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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.

PRINCE THE HOOPER

Prince's former bodyguard Harlan Austin sheds light on the iconic artist's basketball prowess

Some of you, if not most of you recall Charlie Murphy’s True Hollywood Stories from Chappelle’s Show. Detailing one of the comedian’s more memorable tales from his days in Hollywood, you’ll recall Charlie’s story of the night he and his friends played Prince and the Revolution in a game of basketball.

While hilarious for a variety of reasons, it turns out much of Charlie’s story lands closer to fact than fiction. Enter Harlan “Hucky” Austin. A Close Protection Operative and bodyguard who spent over 20 years serving as a private bodyguard to Prince himself, Harlan sheds more light on the rumors of Prince’s basketball skills in a short story of his own.

For Harlan, who was never too far from the iconic artist, it seems as though memories of Prince’s basketball prowess still circulate amongst those who were there. As the bodyguard puts it, apparently Prince was one of the nicest to step on the court. But don’t take our word for it, hit the MORE and read for yourself.

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Wine & Bowties

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Frank Ocean

Whoever you are, wherever you are…I’m starting to think we’re a lot alike. Human beings spinning on blackness. All wanting to be seen, touched, heard, paid attention to. My loved ones are everything to me here. In the last year or three, I’ve screamed at my creator. Screamed at clouds in the sky. For some explanation. Mercy maybe. For peace of mind to rain like manna somehow.

Four summers ago, I met somebody. I was 19 years old. He was too. We spent that summer, and the summer after, together. Everyday almost. And on the days we were together, time would glide. Most of the day, I’d see him, and his smile. I’d hear his conversation and his silence…until it was time to sleep. Sleep I would often share with him. By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice.

It was my first love, it changed my life. Back then, my mind would wander to the women I had been with, the ones I cared for and thought I was in love with. I reminisced about the sentimental songs I enjoyed when I was a teenager…the ones I played when I experienced a girlfriend for the first time. I realized they were written in a language I did not yet speak. I realized too much, too quickly. Imagine being thrown from a plane. I wasn’t in a plane though. I was in a Nissan Maxima, the same car I packed up with bags and drove to Los Angeles in. I sat there and told my friend how I felt. I wept as the words left my mouth. I grieved for them, knowing I could never take them back for myself. He patted my back. He said kind things. He did his best, but he wouldn’t admit the same. He had to go back inside soon, it was late and his girlfriend was waiting for him upstairs. He wouldn’t tell me the truth about his feelings for me for another three years. I felt like I’d only imagined reciprocity for years. Now imagine being thrown from a cliff. No, I wasn’t on a cliff, I was still in my car telling myself it was gonna be fine and to take deep breaths. I took the breaths and carried on. I kept up a peculiar friendship with him because I couldn’t imagine keeping up my life without him. I struggled to master myself and my emotions. I wasn’t always successful.

The dance went on…I kept the rhythm for several summers after. It’s winter now. I’m typing this on a plane back to Los Angeles from New Orleans. I felt home for another marred Christmas. I have a windowseat. It’s December 27th, 2011. By now I’ve written two albums, this being the second. I wrote to keep myself busy and sane. I wanted to create worlds that were rosier than mine. I tried to channel overwhelming emotions. I’m surprised at how far all of it has taken me. Before writing this I’d told some people my story. I’m sure these people kept me alive. Kept me safe…sincerely. These are the folks I wanna thank from the floor of my heart. Every one of you knows who you are…great humans, probably angels.

I don’t know what happens now, and that’s alrite. I don’t have any secrets I need kept anymore. There’s probably some small shit still, but you know what I mean. I was never alone, as much as I felt like it…As much as I still do sometimes. I never was. I don’t think I ever could be. Thanks. To my first love, I’m grateful for you. Grateful that even though it wasn’t what I hoped for, and even though it was never enough, it was. Some things never are…and we were. I won’t forget you. I won’t forget the summer. I’ll remember who I was when I met you. I’ll remember who you were and how we’ve both changed and stayed the same. I’ve never had more respect for life and living than I have right now. Maybe it takes a near death experience to feel alive. Thanks. To my mother, you raised me strong. I know I’m only brave because you were first…so thank you. All of you. For everything good. I feel like a free man. If I listen closely…I can hear the sky falling too.

