CNN ‘Fresh Dressed’, Fashion In Hip-Hop Culture


CNN‘s noteworthy broadcast film, Fresh Dressed, is a must watch for the fashionable and hip-hop enthusiasts alike. The documentary explores the stylistic impact of fashion within the hip-hop culture and the growth of urban fashion brands. The entrepreneurial endeavors of  Carl Thomas, the creator of Cross Colours and Karl Kani, spun the popularity of many other hip-hop labels such as FUBU and Sean John. Cross Colours, the first of many thereafter, were the epitome of the styles we love to reference now, which were displayed on shows such as In Living Color and The Fresh Prince.


Photo Credit: CNN “Fresh Dressed”/ Will Smith in Cross Colours


Photo Credit: Karl Kani and Aaliyah

LL Cool J’s 1999 FUBU Commercial


The struggle that most urban wear faced was the ever-changing direction in style of the fashion industry. But what fashion looked as a a “fad” was what the urban society looked at as culture. It’s interesting to note how the most prevalent designers made a way for their art to be seen. Explore the ups, downs and cultural influence of hip-hop fashion in CNN’s Fresh Dressed.



What urban hip-hop brand would you love to see make a comeback?



J.Cole Surprises Kids For Homecoming Show

Cindy Burnham

Photo Credit: Cindy Burnham, The Fayetteville Observer


It’s not every day that you hear of an artist doing great deeds for the community. Not that they don’t happen, but gossip events almost always overshadow their benevolent acts of kindness. And although J.Cole has been in the news before for lending a hand to the youth of Fayetteville, NC, he’s done it again. This past weekend, Cole held a show in his hometown of Fayetteville for the 2014 Forest Hills Drive Tour to a sold out crowd. While the crowd witnessed performances by Jay Z, Big Sean and Drake, a 4 kids from the area got a chance to meet Cole for a chat. According to one report, the kids had been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody and what they thought was a summer exercise, turned into a one on one meet and greet with J.Cole, where he discussed rising above their current circumstances and education.

Last night, J.Cole brought out Jay Z and Drake, but he did something even greater for 4 special and deserving kids. These kids have been removed from their families and placed in CPS custody, they don’t wake up smiling every day because life isn’t peaches and cream. So a bunch of these kids on a voluntary basis wrote an essay about what success meant to them and their proudest moment. They had no idea why they were writing it, except as a summer exercise. One child wrote, “Letting go of anger against all those that have done me wrong.” Despite circumstances of no parental involvement or single home, lack of finances and role models, these kids have maintained good grades and behavior. Seeing beyond Fayetteville is just a dream for them if u ask them. Last night, Cole and Dreamville invited these young people to his concert and afterwards, he took out time to talk with them about life one on one and as a group. He encouraged them to get their education and go the right thing. He told them that circumstances don’t define them or what they can do.

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Share your stories from the show!


Something Cool: Photographer, Janette Beckman


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman

‘Something Cool’ is a weekly column that focuses on creative content and cool people around the web within the art and entertainment field. 


Capturing hip-hop from its beginning phases was probably an experience like no other. Whether it was witnessed through a purchased album, a radio interview or analog photography, it’s a one time account that is unique to each person who encountered it. Janette Beckman was a witness to those beginning times and her story is told through her photography lens, having captured the movement from 1982 until 1990. Janette’s subject matter include artists such as Run DMC, LL Cool J, N.W.A. and A Tribe Called Quest. Revisit the beginning of a legacy through Janette Beckman’s lens and enjoy more from her portfolio.


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman

ll cool j

Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


Photo Credit: Janette Beckman



Dig in your stash and share some of your #OldSchoolHipHop photos!


How Dope Was LL Cool J’s ‘Radio’ ?

ll cool j

Photo Credit: Janette Beckman


The other night, a friend called and asked who were the pioneers of hip-hop. I rattled off a few names including Kurtis BlowRun DMC and N.W.A, who were the pioneers of Gangster Rap. It’s ironic that this question came right at the time I’d just finished listening to LL Cool J‘s debut studio album, RadioI was introduced to LL Cool J’s “Jingling Baby” and “Mama Said Knock You Out” so having missed the time period of Radio, was the the purpose for backtracking. I also credit a hip-hop discussion thread for bringing attention to the topic. Continue reading

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Style



While watching Straight Outta Compton this past weekend, I couldn’t help but notice how well the styling, props and additional set features worked together to bring the movie experience to life. The ’90s hip hop style was undoubtedly one of the most iconic periods in fashion and costume designer, Kelli Jones brought N.W.A signature style into a contemporary setting. Continue reading

Are Rap Labels A Bad Thing?


We’ve long given hip-hop genre sub-labels, including titles such as trap, street, gangster, and conscious. For the most part, a theoretical answer for sub-labels is to separate authentic and inauthentic hip-hop. Authentic hip-hop is typically typecast as lyrical and being a direct reflection of an artists reality. Inauthentic hip-hop is generally stereotyped as being chalk full of exaggerated lyrical content and watered down production. When it comes to labels, all artists that fall under one of the sub-labels within the rap category struggle to advance outside of their designated box. As limiting and frustrating as it is, are rap labels a bad thing or is it possible to prove the media and fans wrong by pushing past the label limit?
Continue reading

‘Straight Outta Compton’ Movie Review



Straight Outta Compton came straight out the gate with an estimated $24.5 million on it’s opening night (Friday August 14th) and is expected to reach at least $55 million by the end of the weekend. The F. Gary Grey directed film, which is produced by former N.WA members, Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, was undoubtedly a highly anticipated film with much push from the media. Despite the buzz created around the film and the companion ‘Compton’ soundtrack by Dr.Dre, most of the reviews didn’t quite mirror the 87% rating given by Rotten Tomatoes. Vanity Fair, however, composed the most reflective review, in that it captured the gist and the purest essence of the film. I happened to enjoy the movie in its entirety and was a great viewpoint of N.W.A and social issues in the 80s and 90s era. It was a far cry from the made for TV movies that we are accustomed to. Straight Outta Compton is definitely a must see. Continue reading