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GANGSTERS DOODLE

We take a look inside the world of Post-It Note Illustrator turned author Marlon Sassy. The Vancouver based artist has grown a considerable following for his hip-hop culture inspired “doodles,” and with his first book under his belt, it seems like things are only going up for our friend Marlon.

THE ESSENCE OF STYLE

Exploring the origins of appearance and presentation

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Written by Daniel Edmund

What is style? Does everyone possess it? Or is it obtained only by those who choose to actively cultivate it? Since almost the beginning of time people have been revered for their personal style. Everyone from Jesus Christ to Mick Jagger can be identified by a particular aesthetic that characterizes his or her self-being. Yet, with so many strands stemming from its roots, I’ve learned that style is a world within itself, a realm that everyone enters, whether willingly or not.

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Flying Lotus

FlyLo is one of those artists whose creative output has been so consistently distinctive and weird, that you never have to worry much about quality control. The dude is a mastermind, with an ear for all things odd and warped and beautiful. More importantly, he’s intent on following that ear toward exactly what the fuck it is he feels like doing. I suppose Los Angeles was Exhibit A, but with Cosmogramma, or say, his DJ sets of late seem even more focused on expansion, on finding a space that’s truly unexplored. “See Thru to U” lands somewhere on the more accessible side of strange, a smooth, jazzy piece, propelled by bouncy percussion, some trademark Thundercat bass, and of course, Ms. Badu at the helm. Until the Quiet Comes is due out October 1st. Expect the unexpected.


Download: Flying Lotus feat. Erykah Badu – “See Thru to U”

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CAPTURING GREATNESS

Charting the meteoric rise of '70s pop culture photographer Brad Elterman

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Brad Elterman
Brad Elterman By Ian Flanigan

In a pop culture landscape where television feigns reality and celebrities pose as icons, the work of Brad Elterman only gains relevance. Tapped by the hand of destiny to photograph the reclusive Bob Dylan in concert in 1974, the by chance occurrence spawned a single photograph that catapulted Brad to the pinnacle of the editorial world. Seemingly overnight, publicists, record execs, and media personalities grew infatuated with the photographer’s work, clamoring to make sense of how a virtually unknown photographer managed to capture an icon in the midst of his craft. He was 16 years old.

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PLACES & SPACES I’VE BEEN BY PHARRELL WILLIAMS

Pharrell preps for the release of his first coffee table book this fall

I wonder if Pharrell knows his true influence. He probably has an inkling, but how could he ever fully know? Does he know how many kids he influenced to take their size XXXL’s down to an L? Or how many kids he compelled to pick up a skateboard? Does he know how many kids he turned into producers, or how many fists hit tables to recreate “Grindin’” across lunch tables around the nation? He helped Britney get on, and made Justin Timberlake accessible to dudes, birthed a clothing brand that’s still relevant seven years in, and picked up a couple Grammy’s along the way. The list goes on, but I’m gonna stop there. We haven’t even gotten into N.E.R.D….

Adding another notch to his already expansive list of achievements, Pharrell’s latest endeavor comes to us in the form of the artist’s first coffee table book. Enitled Places and Spaces I’ve Been, the book will feature a variety of conversations with Pharrell’s numerous friends and fellow collaborators, from Kanye & Jay-Z to Hans Zimmer and Anna Wintour. Set to release officially on October 16th, with multiple colored covers to accentuate your own living space or bookshelf, I think it’s safe to say that Places and Spaces will be a keeper.