- Frank
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SIDDHARTHA & GOTAMA

A passage from Hermann Hesse's seminal 1922 novel Siddhartha

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Siddhartha

Siddhartha wandered through the grove deep in thought.

There he met Gotama, the Illustrious One, and as he greeted him respectfully and the Buddha’s expression was so full of goodness and peace, the young man plucked up courage and asked the Illustrious One’s permission to speak to him. Silently the Illustrious One nodded his permission.

Siddhartha said: “Yesterday, O Illustrious One, I had the pleasure of hearing your wonderful teachings. I came from afar with my friend to hear you, and now my friend will remain with you; he has sworn allegiance to you. I however, am continuing my pilgrimage anew.”

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Kanye West

For all the things Yeezy’s been accused of over the years, subtlety is rarely one of them. So when he and the G.O.O.D. Music family premiered “New God Flow” Sunday night at the BET Awards, it seemed only right that he’d steal the fucking show. If the giant Lamborghini stage and the slightly awkward rendition of “Mercy” left something to be desired, Ye’s foot-stomp accompanied, take-us-back-to-church sermon of a verse pretty much made everything leading up to it seem completely irrelevant. Half-assed award shows aside though, the G.O.O.D. Music album promises to provide more bangers over the coming months, as evidenced by the full version of “New God Flow”, which surfaced this afternoon. Pusha T’s lead-in pretty much sets the scene: “I believe there’s a God above me, I’m just the God of everything else”– impassioned, fiery and entirely self-aggrandizing, pretty much as expected.


Download: Kanye West & Pusha T – “New God Flow”

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ORGIES BY STEINGRUM VEUM

A collection of illustrations capturing the joys of group sex

Surely I’m not the only one who has fantasized about what a true orgy would be like. Really, who knows if and when something like that would ever pop off, although I’m sure if you really look, there’s probably a good couple orgies going down right under your nose. Regardless, I remember my first observation of an orgy on film went down in Summer of Sam (great film by the way). But I can’t lie, those group sex scenes piqued my interest. Perhaps orgies were more acceptable in the ’60s, and ’70s, or perhaps they still go down now… I wouldn’t really know. Nonetheless, orgies also piqued the interest of Norwegian artist Steingrim Veum, enough so that he was compelled to illustrate 22 depictions of orgies in action. Makes you wonder if Steingrim himself has ever partaken, or if this is all just a fantasy…

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MID-SUMMER LEFTOVERS (6.28.12)

New music from Wine & Bowties

The Leftovers

Sultry summer days deserve slaps of all shapes and sizes and sounds. And, as you may have noticed, we’ve made a few changes around here lately, so it seemed only appropriate to break in the new site with a collection of things we’ve had on repeat while the weather’s been warming up. Highlights include Hodgy Beats restructuring some vintage D’Angelo, Mario’s “Let Me Love You” getting a groovy overhaul, Poolside coming with a sticky summer jam, and Big Boi and Theophilus keeping it settled, if not subtle. Oh, and that DIIV video is crazy too.

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WOMEN OF LEISURE BY HENRIK PURIENNE

Timeless images from Cape Town based photographer Henrik Purienne

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Henrik Purienne
Photography By Henrik Purienne

From the outside, the sixties and seventies seemed like a marvelous time. The love, the sex, the freedom of expression– for those that lived it, there will probably never be another time like it. For those who came after, our attempts to capture that feeling will, by and large, remain futile; although there are the rare exceptions.

Sharing his time between Cape Town and Paris, fashion photographer and filmmaker Henrik Purienne lives a life of unapologetic hedonism. “What is an average day like for Henrik Purienne?” an interviewer once asked. “I wouldn’t know,” The photographer replied, “I’ve never had an average day.”

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Freddie Gibbs

Slammin’. At this point, as soon as I hear it, I’m pretty confident some sturdy ass bars will follow. At this point, calling Freddie Gibbs solid seems almost redundant. For the latest installment of his ongoing collab with the Beat Konducta, Fred crafts an ode to the one night stand, with B.J. the Chicago Kid letting us know why the walk of shame need not be so damn shameful. Not to mention, like Thuggin’, Shame gets the full Stones Throw package treatment, complete with some icy artwork, a supplemental banger, and some flawless instrumentals. Add some silky smooth soul samplage courtesy of Madlib on this one, and once again, Freddie’s got a hitter on his hands. Cop on vinyl here.


