When Kanye creates a Pop Up

Leave it to Kanye to completely shut down a block of Wooster street in SOHO, New York City this weekend. I figured if I got there an hour after the shop opened the first day, I would be fine. Coming off Spring Street, you could see a dozen cop cars with lights flashing and mobs of hype beasts trying to score the "Life of Pablo" merchandise. 

Let's be real, I only went to experience it, see who was there and snap a few cool pictures. I waited in line for about 30 minutes and it moved quickly but by the time I left, we still had not turned the corner to even get on the street.

Earlier that day, youth leader, Ian Connor posted the details on his Instagram which ultimately (I believe) created the hype around it, obviously besides Kanye's tweet. He captioned the photo, "I'm allowing no bad outfits entry, so please be on your shit." Needless to say, everyone was dressed to the nines. 

The only last comment I have was the nasty 40-something-year-old men who somehow made it in there first and started reselling the merchandise by 5:3opm harassing the line that they wouldn't make it inside before it closed at 8pm and they better buy it from them. Really? Get real. Chances are the kids do want the merchandise but actually experiencing the shop is what they're waiting for. 

New York....

 

 

 

 

He's That Boy

And he's making noise! Wiz Khalifa and the whole Under The Influence Tour have outdone themselves yet again! This was my second year attending and it gets better each year, however this is the third consecutive year of UTI. The venue, Jones Beach Arena, which sits in the ocean and is surrounded by the beach was the perfect back drop for the show. The evening opened with acts including Dj Drama, Mack Wilds (who's manager is super dope!), Iamsu, Ty Dolla $ign, Sage the Gemini, Rich Homie Quan and Young Jeezy.

Cameron Jibril Thomaz, better known as Wiz Khalifa or simply Wiz, is a rockstar. I knew this when I first watched him live a year ago and sat in awe during the finale of "Black and Yellow." His family, friends and crew crowded the entire stage as black and yellow confetti burst through the air. As long as one is constantly grinding and reinventing themselves, the outcome progresses to more extreme levels of achievement and success. This tour was no exception. His set included older songs in addition to new songs from his new album, "Blacc Hollywood," set to be dropped August 19th! The highlight for me was a special appearance from French Montana as they performed together, "Ain't Worried About Nothin," and ended it with a nice embrace.

Wiz's graphics were trippy as always, with filmed graphics created by Gabe of Uzi. Smiley face lights adorned both sides of the stage. (Shout out to Jayson on the lighting!) Production also incorporated lifts and elevators into this performance. As the first song began, he rose from underneath at the back of the stage. At one point in the show, he disappeared and reappeared (After we realized he ran like hell) to mid venue on a smaller stage almost levitating and gave the concert-goers in the back an up-close and personal view. Confetti, smoke, fireworks, and other clouds of smoke are a must when turning up at any Taylor Gang show.

Khalifa's stage presence and aura during his concerts are like no other. No other rapper-musician have I seen, does it like he does. His smile is contagious, and at the end he humbly reminded the crowd to, "Be you, because I accept you for who you are. " Rock on you rockstar! My advice to you: Go. And get in the front row. TGOD!

 

 

 

Broken Hearts, Make $.

 

Choo Jackson, Pennsylvania native, fellow Most Dope Rapper, 40 oz now Yuengling drinker, and Balmain Denim admirer, is headlining his first tour this June and dropping a new album. I spoke with him to gather the details. See him on the tour this summer in a town near you! Read on...

City Proper: Your first headlining tour, what does it feel like in 1 sentence?

Choo Jackson: "It feels like the shit."

CP: You're new video, "Marble's" just dropped, can you tell us a little about your inspiration for the song and how the video reflected it?

CJ: Inspiration is of course  females, yea, and females, you know, yea. It's about my old fling-a-lings, and what I used to do with those flings. The video shows a good day with one girl, it doesn't really put the song into perspective but everyone can relate to it and everyone chills with a girl. 

CP: You're about to go on tour, what is your favorite song to perform?