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IMAGE & OBJECTIVITY

The photography of Albert Renger-Patzsch

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Albert Renger-Patzsch

Given the fact that our phones now put the power and clarity of 8 megapixels in the palm of our hands, I think it’s fair to say that all that convenience has probably left our appreciation for art form of photography lacking. Which isn’t to say that that accessibility is a a bad thing by any means. But I do remember pretty clearly sitting in an art history class, marveling at a slide of Ansel Adam’s Taos Pueblo only to have the kid a few rows back raise his hand and ask, with all the conviction of someone who’s thought about their question for about a millisecond, what made the image worthy of our discussion. It was just a picture of a building, and what made that art? I suppose it’s always an interesting question to ask, assuming you’re not already jumping the gun by answering it yourself. But it struck me as funny, if also a little unfortunate, that the ease of photography today, for artistic or non-artistic purposes, could have made it so difficult to understand what so many people had seen before in those images.

My pretention aside though, the discussion popped into my head almost immediately in reflecting on the photography of Albert Renger-Patzsch, a master of early 20th Century German photography, whose work had a profound impression on New Objectivity in Weimar Germany. Renger-Patzsch, despite having a profound impact on his art, strayed away from descriptions of himself as an artist, instead choosing to classify himself more as a documentarian of things as they were, as a careful examiner into the nature of shape, light and contour. Renger-Patzsch’s work took a meticulous attention to detail, to highlighting shape and form, from flowers and small animals to massive human constructions like train stations or bridges. Like Adams, Renger-Patzsch’s photographs emanate aesthetic clarity, and even as they strive for that detached objectivity, they still bear the undeniable fingerprints of a master at work. Despite the destruction of his archives during WWII, Renger-Patzsch continued to have a profound impact on German photography up until his death in 1966. Somehow today, in a sea of iPhone photos, these seem all the more gorgeous.

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At this point, the introduction doesn’t even really seem necessary. Suffice to say, I’m thankful for the A$AP movement. If nothing else, you have to admire the deliberate, polished aesthetic that defines Rocky’s work to date. Like most of his best work, “Purple Kisses” isn’t necessarily operating in uncharted waters–the main themes, both visually and lyrically, are pretty familiar. Drugs. Boobs. Hennessy. Chopped and screwed psychedelia. More boobs. But the magic is in the juxtaposition, in the presentation. In the minute details onscreen. More than anything, A$AP’s run over the last year and a half has been a triumph of taste. For all those reasons and more, “Purple Kisses” is pretty damn close to perfection. I feel pretty confident in saying the album shouldn’t disappoint.

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THE NASTY BOYS

The unsung tag team champions of the WWF

Rising to the pinnacle of the tag team ranks by 1991, it was Wrestlemania VII that would mark the apex of The Nasty Boys WWF career. Overcoming the efforts of The Hart Foundation that night, The Nasty Boys would spend much of 1991 as the reigning WWF Tag Team Champions of the world.

You’d be surprised to know the origins of The Nasty Boys. Born Brian Knobs and Jerry Sags, the duo were in fact childhood friends whose similar dream of wrestling professionally actually became reality. Although champions in their own right, The Nasty Boys in ring skills left many to question their legitimacy as wrestlers, as Mick Foley recalls The Nasty Boys were, “sloppy as hell, and more than a little dangerous.”

Engaging in numerous feuds with top talent from the Legion of Doom and Harlem Heat to Money Inc. and the NWO, The Nasty Boys never did reach the same acclaim they obtained in 1991. Although their legacy remains intact as a quintessential example over the top characters that exemplified the WWF in the early 90′s.

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REINTRODUCING TAZ ARNOLD

Thoughts on style, character and boosting from an L.A. native

Given his status as a somewhat polarizing figure to style-conscious individuals, over the past year my conversations regarding Taz Arnold have gone one of two ways. “Yo you fuck with Taz Arnold?” “Yeah man, Taz is dope. I fuck with TI$A,” so on and so forth. The other conversation goes similarly, yet very different. “You fuck with Taz Arnold?” “Na man, his fits are too crazy. He just rocks wild shit…”

Respected for not giving a fuck what anyone thinks when he gets dressed in the morning, the past two decades have seen Taz Arnold evolve from South Coast Plaza’s most celebrated booster to a bona fide fixture of runway shows across the globe. Sharing his thoughts on the intersections between clothing and character, this recent video helps to relate the man behind TI$A. Yet if time is of the essence, just read Taz’s approach to getting dressed after the MORE. Whether you like him or not, it’s hard to deny Taz’s peculiar character and extraordinary fashions.