Download: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – “Shame”

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INDIA, 1969

Photography by Roloff Beny

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Roloff Beny

Canadian photographer Roloff Beny is often described as having “obsessed with the beauty of the world”. Reading the words he wrote about India, or even a glance at the images he brought back from a handful of adventures there confirms that pretty convincingly. Aside from the beauty he found in the visual world, Beny was also famous for his illustrious lifestyle: friends in high places, storied parties and a lavish penthouse in Rome all seem to surface often when Beny’s life is being discussed.

Most importantly, Beny was a world traveler, and India is one of a number of his works which could effectively be described as a love letter to the place it documents. One of the most impressive examples of his eye for color, scenery and natural beauty, India finds Beny exploring a place with no shortage of gorgeous landscapes, architecture, and rich culture. In some ways, these images read like an idyllic Westerner’s portrait, an aesthetically idealized version of a complex place– and you could definitely make the case. Either way though, they’re pretty spectacular shots.

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IT’S GOOD FOR URBANO

A variety of gourment pizzas aim to please at Downtown LA's most underrated pizza bar

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Generally, happy hours aren’t really my thing. Mediocre beers and two for one sliders usually come to mind when I think about happy hour, although I’m never one to turn down a solid discount. It’s this prejudice towards happy hours that has kept me out of most evening eateries in the past, although I’ve recently had a change of heart. Open for a little over a year, Urbano Pizza Bar is Downtown LA’s most underrated gem. Amidst the already saturated niche of DTLA Pizza Shops, Urbano manages to carve out their own lane with the help of their remarkable happy hour.

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Ariel Pink

The first time I met Ariel Pink, I gave him a hug. I honestly didn’t really know what else to do. And besides, as I told him, I was thankful for the inspiration. I don’t have a lot of heroes, but Ariel Pink is somebody who’s carved out as distinctive a space as anybody. You could talk about the treasure trove of beautifully strange and subversive songwriting that formed his early catalog. Or the unexpectedly accessible triumph that was “Round & Round” and Before Today. But basically, Ariel Pink is cool to me because he confirms some of those very basic notions that cult heroes are supposed to confirm. Say, that being weird and different is cool, or that, assuming you’re creative enough, you can make brilliant, paradigm-shifting shit in your basement.

With follow-up Mature Themes on the way, Ariel Pink’s first choice for a single feels smooth and straightforwardly gorgeous in lots of the same ways as Before Today. More or less faithful to the mostly forgotten, but recently resurrected blue-eyed soul original from Donnie and Joe Emerson, “Baby” is a reverent rendition of a song that deserves to become a classic, even if it happens in retrospect. Not to mention, there’s just enough oddness and rough edges– the whistling outro, the “I Only Have Eyes” backup vocals, or Dam-Funk’s voice surfacing occasionally– to distinguish it as Pink’s.


Download: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Baby”

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EARLY APPLE

Catalog images of Apple's 1986 clothing collection

Surely some of you have seen these fits making the rounds via the interwebs recently. Featured below are a collection of rare images from a 1986 fashion catalog from none other than global tech giant, Apple. Utilizing an array of vibrant colors for their line, the collection screams 1986, although a few pieces may look even doper in the 2012. Revered for its minimalist approach to design today, it’s amusing to see the stark contrast of style that typifies the 80′s fashion line. Vibrant and full of color, the But let’s be real, there are some absolute hitters in here. Further proof that Apple’s been killin’ it.

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“Five Seconds” is a song that’s already been surrounded by romantic motorcycle myth. First, Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr. told us the entire new album was inspired by motorcycle rides through L.A., and then the single arrived in all its ’80s Americana glory, with visuals suggesting an endless stretch of road on Twin Shadow’s website and George decked out in leather, pristinely coiffed rockabilly haircut in full force. The video for the first single from Confess, appropriately enough, finds George cruising the open road, before transforming into a full blown, mysterious action sequence, apparently based on some short fiction penned by Lewis himself. Shot gorgeously, the video also finds our good friend D’Angelo rounding out one bad ass action duo. Which is awesome. In any case, more to come from Twin Shadow soon.

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