Who knew Pharrell Williams [of The Neptunes] designed high-end chairs? In collaboration with Domeau & Peres, the mega-producer has created two versions: last year’s “Perspective” and this year’s “Tank.” We all knew Skateboard P could cook up a mean space-&B beat, but, who knew the cat had a Starck side? “Tank” is on display at this December’s Art Basel in Miami, FL.
My sophomore year of high school, I arrived to my place of work at the time (I only worked retail once – go figure) with cornrows. I was told to cover them up with a Von Dutch hat, that I was “scaring customers” or to leave work early. Sounds like discrimination now, but, at the time I was just afraid of getting my ‘rows ruffled. I had them done for homecoming so I wasn’t about to destroy them with a trucker hat. I concluded that my boss was a tool, didn’t take his advice, and was “relieved” of the position a week later. Reflecting back, it was one of the most defining moments of my teens.
The tanks are out. Vengeance is in motion. The little white boy that could is in control now. I’d like to go back today and see how things run now that Obama’s in charge. Have things changed? The Blog Made Me Do It, Vol. 1 is dedicated to all those who have doubted difference. Those who think one couldn’t live beyond his/her stereotypes. Those who halt potential with their tunnel visions. This one’s for you…and you…and you…
I’ve compiled a collection of the hardest-hitting tracks never before featured on the blog straight from hip-hop’s underground. Spanning the globe, from Prague to New Orleans, New York to Alabama, the mixtape boasts 24 cuts above the rest. A hood mentality fluxed by rock, pop, soul, techno, and punk: the set is bonafied bonkers. Call it that bullet through your chest music. Featuring artists you’ve heard of and unknowns soon to break, the mix is concocted to blow all the non-believers to the street. Get ready to detonate your subwoofers. Remember where you heard it first & njoi. (Click the link below to download the .zip file)
The Blog Made Me Do It, Vol. 1 – an MH mixtape
–stream (below) & download here—
A collection of tracks selected from across the globe never before featured on Smoke & Mirrors. There’s something from Prague (DJ Wich), Philly (Freeway), New York (B.I.G., Big Pun), N’Orleans (Juvenile), Alabama (G-Side, Rich Boy) and one from the Arkansas’ Forrest City Federal Prison (T.I.). If you have an imeem account you can sample some tracks (by clicking here) before the mix drops tomorrow.
Guaranteed the funkiest shit out.
Real rap. No filler.
Remember K’Nex? Photographer Ignacio Lozano sure does. He used the 90’s toy to outfit his model for “Connected,” an eye-catching series he did for Hop On The Spiral Bitch. Human scaffolding? Snip, snap. Click, clack.
Has the R been reading S&M?
Dean dun-did-it! A week or so after featuring Dean Quinn‘s magic on the blog, he gets his long-awaited break. Dressing Ri-Ri in one of his signature bugle beaded creations for Good Morning America yesterday morning further cements him as the “designer to watch.” Congratulations.
photos courtesy of (top) just jared & (bottom) another mag
Before Vicky B[eckham] realized she couldn’t sing and subsequently gained tabloid fame in the states, she got together with then Roc-A-Fella CEO, Damon Dash, to record this devastation. Butchering The System’s original, Beckham must’ve realized she couldn’t actually be serious. It’s most likely the reason she hung up the girl group lipsynching to develop her fashion persona. [She chose not to release the single stateside and instead did their Roc-A-Wear ad campaign] At least Posh can dress.
“This Groove” – G-Side & Burn One
Don’t sleep on G-Side. Mad love for ‘Bama.
Croc Wallets x Comme des Garcons
Comme des Garcons knows what’s what. How do you make a profit during the holiday season? Retail as much mid-range crap as you can. Get them dollars. Stephen Jones Millinery Fragrance x Comme des Garcons
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Song of the Day: “Walking On Broken Glass” – Annie Lennox
The first music video I had ever seen was Annie Lennox’s “Walking On Broken Glass.” My dad let me watch it since he liked her Diva album so much. It was 1992 and for some reason, I still hold the memory dear. Perhaps the video’s Mozart theme inspired my love for the eccentric Amadeus? I wasn’t old enough to understand I was watching a young John Malkovich or a former Eurythmics member, yet the costumes still stuck with me. The song has one of the most addictive, symphonic beats ever crafted. It’s still confusing to me why the beat hasn’t been sampled one hundred-plus times by hip-hop producers. This my jam. Lennox is like Phil Collins: they both receive little credit for shaping the current pop soundscape.