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INTRODUCING JACKY

American Apparel's most mature model yet

Leave it to American Apparel to go left when criticized for going right. The $600 million company made famous for their racy advertisements of scantily clad 20-somethings has recently turned a 180, choosing to introduce Jacky to the advertising mix. Now while Jacky certainly doesn’t lack style and grace, her presence in the ads marks a seismic shift in the age range of Am Ap models.

A staple of American Apparel’s most recent round of online and print campaigns, Jacky’s presence in the ads is an ironic addition considering the company’s prior bouts regarding their advertising content. While it’s unlikely that the brand will begin to celebrate maturity on a wide scale, Jacky’s involvement with the campaigns does offer a breath of fresh air to those tired of seeing Am Ap’s endless stream of bad ones.

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shlohmo

Shlohmo

It’s hard to think of any producer in electronic music that’s comes with material as exquisitely subtle as Shlohmo over the last couple years. Both last year’s Bad Vibes and this year’s Vacation EP were full of slow-burning, understated jams, unfolding from blips and fuzz into dreamy, evocative soundscapes at just the right pace. As usual, BBC’s Radio 1 used their excellent taste to hand the airwaves over to the L.A.-based producer for a half hour, giving him the chance to channel his talents expert ear into an essential mix. This one’s all somber tones and warped soulfulness, equal parts eerie and gorgeous. Stick around for the “Crew Love” remix fifteen minutes in and a solid surprise at around 21ish. More reason to keep an eye out for just about anything he drops.


Download: Shlohmo – BBC Radio 1 Essential Mix

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ILLUSTRATING HIP-HOP

A conversation with illustrator and graphic designer David Barnett, the man behind Curren$y's Pilot Talk series

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Introduced to the arts at a young age, you could say that David Barnett was destined for a creative career. With an artistic father and a profound love for comic books, Barnett’s passion for illustration has lasted him into adulthood. Today he resides alongside Roc-a-Fella pioneer Dame Dash as art director and designer for Dame’s DD172 media company. Well known for his iconic album artwork, including album covers for Curren$y’s 2010 Pilot Talk series, we chatted with David about his favorite comics, his artistic influences, and where he’s taking his art to next.

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REMEMBERING DARIA

A look back on the understated, underappreciated voice of a generation

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Daria

Written By Danielle Schnur

Before the cinematic deadpan heroines of Juno and Ghost World emerged to mirror our teen angst, apathy, and simultaneous bleeding hearts, there was Daria. Like a diasporic leader of all things achieving that unique balance of holier than thou and “do I look like a give a fuck?”, Daria was the true proto-hipster and an unsung voice of our generation before we were even ready to hear it. Yet unlike her later sisters of sarcasm on the big screen, her MTV cartoon aired somewhere around the popularity peak of her very antithesis, late-90s/early-00s Britney Spears and TRL. And we loved her for it.

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Aaliyah

I always felt a little salty about those posthumous Big and Pac albums. Something about long-lost vocal takes being lifted and repurposed always just made those songs feel a little weird and disembodied. And, I should preface this by saying, to echo Timbaland himself, that the release of new material from Aaliyah seems a little off without he and Missy being present. But still, the assist from 40 and Drake seems pretty logical, and as expected, the real payoff comes with hearing that subtly gorgeous, familiar voice echoing around 40′s dreamy atmospherics. It’s both vaguely haunting and strangely comforting at the same time, a time warp back to late night slow jam radio, but with all the eerie power that comes along with the voice of a fallen idol. With an OVO-executive-produced album of this stuff on its way, this is definitely reason for some optimism.


Download: Aaliyah feat. Drake – “Enough Said”

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