Have you ever wondered what preppiness, Yves Klein, Aaliyah’s ‘Rock the Boat,’ and a Slim Aaron’s photo of Katharine Hepburn in a Rolls-Royce at Montego Bay have in common? If you are like most people, including myself, these thoughts have probably never crossed your mind all at once. This laundry list of random nouns however, is nothing less than the self-described 2014 collection of one of fashion’s most popular new designers, Charles Harbison.
Techno music originated in Detroit in the early 1980s by young African-Americans, according to NPR Music. Over time it has become a worldwide phenomenon, creating a culture of beats made for dancing. Thirty-two year old French DJ, Mike Levy aka Gesaffelstein has taken a more expressive approach to making music, aiming to create work that tells a story, and he has established himself as a staple in the music world.
Hailing from Lyon, France, Gesaffelstein takes songs with dark, low tones and amplifies them with dance-able ecstasy. His hyper-electric tracks incorporate many elements of hip-hop, though the DJ knew almost nothing about hip-hop when he began his career.
Yonkers, New York is the birthplace of many musical legends in the famed world of rap and hip hop. However, fairly new to the scene rapper, Outasight, doesn’t quite fall under the same category as other artists that come from his hometown, like Mary J. Blige or Jadakiss. But suit and shades sporting Richard Andrew, who goes by the moniker, Outasight, writes his own melodies and light hearted lyrics to what can be classified as hip hop, rap and pop.
His pop culture references are often unexpected. Jeremy Scott’s inspiration can come from anything from McDonald’s to Shrek. His designs are just as edgy as they are unique. If you wear an outfit from one of his collections, I can guarantee you that you will not have to fear wearing the same thing as everyone else. His work combines urban and punk. His use of flashy and bright colors along with ironic references to pop culture blends the world of urban chic and bold punk.
Scott looks the part of a designer that would create unique clothing. He often has half of his head shaved and can be seen wearing cool shades of some sort. He fits the part of a designer that caters to a younger population that has the guts to pull off outrageous designs and go against the norm. Although his creations are absolutely captivating, it does take a certain amount of bravery to wear his outfits. His clothing is not for the faint of heart or for someone who is afraid to stand out in a crowd. They are designed for the fresh fashion innovators of the world and the people that want to start trends rather than simply follow them. According to Complex.com, a website that focuses on the latest art and fashion trends, celebrities such as Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne have been spotted wearing Scott’s designs. Furthermore, Scott finds the styles of Niki Manaj, Rihanna and Katy Perry to be some of the best examples of fashion today in Hollywood. When talking about Katy Perry Scott told Complex.com, “She really has created a new category of this sexy and humorous style which are two of the defining points of my own work.” Scott has even had the opportunity to see Rihanna and Katy Perry wear his quirky yet daring designs.
In the hip-hop community, there is no denying that it pays to have connections. We’ve seen how producing performers like Drake attach their names to music acts, and almost instantly, a breakthrough artist is born. The Canadian rap master started his record label, October’s Very Own Sound, in 2012 as an offshoot of Warner Bros. Records. Since then, he has been monopolizing the Canadian rap scene, signing upcoming artists left and right. His first signee, Partynextdoor, has received much praise from rap critics and listeners in the span of just one year.
Serendipity is defined as an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident or good fortune and luck. It is can be a chance meeting of love, wealth or opportunity. 21-year old model Slick Woods had a serendipitous meeting of her own at a Los Angeles bus stop in 2016 when she was discovered by British male model Ash Stymest. The meeting was completely random but it changed her life. “It was literally the luck of the Universe. My energy, my positive energy pulling things towards me. I’m on Law of Attraction. I just feel like I definitely did that for myself. When I was hungry, nobody fed me. I definitely just lucked up. I just do this to show people that luck is a real thing. It really is,” Woods said in an Urban Outfitters blog interview.
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Let’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.
Although 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.
Chance’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