OK, HIP-HOP, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
I am here to stand up for hip-hop heads across the nation and to state emphatically that we arent going to be railroaded out of our sense of style. Ive been quiet lately watching the sweeping fashion changes that have unfurled this year. Yeah, I am not opposed to change, but you avant-garde ass knuckleheads are not going to force me into copping a closet full of stripped button-up shits. Please.
At a recent SOBs appearance, KRS-One, the self-proclaimed Teacha, was draped in a blazer with a graffiti scribed tee-shirt underneath. I got recent reports that Skillz (aka Mad Skillz) was also rockin a blazer as he embarked on the Okay Player tour. Lets face it; its a phenomenon thats sweeping the grown-man sector. Now, obviously this seemingly started with Jay-Z, who has adopted a grown-up attitude the more he creeps deeper into his 30s. Jigga didnt start it but, there is nothing wrong with being an adult, right?
No, not inherently The problem is this MOVEMENT of square pegs that are trying to tell me that WEARING A JERSEY IS WRONG. Now, wearing a sweat suit is wrong according to people like Farnsworth Bentley. OK, Bentley Im not hating, because I dont knock the hustle. But truthfully, you cant be Diddys manservant and have your jeans sagging. You have to play that role to the tea and you did that well. On the other hand, I live in Brooklyn, New York (BK STAND UP, PLEASE) and Im not walking the streets wearing a suit, with the flower-looking hanky coming out of the pocket. I think its corny, to be frank with you.
Moreover, that style IS NOT ME. Thats you guys. When Camron decided he wanted to wear pink, he didnt try to convince everybody that it was the cool thing to do. He didnt sell it to hip-hop, but hip-hop bought it. Now, I walk into Dr. Jays and I see all this pink garb. Similarly, Andre 3000 has been successful in doing what he does (which can be straight weird!) without trying to push his agenda on us. BUT we value him much more for the way he manages his originality. So, why is a cat like Kanye defecating on jerseys and throwbacks. I dont trip when he puts on a sweater with pink snowflakes and then tosses a suit over that with some jeans. When Bentley was using a pink and green Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Umbrella to demonstrate his style, I didnt say a word. I said, Duke is really doing his thing and has come a long way from Diddys manservant. Thats respect.
So, why the hate to what I do? “The gentleman movement has begun,” he told MTV.com, “throwback jerseys, I’m not impressed/ My attire stays pressed.”
And Bentley raps, but he swears “I’m not a rapper, I am a renaissance man. You have to create a whole new category for me. What I do is dissertation over instrumental.” Id say that quote is a probable candidate for XXLs Negro Please segment.
As for me, with all the peppiness going around, I pondered my position as a card carrying hip-hopper. I began to think what I was doing was wrong for about 10 minutes. Then I said, FUNK DAT and I went out and copped MORE JERSEYS, MORE TIMS, MORE HATS. I admit I copped a couple button up for the spring and they are still hanging in the closet.
On some points, I agree with Bentley – a gentleman movement is needed in hip-hop. Im sick of all these maggots trying to push a certain type of rap on us, but at the same time I dont think somebody like Bentley should necessarily distance himself from us. If you rap, say you rap, but represent a different chamber. When De La said This is the Daisy Age, they didnt try to go head up with N.W.A. In fact, the people embraced both sides as that much-needed balance in our culture. Furthermore, a gentleman movement would include me despite my dated throwback, because I do all the things that a gentleman does including opening the door for my lady, sending my mother roses and having good manners. So what if I wear Tim boots?
If you look at history, you will see that what Kanye, Bentley and Hov are doing is hardly new. Way back, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (of which mogul Andre Harrell was a member) ALWAYS rocked full suits. Slick Rick embodied style. Big Daddy Kane was quick to push the envelope even if he got chided for it from hip-hop. (If I am correct Mr. Bentley is down with Harrell.)
Im hip-hop…but A few years ago, I would go to these snobbish First Fridays with Black cigar-puffing, suit wearing buppies that thought they were a step up from the rest of us. While I loved to play dress-up, because I enjoyed it (and the attention from the ladies), I hated the attitudes that prevailed from these cats that went back to the daily grind on Monday just like me.
Im just like nobody, homey. But thats the charm of hip-hop, its got the ability to allow the eccentricities of Farnsworth Bentley and the raw, hip-hop sentiment that I bring to the table. Jerseys, boots, hoodies, sneakers, sweat suits and other fashion statements are staples to hip-hop so be careful about distancing yourself from them theyll be here long after you are gone.
To make a long editorial longer – I Wont Hang Up My Jersey, Chump!
The views expressed in this editorial are that of the writer but hit us up and let us know what you feel. Editorial@allhiphop.com.