Berlin eyeglass maker, Mykita, teams up with Marios Schwab to create my favorite shades of the S/S 2010 season. Named “Jane” and “Hamilton,” the classic frames once made famous by Lennon get an industrialized remixing.
Vodpod videos no longer available. World Premiere: “I’mma Do It” – Fabolous (featuring Kobe)
One of the best rap songs of the year gets the video treatment. Fab’s “I’mma Do It” has a beat that sounds like an epileptic organ and a hook sung by a crazy person. The rapper‘s laissez faire flow has never sounded so ferocious. Even the feds are after him. Be sure to check out F-A-B-O at The Fillmore at Irving Plaza on December 12th. Remember when…
Vodpod videos no longer available.
World Premiere: “Make Me” – Janet Jackson
Janet is back, this time breaking it down in the hottest of 2010 fashions for her latest video “Make Me.” The dancing is flawless, the set is futuristic (the sister ship to Scream perhaps?), and the song’s one of her freshest yet. Todd Lynn must be a very happy man. I’m sure smiling.
With Candy Pratts Price’s contract at style.com ending soon, Jackson and I thought we’d take a jab at her job. We’ve widdled down her S/S 2010 accessory report (the reason you won’t find McQueen‘s wild platforms anywhere is she rarely sways from the retail-ready) into three separate lists: Jackson’s favorites (shoes, bags, and jewelry), my footwear picks, and a list delegated to my favorite jewelry and handbags. Don’t call them it lists – they da shit lists. Our choices prove once and for all that opposites do, in fact, attract.
Jackson’s Shit List
1 Alexander Wang / 2 Gucci / 3 Pierre Hardy / 4 Alexander McQueen / 5 Bruno Frisoni / 6 Camilla Skovgaard / 7 Givenchy / 8 Eddie Borgo / 9 Jil Sander / 10 Celine / 11 Alejandro Ingelmo / 12 Gucci / 13 VBH
1 Fendi / 2 Jackson (not featured in Pratt’s report) / 3 Fendi / 4 Nancy Gonzalez / 5 Mawi / 6 Louis Vuitton / 7 Maria Francesca Pepe / 8 Taher Chemirik / 9 Philippe Ferrandis / 10 Viktor & Rolf / 11 Alexander McQueen / 12 Dries Van Noten / 13 Polly Van Der Glas (not featured in Pratt’s report) / 14 Tom Binns
This is too cool. I’ve seen this done in the U.K. for Beyonce, but…Janet? It seems in honor of this week’s Number Ones album release, Flash Mob America took over The Grove in Los Angeles for an unexpected afternoon shopping dance break to induce some shock. P.S. The results for all-time favorite Janet song are in. You chose the 2001 smash “All For You.”
Edit. In honor of this month’s Smoke & Mirrorsfeature in ELLE magazine (p. 340, December ’09), “MH.edits” dissects the outfit I styled exclusively for the shoot as done in the “fashion focus” posts. So glad I had the opportunity to style myself – as myself! Having access to the unlimited racks of designer duds was a total dream come true. You’ll usually find me with a scarf somewhere on my person, so, when I was asked to assemble a look that included at least one Hermes scarf, I was set. Inspired by years of watching my favorite musicians incorporate scarves into their personal styles, my look was prompted by memories of Steven Tyler’s scarved mic stand, Janet Jackson’s handkerchief (from the “Alright” video), Mozart, Keith Richards, Prince, and Axl Rose’s headband. It was all about celebrating my love for music and fashion – which is what S&M‘s all about. The result’s a combination of hard and soft, masculine and feminine, today and yesterday. An homage to rock & roll. Thanks again to everyone at ELLE for coining me a “tastemaker” and making the whole experience so enjoyable. Such an honor. (Cheers to my fellow featured bloggy baby, Krystal, at whatisrealityanyway)
1 Hermes polka dot silk scarf (worn as headband)
2 Corpus velvet motorcycle jacket
3 Ralph Lauren Collection silk organza blouse
4 Hermes silver collier ring
5 The Row french grey leather leggings
6 Hermes metallic brocade scarf (worn as handkerchief)
7 Chloe suede lace-up booties
Got to support my people! Cheers to primo pop music! The Swedes have been popping off real hard lately – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and now O’Spada.The only condonable hipster music around comes from the homeland. No pun intended.Skål!
