found itself, for the most part, on the outs with the in-crowd. "Wahh! we want brainy drum edits, bleak song titles and double bass!" they said. Soon enough the fanfare would fully subside, and DnB would be written off as "just another dance genre" by anyone not already covering dance music. Used and abused... watch out grime.

So in 2005 what holds Jungle back from the pages of smart media like The Fader, Vice, Pitchfork and the rest? Too corporate, perhaps? Negative dun. To the greatest extent, DnB is just as, if not more, independent than most indie rock, punk, rap or even en vogue weirdo folk artists. I'd argue that the real issue lies within a few problem areas; the aforementioned rave roots (raver and hipster are still mutually exclusive, no matter what !!! & LCD Soundystem say), the also aforementioned media darlinghood that seems to have unfortunately relegated the genre to "passe fad" status, the genres relative old age, and lastly the shrinking Jungle DJ circuit in the states. Were DnB as baby fresh today as it were back in the days of "Circles" the lack of a circuit wouldn't stop anyone from covering it, but at 10 years plus it needs that energy for it to live beyond the UK.

Nonetheless, considering smart medias increasing hard-on for frequently foreign rhythm driven genres like French and Japanese rap, dancehall, Baltimore club, UK grime, German techno and Baile Funk to name a few, it seems shortsighted to not look past the rave stigma and and acknowledge another foreign groove not much different from it's cousins.

At it's core, current DnB bears a striking resemblance to the classic Jamaican dub scene; independent studio artists creating and manipulating grooves for a mad and up for it crowd; much like Bmore club, much like dancehall and very much like the rest. From the ganja to the dub plates to the bass to the Djs and selectors, DnB, like now celebrated classic dub, is a rich and already historied scene. If we, like Jungle, have learned anything from dub, it's that a riddim is a riddim, isn't it?


10. Generation Dub "Sexy Beast"
9. Fracture & Neptune "Firefly"
8. Mr L "Moonwalking"
7. Zen "Rhubarb N Custard"
6. Dillinja "All The Things"
5. D Bridge "Dolls"
4. Total Science "Going in Circles (A.I. Remix)"
3. Hive "Krush"
2. TC "New Year"
1. Baron "Operation Pipedream"


Extinguish Styles Extremist

Unravel the mystery this Saturday with Mishka at Digi Grav's new monthly jump, The Gravel Pit. Ghettotech plate master Ron Morelli joins Mishka's own My Pal The Crook on the wheels, and come prepared slash correct for a 10-11 open bar scenario with giveaways to boot (their new gear is out, check the link...).

  • If you read the skate pages you might have already seen this, but check it out again... I've watched it like six times. Watching old skate vids is like listening to folk music- mad chill. Via Lil' Ray Ray.
  • It's official, I'm behind the curve; has anyone heard of Baltimore band Kreeps (third down), signed to OMG-worthy Output records? I feel like I'm 35...
  • I'm not sure who parties hardier; Them Finest or The Karate Cokehead. We all know who's better at saving the Hollerboard...
  • If you're interested in staying up on Bmore's Shop Gentei, Myspace is the place. Dudes got in their skate hardware (that's trucks and decks etc, for all you non snorters), even more shoes, House33, and a smattering of Clientele headwear. Did I mention they got nod from
  • While not the bastion of street cred that A Silent Flute is (jk), I've gotta admit's street snaps, Global Cool, are a good look.
  • If you like to read about things that make you handle your pud, you might be surprised, as I, to find that Luke Ford has chosen a new editor in chief- nicely butt-holed porno pot head Taylor Rain. On the real, Luke Ford was the first blog I ever read.
  • Crown Dozen is having a mad t shirt giveaway contest. Make it randy.