chan5Let’s think about green. Not green as in drug use or the actual color green but green as in young, as in unseasoned. Green as in fresh to the game. Some people look at this term negatively, but Chance the Rapper, is making it work in his favor. At only 20 years old (soon to be 21), Chance is already taking over the rap world without the help of a record label.

When you talk to me about current rap, more than likely it will elicit a laugh. Some of the stuff that qualifies as rap nowadays is a complete joke. To be honest, it’s more of a mockery of real rap; the art that was perfected by the likes of Biggie, Tupac, Nas and other rap legends. But, Chance the Rapper is an artist that has recently made me reconsider.

chan2Although he’s not a household name, Chance is making his way into studios and onto stages around the world. Chance has performed with the likes of Childish Gambino, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. With a resume like that, you have to wonder why he’s not signed yet, but come to find out this is a personal choice. “We’re chillin. It’s a label of us right now—just me and Pat [my manager]. Right now it’s a great system. No one’s telling us how some shit should sound, giving us a date to have the tape done by…Right now, I just love making music…making the music I want to, making funny songs or making love songs or making Trap music, or making whatever I want to make at the moment,” Chance told Hip Hop DX.

But Chance, also known as Chancelor Bennett, a kid from Chicago, eventually began to wonder what else life had to offer him. From a young age, Chance knew he wasn’t going to have a regular 9-5 he told Interview Magazine, but his inspiration came from another Chicago native, the notorious Kanye West. When College Dropout debuted in 2004 it was the first rap album Chance had ever purchased, “Kanye took me from a kid who listened to music, to a kid who lived music,” he said in an interview with Rolling Stone. From that moment he started writing more, performing more, working to perfect his art.

chan4Chance’s first EP was sparked by his 10 day suspension from school for drug use. Appropriately enough, it was titled 10 Day. Compared to Rappers Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and the ‘old’ Kanye, Chance incorporated laid-back soul samples and ingenious word play that brought attention to his work. A year later, after some maturation, he dropped his latest EP Acid Rap which has garnered attention from multiple record labels and big name artists. Acid Rap was even nominated for “Best Mixtape of the Year,” at the BET Hip Hop Awards.

Acid Rap. It’s a thought provoking name. There’s a million different ways you can interpret his title but Chance doesn’t try to hide the inspiration for the name. “I won’t ever know what Acid Rap would have sounded like if I’d never done acid [the drug],” the artist explained to Rolling Stone. Apparently, Acid is a mixture of outside-the-box, eclectic sounds and lyrical creativity. It has a different, but desirable, vibe which is just what his generation is looking for.

I’m sure you can compare Chance to several successful people in the business now, but I don’t think that would be a fair. To compare him would be to put him in a category with others like him, but Chance is breaking the mold. He’s daring to be different and he wants the world to know. No matter how green he is to the industry, he’s a rapper with an innate musical gift that needs to be shared with the world. So sure, we can call him the new Drake, but I’d prefer to just call him Chance THE Rapper.

-Stormm Van Rooi

hu1The 1980s were a remarkable time. Big shoulder pads and even bigger hair marked the era for it’s over-the-top take on literally everything. The music was synthesized, fashion statements featured MC Hammer’s Hammer pants and neon colored anything and side ponytails ruled the kingdom. Until finally the 1990s ushered in the grunge era. Suddenly the shoulder pads and hair were flattened. Hammer pants got much tighter and tapered at the ankles, we traded our neon crop-tops for plaid flannel shirts to tie around our waists. However, there’s one brand that has stood the test of time: Hublot. Created in 1980, these watches have guarded us throughout the years and have maintained a reputation of high society – a watch you wear just because. It doesn’t matter if you can tell time on it or not. Much like the entirety of the 80s, it’s simply a statement.

You might be thinking, How much could it cost for a watch to make a statement? Well, if you check out Google shopping results, the least expensive is the Hublot classic Fusion Titanium Watch at $4,195.

hu3So, now you’re thinking (or I am, anyway), Whatever, you can get a knock off. No one can tell the difference. I’ll break it to you (and myself) now: you’re wrong. It’s impossible to knock off a Hublot. In 2009, the company unveiled a way to detect real and counterfeit watches using WISeKey, a security management company out of Geneva, Switzerland (the same place where the Hublot is made). The brand uses a smartcard system called WiseAuthentic to certify  the product over servers and give customers access  to private pages through Hublot’s website.

“In the watch industry we are seeing a significant increase in counterfeit goods. It was imperative for us as a company to find a way to not only protect our watches but also those who were purchasing them. WISeKey has a strong track record in security and authentication and when looking for a partner to help us in the fight against counterfeiting we knew WISekey was the right choice for us,” CEO Jean-Claude Biver said in a press release 2009.

hu5While it may be possible to replicate the look, authenticating the item will not take place, which only adds more exclusivity to the fashion statement. In defense of the watch that’s basically just for looks, top-notch craftsmanship is also something Hublot makes sure is standard in all pieces. The watches were created with a porthole looking case around the face of the watch. This gave the early watches a maritime look. They also were the first to feature a rubber strap, which sounds cheap at first. Hublot (French for the word “porthole”) made sure that the fusion of rubber with precious metals like gold and silver was precise so that the class that oozes from the Hublot name would not be compromised. Soon enough, diver’s watches were added to the Hublot collection making the watches functionality and style, making the product ready for the runway and also day-to-day wear.

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All of this is thanks to a man named Carlo Crocco. He started out at the jewelry and watch company Binda Group, founded in Milan, Italy in 1906. Binda was well known for their Breil watches at the time.  Crocco left in pursuit of creating his own watch company. He pioneered using the rubber strap, which took 3 years of research to complete.

Taking a look at a Hublot timepiece, you can tell these are big watches. The fashion statement doesn’t just say something about you, the watch screams it. They stand out on your wrist and for the past 30 years, the watches have flown with the incoming and outgoing trends of the fashion/jewelry industry without changing much. This is a rare feat in the fashion world.

-Geneva Toddy

He depicts the beauty of the human face. Just as much as he depicts what makes our faces captivating, he also focuses on our flaws. This method makes his paintings extremely realistic. When I first saw a Wook piece, I was shocked to discover that he does not use photography anywhere in his artistic process. His method to obtain a realistic portrait includes scratching oil off of aluminum, not by editing images using Photoshop.

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Athletes these days (especially high profile ones) have brands that they are responsible for. The Lebron James and Peyton Mannings of the world already need more hours in a day for all of the things they set out to achieve on the field and on the court as it is. Throw in the business goals they want to accomplish, and it’s impossible  not to wonder how they manage to keep themselves sane. Here’s a secret, the same tactic that they utilized to get a ring also works in business.  It’s all about teamwork. Lebron, the consummate unselfish teammate and epitome of the phrase “leader of his team,”benefits from having a similar leader of his brand. That guy is his longtime friend and business partner, Maverick Carter.

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