World Premiere: “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” – Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is unarguably one of the few hitmakers of our generation. Even my mommy knows that. She hasn’t sounded her best since her debut album and hasn’t found her peak since (in my opinion) “You Don’t Know My Name.” But, that could all change. Her latest single release, “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart,” finds Keys giving in to the years of inevitable Stevie Wonder comparisons with melodic 80’s sounding synths and love-letter lyrics. Glad she lost the braids, or…
Placement in art is as important as placement is in music. Ask Christian Marclay: the artist-slash-musician who’s also the proclaimed “inventor of turntablism.” The guy compiles classic LP covers to make compelling exquisite corpses as he does scratching up symphonies on the 1’s and 2’s. The New York artist examines gender and race in his works, clashing iconic faces with unknown bodies.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Song of the Day: “Scandalous” – Mis-Teeq
European R&B trio Mis-Teeq never quite saw the fame they had overseas when crossing over stateside with singles “Scandalous” and “One Night Stand.” They’re responsible for some of production duo Stargate’s (Chris Brown, Ne-Yo, Rihanna) earliest material. Now separated, Mis-Teeq is just another group forgotten at the bottom of the dollar bin.
AJ Fosik‘s paint, wood, and nail sculptures look like Nicktoon versions of Chinese New Year masks (specifically Aaahh!!! Real Monsters). The Philly artist’s three-dimensional creations hang everywhere from Paris to San Fran. There’s always been the perception that art with eyes will follow you. With Fosik’s, I sure hope not.
World Premiere: “I Go Off” – Beanie Sigel (Featuring 50 Cent)
The wack rap ringtone killa, Beanie Sigel, is currently in a between-label limbo involving two of rap’s heaviest hitters: 50 Cent and Jay-Z. On the new street single, “I Go Off,” 50 does hook duty while Beanie shows Jay what he’s missing by dropping the Roc alum from his new venture. 50 takes on Hova at the track’s close claiming he’s forgotten his Marcy upbringing to become a pass the Grey Poupon elitist. The battle begins…
Kids make the best subjects. They’re androgynous, full of expression, and perfect for sample size. Ryan McGinley shot a set of energetic children in full-fledged F/W ’09 ready-to-wear for the latest issue of Purple magazine. It’s by far one of the best editorials of this year. Where they chaperones at? [Top: Rodarte / Middle: Chanel / Bottom: Givenchy]
Face it. Boy bands were just one of the many predicaments that came with the 1990’s […the Lawrence brothers included]. Today’s song is from the only boy band I’ve ever seen live. They opened for Christina Aguilera at a Six Flags in seventh grade. Considered it to be some of the best cheese life had to offer. Still sort of do. [I swear… if the blonde frontman winks at me one more time I’m gonna have to buy the CD single.]
Mariko Mitanovski‘s heavily referenced neo-gothic looks rocked the independent loop of this past London Fashion Week. I’m a die-hard fan of ruff collars (see below) and regal design, so, it’s no surprise he’s garnered my attention. He is currently at work on his second collection to premiere February 2010.
I’ve been obsessed with Antonio Palladino‘s precious metal creations since I saw them on the main floor of Barney’s New York my freshman year of college. His sea creature cuffs, earrings, and rings are sublime. Have a look, have a drool, but not so fast: they’re all worth more than Fort Knox.
