Your Memory's Museum
Your Memory's Museum

56
Poster Boys: How the Costacos Brothers built a wall art empire (via @sbnation)
SEATTLE, 1984 – It all began with Prince. Naturally. One morning in his grandparents’ house that sat atop his home city, John Costacos – just 23 years old – awoke to hearing “Purple Rain” on the radio. 
 A University of Washington graduate whose football team had the best defense in the country at the time, Costacos came up with the idea of making a “Purple Reign” T-shirt to honor the team, featuring a lineman in a purple jersey falling from a cloud in the sky. Costacos printed up the shirts, traveled to a road game at Stanford one fall weekend and sold them in the parking lot. The idea was brilliant. By the end of the first week, he later estimated he had sold 20,000. [Read More…]
Words by @AmyKNelson

Poster Boys: How the Costacos Brothers built a wall art empire (via @sbnation)

SEATTLE, 1984 – It all began with Prince. Naturally. One morning in his grandparents’ house that sat atop his home city, John Costacos – just 23 years old – awoke to hearing “Purple Rain” on the radio. 

 A University of Washington graduate whose football team had the best defense in the country at the time, Costacos came up with the idea of making a “Purple Reign” T-shirt to honor the team, featuring a lineman in a purple jersey falling from a cloud in the sky. Costacos printed up the shirts, traveled to a road game at Stanford one fall weekend and sold them in the parking lot. The idea was brilliant. By the end of the first week, he later estimated he had sold 20,000. [Read More…]

Words by @AmyKNelson

Atlanta to Atlantis: An Outkast Restrospective (via pitchfork)
Ten years after from their last major record, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, we trace Big Boi and Andre 3000’s path from Southern vanguards to the most universally beloved rappers in the world with a career-spanning essay followed by separate pieces on each of their six albums. 

Atlanta to Atlantis: An Outkast Restrospective (via pitchfork)

Ten years after from their last major record, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, we trace Big Boi and Andre 3000’s path from Southern vanguards to the most universally beloved rappers in the world with a career-spanning essay followed by separate pieces on each of their six albums. 

800
Hard Knock Life: The Ballad of Damon Dash (via details)
He was the crown prince of the Bling Era, a Svengali who turned his friend and partner Jay-Z into a superstar, signed Kanye West, and built a business empire that extended far beyond hip-hop. Then he split with Hova, and bit by bit, the mercurial mogul began to lose it all—his label, his wife, his homes, and the figurative shirt off his back. Today, as Jay-Z towers over the culture, the 42-year-old Dash insists he’s right where he wants to be: hustling and hungry.

Hard Knock Life: The Ballad of Damon Dash (via details)

He was the crown prince of the Bling Era, a Svengali who turned his friend and partner Jay-Z into a superstar, signed Kanye West, and built a business empire that extended far beyond hip-hop. Then he split with Hova, and bit by bit, the mercurial mogul began to lose it all—his label, his wife, his homes, and the figurative shirt off his back. Today, as Jay-Z towers over the culture, the 42-year-old Dash insists he’s right where he wants to be: hustling and hungry.

God’s Freshman Year: Kanye West’s ‘The College Dropout’ Turns 10 (via @spinmagazine)
Try to recall just how embattled hip-hop was just a decade ago. Starting at the end of the ’90s and hitting a fever pitch by the mid-2000s, the story was that Puff Daddy and his shiny-suit shenanigans had made a mockery of real rap, while a then-burgeoning underground scene savvy enough to market itself as the stalwart alternative — never forget that king-making backpack-rap label Rawkus Records was started by Rupert Murdoch’s son! — was fighting the good fight for lyricism and social responsibility and all that good stuff.
But when Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout, arrived on February 11, 2004, it loudly announced what plenty of rap heads who preferred neither faction were already whispering to one another: Neither side’s got it right! The record revealed that hip-hop’s culture wars were fueled by the narcissism of small differences: It just took a true narcissist to call everybody out and bridge the gap. His production style? The over-the-top Michael Bay boom-bap of Puff himself mixed with the crate-digging classicism of Pete Rock-informed classicist beat-makers like J. Dilla. Declaring himself the “first nigga with a Benz and a backpack,” the visionary producer — and incredibly clever and charmingly clunky MC — seemed to get a sick thrill out of pairing, say, Mos Def with Freeway. (Because they sounded great together, but also because they secretly weren’t all that different.) He also got a then fairly impervious-on-record Jay-Z to do a goofy guffaw on the final track, threw a downright goofy AutoTune breakdown (in ‘04, mind you) onto a track about female body image that took plenty of cheap shots at women’s bodies itself, and rapped about Jesus and middle-class struggles and blowjobs with equal aplomb.
To mark the 10th anniversary of The College Dropout, SPIN has asked a different writer to take on each track (grouped together with the skits where appropriate), affording this knotty record — one famous for skirting easy answers — the multifaceted, often contradictory celebration it deserves. Enjoy. 