CJ: I've been trying out new songs in my shows, but right now it's "Convo" and "Gap Toof Nigga."

CP: What is it like to put Chambersburg on the map? 

CJ: It's okay, it's great, I guess but it's still a small town, so nobody really gives a fuck. There's not that much support behind you but it's 50/50. I wish I could do concerts at my own fucking place, but that is why I have to expand and go tour to places. But I still love it. 

CP: How do you differentiate yourself from other rappers in the game at the moment right now? 

CJ: Ummm....by being honest and not doing anything just to do it, doing everything from the heart. I'm not trying to be anyone else, other people duplicate, I only listen to myself and my friends who are in this career. I just stay weird. I try different things. 

CP: The standard question everyone wants to know, "What is it like working with Mac (Miller)?"

CJ: It's always good, but I was to myself working on this new stuff, I didn't want help, I didn't need help. Anytime we work on something together it's classical.  Marbles is actually super old, I made it almost 2 years ago, but it still is a good song I listen to. But yea, Mac's a genius. 

CP: You have a lot of young kids in your fan base, what kind of advice can you offer to those peers who want a career in the music industry?

CJ: Without sounding cliche, be different. Try to be different and as honest as possible.

CP: What can we expect to see from you in the next year or so?

CJ: You can expect to see growth, trying to become a better person, hopefully in a good place, a classic album, with a few hit records. 

CP: On a dream collab: 

CJ: Just Pharell. Everyone probably says that, but I really mean it. He's the shit right now. But he's always been the shit.

CP: Final Thoughts?

CJ: Broken Hearts. Make Money. June 19th. (Jackson's Studio Album)

 

Follow Choo: @gaptoofchoo  IG: choogotyourbeer Tickets available Soon. Photo snatched from Justin Photofied! Interview by: Emily Burnette

 

Why you should listen to Alexander Mack, Synesthesia & Staying in School

Walk me through the creative process of writing music in college. It sucks because the first two years of school, I would just write songs down in my notebook in class and go home and record when I could. My junior year I got a little set-up for my room and Unikue and I started working. It was hard because I didn’t have any time to devote to it. I’d be at a party and in class and then just write it down when I had a thought. I was held back a lot in college.

When did you realize you not only had a real interest in this, but an actual talent for music? I realized that I had an interest when I was 12. One day I was singing in my room and my brother walked by, heard me, grabbed my hand and made me sing for my dad. As a musician, my dad is honest and he told me I had talent. It’s interesting because I don’t have to read music I can just listen and play it. I use more of the right side of my brain. When I hear a sound, I see a color.  It’s this phenomenon called synesthesia. Only about 1 in 200,000 people have it. I only started rapping because I wanted to get better at song writing.

Talk to me about the most crucial aspect of making music. I’m a huge jazz fan and I like anything I can respect the musicality. I don’t talk about anything that I don’t have, that hasn’t happened to me or that I haven’t gone through. Some people are going to be mad when I release the songs, but I’ll talk to them when it happens. Just be honest.

Whats something no one knows about your style? A lot of people ask me about the way I dress.  Growing up, my parents dressed me in Ralph Lauren and Osh-Kosh. I wanted to wear jerseys and headbands so bad but they wouldn’t let me and I just grew into it and learned to like it.

How did you meet the other parts of Noble Reign? I met Unikue while walking by his dorm room and he was playing, “A Tribe Called Quest." Naturally we clicked and eventually became roommates. Keith, the third counterpart moved in across the hall from us a few semesters later. One night Unikue and I were working on music and Keith comes in super loud, (and drunk) and was like," let me spit something." He was freestyling but he was simply talking about his life and Unikue and I were like, “Damn, okay." After that we became a group, it was completely random meeting each other. 

What makes you different? Why should people listen to you? Growing up I never heard a type of hip-hop that pertained to me. As a black kid, I grew up in a good family and my parents always took care of me and I was told I acted “white” which I never understood. I just make music for the people like me. Childish Gambino inspired me, but I like to put more soul into it. I don’t think there are any other rappers out there who produce everything. I offer a jazz sound, rap and play the piano....I offer a whole bunch of different things.