The dying craft of couture has found its new emperor. Search for Stephane Rolland on style.com and you’re bound to come back with ‘no results’. That’s why I’m glad to see someone’s (other than my own) eye was caught by his spring Haute Couture show. That someone being Mariel Haenn, Rihanna’s super-stylist, who dressed her client in one of his most stunning creations to accept the “Woman of the Year” award at this year’s Glamour honors at Carnegie Hall. Looking like a crumbled pile of paper planes, the gown exhibits there’s still relevance within the few houses of couture in existence today. Hopefully the man whose experience boasts being both creative director for Balenciaga’s menswear division and ten years designing for coutourier Jean-Louis Scherrer, sees his dues. Bring couture back. [To Ri-Ri: I could’ve waited longer had “Wait Your Turn (Wait Is Ova)” been good.]
Vodpod videos no longer available. World Premiere: “Pat Your Weave” – UCB
You’d think I just got back from (visiting the O’s in) the capitol, the way I’ve been on a D.C. roll lately. With all the representation on the blog recently you’d think I knew the mayor. Having posted Amerie and U.S. Royalty, today premiering Wale and UCB’s video for go-go anthem, “Pat Your Weave” – I can’t say it’s political. Wale‘s debut drops tomorrow.
I saw D.C. rockers, U.S. Royalty, live this past spring at Pianos and couldn’t get this one song outta my head. (Big ups to Chris) It’s got the power to transport any listener back to 75 degree summer evenings with mini Colt 45’s and bonfires even in 30 degree weather. Their EP is out now.
Catching the attention of Dazed stylist, Nicola Formichetti, St. Martin’s designer Ara Jo, looks to have been inspired by one of my favorite mockumentary characters of all time: Mr. G [Summer Heights High]. Can’t wait for Lilley’s next venture Angry Boys!
World Premiere: “Shakin’ It For Daddy” – Robin Thicke
(Featuring Nicki Minaj & Ester Dean)
There’s been a bit of a blue-eyed soul shortage on the airwaves as of late. Justin Bieber just ain’t cuttin’ it! Thank god Thicke’s back with the Polow-produced whisper-popper, “Shakin’ It For Daddy,” featuring rapper of the moment Nicki Minaj. Cowabunga!
I just recently came across designer Dean Quinn‘s Central St. Martin’s ’09 BA collection and fell head over heels in love. Inspired by Blade Runner and window blinds, the collection resembles a toned-down version of Nicholas Ghesquiere’s S/S 2007 space odyssey. Using rows of intricately placed bugle beads to achieve three-dimensional shadows, Quinn approaches fashion as it were a science project. The toughly tailored results are like something out of the future.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
Song of the Day: “Real Big” – Mannie Fresh
Bad rap isn’t hard to come by, so, one must really evaluate the type of badness they’re into before flooding their ears with mounts of the horrendous. Are you one for the flagrantly offensive? Is excessive materialname-drops your thing? Clap on. Most would have a hard time placing Mannie Fresh of the Big Tymers anywhere near Zack Morris of Saved by the Bell and his monstrous cell phone, but, Fresh makes it real easy in his ’07 video for the hilarious “Real Big.” Clap off. Bad rap at its finest.
Amerie‘s never had the best voice. But, she’s got the production to help you forget. The fact that she’s a softy vocally can make her either sound organic or pitchy. Rich Harrison took her strained soprano and placed it above big band D.C. drumkicks to make “1 Thing” her biggest hit to date. On her latest effort [In Love and War], the underrated songstress scraps the ballads to build bulk with what put her on the map in the first place – that big bang. Fueled in part by live guitar backgrounds and heavy percussion, “Dangerous” and “Higher” are unquestionably two of the best R&B tracks of the year. Amerie’s lacking vocals just make them feel that much more real.
In anticipation of Janet‘s follow-up to greatest hits compilation, Design of a Decade, entitled Number Ones (featuring the new single “Make Me”, hitting stores and the web November 17th); Smoke & Mirrors wants to know your favorite Janet hit. Take the poll below. Results will be posted the day of the album release.
Big news for Smoke & Mirrors! Things just got SERIOUS.
The blog’s blend of hip-hop and high fashion caught someone’s attention…
Look for your boy in this month’s issue (December) of Elle.
Pics will be up soon. You won’t be disappointed…
More big things to come. Spread the word