God’s Freshman Year: Kanye West’s ‘The College Dropout’ Turns 10 (via @spinmagazine)

Try to recall just how embattled hip-hop was just a decade ago. Starting at the end of the ’90s and hitting a fever pitch by the mid-2000s, the story was that Puff Daddy and his shiny-suit shenanigans had made a mockery of real rap, while a then-burgeoning underground scene savvy enough to market itself as the stalwart alternative — never forget that king-making backpack-rap label Rawkus Records was started by Rupert Murdoch’s son! — was fighting the good fight for lyricism and social responsibility and all that good stuff.

But when Kanye West’s debut album, The College Dropout, arrived on February 11, 2004, it loudly announced what plenty of rap heads who preferred neither faction were already whispering to one another: Neither side’s got it right! The record revealed that hip-hop’s culture wars were fueled by the narcissism of small differences: It just took a true narcissist to call everybody out and bridge the gap. His production style? The over-the-top Michael Bay boom-bap of Puff himself mixed with the crate-digging classicism of Pete Rock-informed classicist beat-makers like J. Dilla. Declaring himself the “first nigga with a Benz and a backpack,” the visionary producer — and incredibly clever and charmingly clunky MC — seemed to get a sick thrill out of pairing, say, Mos Def with Freeway. (Because they sounded great together, but also because they secretly weren’t all that different.) He also got a then fairly impervious-on-record Jay-Z to do a goofy guffaw on the final track, threw a downright goofy AutoTune breakdown (in ‘04, mind you) onto a track about female body image that took plenty of cheap shots at women’s bodies itself, and rapped about Jesus and middle-class struggles and blowjobs with equal aplomb.

To mark the 10th anniversary of The College Dropout, SPIN has asked a different writer to take on each track (grouped together with the skits where appropriate), affording this knotty record — one famous for skirting easy answers — the multifaceted, often contradictory celebration it deserves. Enjoy. 

129
Casualty of the Game: The Big L Story (via complexmagazine)
Who was the greatest rapper of all time? When the never-ending debate resumes—from barber shops and street corners to online chat rooms—the same litany of names comes up again and again. You’ve got your living legends—Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Cube—and your fallen heroes—Biggie, 2Pac, Big Pun, and almost always at the end, Big L.
If L comes up as an afterthought, it’s not for lack of skills. During his 24-plus years on earth, the Harlem rap prodigy left behind a painfully small body of work: just one album, a handful of singles and freestyles. Yet on the strength of these recordings he is consistently mentioned among the greatest of the greats. But of course the music only tells part of the story.
This past Friday marked what would have been the 40th birthday of Lamont “Big L” Coleman. He didn’t live to celebrate this milestone because he was murdered in an unsolved shooting on the very same block that raised him, 139th St. and Lenox Ave, a block he famously dubbed, “The Danger Zone.” Unlike many who came up on that block, Lamont Coleman used his talents to travel the world and achieve a kind of immortality through his art.
While many hip-hop fans are well versed in the late MC’s small discography, they are largely unfamiliar with Lamont Coleman himself. That’s about to change. To commemorate L’s short but impactful life, Complex spoke with the select few who knew him best to get to know the man behind the myth. 

Lamont’s close childhood friend, T.E. “Jewlz” Farer, director of the forthcoming documentary, Street Struck: The Big L Story, shared some exclusive photos and videos. L’s oldest brother, Donald Phinazee, granted us a glimpse inside the rhyme book of the self-proclaimed “most valuable poet on the M.I.C.” And partners in rhyme like Lord Finesse and Fat Joe of the Diggin In The Crates crew opened up to share stories that they’ve never told before. In the famous words of DJ Premier, “Big L, Rest in Peace!” 
[Read More…]

Casualty of the Game: The Big L Story (via complexmagazine)

Who was the greatest rapper of all time? When the never-ending debate resumes—from barber shops and street corners to online chat rooms—the same litany of names comes up again and again. You’ve got your living legends—Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Cube—and your fallen heroes—Biggie, 2Pac, Big Pun, and almost always at the end, Big L.

If L comes up as an afterthought, it’s not for lack of skills. During his 24-plus years on earth, the Harlem rap prodigy left behind a painfully small body of work: just one album, a handful of singles and freestyles. Yet on the strength of these recordings he is consistently mentioned among the greatest of the greats. But of course the music only tells part of the story.

This past Friday marked what would have been the 40th birthday of Lamont “Big L” Coleman. He didn’t live to celebrate this milestone because he was murdered in an unsolved shooting on the very same block that raised him, 139th St. and Lenox Ave, a block he famously dubbed, “The Danger Zone.” Unlike many who came up on that block, Lamont Coleman used his talents to travel the world and achieve a kind of immortality through his art.

While many hip-hop fans are well versed in the late MC’s small discography, they are largely unfamiliar with Lamont Coleman himself. That’s about to change. To commemorate L’s short but impactful life, Complex spoke with the select few who knew him best to get to know the man behind the myth. 

Lamont’s close childhood friend, T.E. “Jewlz” Farer, director of the forthcoming documentary, Street Struck: The Big L Story, shared some exclusive photos and videos. L’s oldest brother, Donald Phinazee, granted us a glimpse inside the rhyme book of the self-proclaimed “most valuable poet on the M.I.C.” And partners in rhyme like Lord Finesse and Fat Joe of the Diggin In The Crates crew opened up to share stories that they’ve never told before. In the famous words of DJ Premier, “Big L, Rest in Peace!” 

[Read More…]