 Short and long term plan? Any debuts? ST: I’m working on a project right now, I have no idea when I’m going to put it out, but right now its just getting those songs done. I have a few other people I’m producing and writing for. LT: I want to bring music back to hip-hop.

Music back to hip-hop? I’m more concerned about the legacy of what I’m doing. I want to do something different and influence music and I want to be respected at the end of the day. I don’t want to be the type of person who is all about a check or just changes their music to just get more money. Staying true while making moves. If I can make a good living off of doing something I love then I pretty much win.

Dream collab? I would love to do a song with Stevie Wonder that would be crazy. I want him actually singing on the song. He’s worked with Drake and did a harmonica but I want him singing. I could quit now if Stevie was on a song of mine.

What are your thoughts of all these musicians (past and present) dropping out of college to pursue a career in music? I think that if you really have the passion for making music and you thought about it and you don’t see any gain from being in school then create a strong game plan, a back up plan and do you. For me, I wanted to stay in school and get a degree because it was going to be beneficial to me and allow me to make more money and put that money into my music.

Last thoughts. How you dress and what you say are peoples main opinions of you and I’d say dress the day you want to be perceived. 

Follow Matt: https://soundcloud.com/the-alexander-mack Instagram @EasyAlexMack Interview by: Emily Burnette. Photography: Cory Hammons 

Johnny Sword on Breaking into the Music Industry

Tell me about your latest single: This Room. I hate to even acknowledge it but it started with another blues or rock song and it normally has something to do about a girl. It doesn’t have to be about her but we split and I was playing some guitar and that’s a really soulful guitar sound. It was 4am and the moon was coming up and it sounded so cheesy, I was watching the moon and shifted my focus away from the song. I could see it rising over the mountains, it looked like a hot air balloon, “baby lets stay up late like we used to and watch the moon like a hot air balloon. I started playing this riff. It was a song about my surroundings tied in with what I was feeling. I ran with the idea, I was honest about it, the moon, the candles, the emotion of this person and how much they light up my world. And it was also like two weeks ago when I wrote it, it was a fast release and I came up with this lyric, its too damn cold, we’re not leaving this room. It was what I was feeling at that moment. I recently got into video editing and cutting and this will be the first product, I recorded it top to bottom the song this room, I did it completely on my own. I planted the seed, watered it, watched it grow, and now could harvest the crop.

 How did you get into music? I’ve always been drawn to music and begged my parents to listen to something and even in the car with my friends I always hog the music. My biggest inspiration to pick up an instrumentwas my dad. He would come home and play guitars and I would sit and listen. Eventually I got ballsy and took his guitar while he was at work and I broke a string off and he got pissed off and I blamed it on the cat. I taught myself how to play and wrote terrible songs and was playing bars at 14 years old. I lied about my age to get into the bars.

Where do you draw inspiration from?  I’ve honestly thought that inspiration comes from everything. Good music is a huge inspiration depending on your taste and even bad music, which inspires you on what not to do. Even listening to a bird chirping outside, recreating that melody. How Do I make my guitar sound like a freight train? To me, that is whatI try to do. Singers Songwriters, inspire me, and so do Jason Isbel andRyan Adams, there are a lot of good guys out there right now doing really good stuff.

What's it like to go from band to solo? I’m still in the band Dirty White Lies, doing my solo thing on the side and really being a music whore right now and being involved in as many projects as possible. It’s difficult when I was deciding when to release my own shit and when to release the dirty white lies and making sure they don’t clash. When you have four guys in a band together, it almost becomes a marriage, but sometimes you get at each others throats. when you have four different guys you have four different schedules and four different lives. DWL is rock and roll but this is a way for me to express myself outside of the band. I like to change the channel and listen to a different station for a while.

 Describe your style to me: Oh shit. Genres are so weird today, its almost as frustrating as filling out your tax forms because you don’t now what to put where. Its more of Americana, pop.

Describe your personal style: My clothing. Ah. Honestly I it really depends what day you catch me. Sometimes I look like a bum and sometimes I look like a 14-year- old skater chick. Some days I like to dress with elegance and class. It’s more of a southern gentleman style. I like to wear things that mean things,like the hat in the video. That means something to me in the video. It dates back to the 1930’s and it means something to me.

 Take me through song writing and composing?Sometimes it starts with an emotion and sometimes it’s a thought and you feel strongly about an emotion, or sometimes it could start with just playing around on a guitar.

Ill draw some from guitar melody, emotion, or lyrics and I’ll play around with it for a little while, and most of the time it doesn’t work so I’ll go smoke and think about it. I’ll record demos on my phone and I’ll sit down with it and get deeper with it. Sometimes it takes time to develop a song and it’s a lot of trial and error. You can always come back to it later. Once I feel good about it, I will record the demo in my baby studio in my basement and then lay down base tracks. I won’t listen to it for a week and if I catch myself humming the melody or thinking about it, Ill go back to it. If I like it with fresh ears then ill go back to it and complete it. There’s always songs in other songs, I think I’m quoting John Mayer in that. So yea that’s the songwriter process for me, it’s a scatterbrained process but it works for me.

Any last thoughts/comments: Anybody that is running a down a music career, go to college and stop. Actually I don’t know about that stop part but definitely consider going to college. If music is something you want to do, make sure your heart is in it. Do it because you love it. 

Fashion For Everyone

It’s that season again to shop until you drop! Who am I kidding, don’t fashionistas shop all year long? Clothing is that one tricky gift that no one likes to touch. How many clothes are returned after December 25th? Probably a lot. And I admit it, I hate when people buy me clothes because let's face it, I wouldn't be caught dead in those looks. So I made it a little easier for you. With this gift guide, buying trendy clothing and accessories that your f&f will like (and actually wear!) will be a breeze.

For {Your friend who needs a little direction}

Let’s be honest, this is your trickiest client! Break them in with an accessory or blouse that you think would compliment them and finish with a gift card from the same store so they feel comfortable trying out a new style. Peep: Loft, Francesca’s Accessories, Anthropologie, Aritzia.

For {One of your girlfriends}

The easiest way to conquer this one is to buy something that you would like! It’s true; you probably share similar tastes in style. Try spicing it up with a statement wardrobe piece such as an oversized sweater, or mini black bloots with gold touches from TJ Maxx or on etsy.com!

For {Your fashion guru}

Anything you see coming off the runway! Leather accents, Alexander Wang (If you were able to grab those H&M designs), bold graphics, an oversized minimal jacket, a metallic clutch, or the hottest heels for a holiday party. Check style.com to see what's hot for the holidays.

For {Your Mother}

Look for pieces that emphasize simplicity, elegance and timelessness. A versatile leather handbag from Badgley Mischka will WOW her. If you are looking for the same quality but a smaller price, peruse the handbags by Vince Camuto. If a handbag is not in your budget, opt for the same design wallet and slip a gift card in it to her favorite restaurant, grocery store or spa.

For {The Man in your Life}

Next to the friend with no fashion sense is your father, brother or boyfriend. Not all men hate shopping, but the majority of them do. Forget the tie, wallet, and watch. I've always loved giving boxers with cheeky sayings as stocking stuffers. Every man also needs a few casual plain tees, stores like American Apparel and  Banana Republic offer these year round. Sites that offer a personalized box to your man's doorstep each month is also a fabulous idea. Check out mantry.com, trunk club, and birchbox for men. All offer a small box of the most delicious foods, clothing, or skincare and hygiene products that keep the guy in you life happy!

Lastly, For {You}

Now is the time to splurge on those over the knee boots that you have had your eye on! An essential piece like a tailored, wool trench coat from J.Crew or that classic timepiece from Kate Spade would be joyous!

Shop Away!

 

 

A Well-dressed Man

Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Visvim......in Blacksburg? Huh? I must be dreaming. Nope it's true, and what's even more fabulous is this gentleman knows how to style these designer pieces to create a cohesive look. After shooting, I sat down with this fashionisto to pick his brain on fashion at Virginia Tech, inspiration for his wardrobe and what holds him down as a whole. Read on...

City Proper: Where does your inspiration stem from for your wardrobe?

Matt Stephens: I am influenced by unique people and music. I love rock and roll and indie rock and I think that's where the grunge and black come into play. It interests me when high fashion puts out these pieces that are contradictory to their brand and I like the blending together of music and fashion and that is something I look for when shopping. 

CP: If you could have any musicians wardrobe, whose would you steal?

MS: I feel like I'd be cliche if I said this but, Kanye.

CP:  Describe your personal style in 3 words.

MS: Black. Functional. Innovative. 

CP: What are some "Must-Haves" every man should have in his closet?

MS: No ratchet clothes, good undergarments.What you wear on top must match in quality what you wear underneath. You can ball out with your flyest gear but on your down day you can't be wearing a basic Hane's T-shirt.

CP: Is there anything you hate that guys wear?

MS: Baggy Pants. And basically anything frat guys wear. 

 

 

Let's Hear it for New York

No doubt the wildest, most unpredictable, spontaneous, priceless, and fearless two and a half months have gone by. You either love New York or you hate it. I hated it at first, but now I love it. The opportunity, the chance that you might just be run over by 50 cent's Murcielago, see Obama drive by, or walk by A$VP Bari and Christian Siriano. You won't get that anywhere else. Here more than anywhere else people are all trying to make it. Here is a list of my favorite things & spots throughout the city.

  • The HighLine at Night
  • The Heath at The McKittrick Hotel
  • Americano's Roof Top & The food!
  • Yogurtland
  • Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
  • Anything in Brooklyn.
  • Buffalo Exchange Consignment
  • L&W Oyster Company
  • Walter's Bar on 7th Ave for Karaoke Thursdays
  • The Jane Hotel
  • The Mondrian & Isola
  • Rockaway Beach at 67th Street
  • Chelsea Piers for Tanning
  • The Frying Pan
  • Columbia University at Night
  • Troy's Liqour Bar
  • Central Park Summer Stage
  • Battery Park for sunsets!
  • La Marina
  • Z Hotel Rooftop for a perfect view of Manhattan
  • Cafe Moment's in Jamaica, Queens
  • Jones Beach
  • Beauty Bar

 

 

Rock On The meshing together of the fashion and music industries today

 

            Everywhere you look musicians are rocking the latest fashion trends, fashion labels and fashion houses. Artists are always seeking out the newest designs to flaunt on tour. Let’s go shopping and see some hot labels artist’s are scouring over!  Damir Doma, a Parisian designer has celebrities from Kanye West to Nelly Furtado repping his collections all over the world. Doma’s inspiration stems from Giorgio Armani and his style can be described as realistic, but high fashion. In his womenswear collection he plays around with different textures, fabrics and draping. Check out his collection here at www.damirdoma.com. Another great fashion house to sneak a peek at is Opening Ceremony in NYC. This high-end boutique, which opened its doors in 2002, specializes in carrying a broad range of designer brands for men and women such as Alexander Wang, Acne Studios, and Christopher Kane. They also have in house designers for their own label, Opening Ceremony. Their label features special collaborations with other guest designers. A$AP Rocky, as well as Gwen Stefani are regulars when they’re in the city!   Givenchy, another trendy French design house just attracts the musicians like crazy! Rihanna, Wiz Khalifa and Florence Welch have all been spotted rocking Givenchy on the red carpets and on stage! Rihanna has been photographed sporting the graphic animal Givenchy tee’s as well as thigh high studded boots and gold graphic shorts while performing! Givenchy incorporates an edgy feel to all of their garments.Whatever your style influences are, these labels are sure to make you one fashionista.