Next week we're unveiling a lookbook that features a historic group of collaborators. Here's an inside look behind the creation of "Sons of Greatness."
When I was 14, in the weeks following September 11th our downtown high school temporarily closed its doors and relocated to the depths of Brooklyn while the dust settled and the city mourned. I remember a lot about those days -- nervous, alone, and in unfamiliar waters as I watched my hometown change. I remember my 2-hour train rides to Brooklyn across three boroughs, wearing a t-shirt with a picture of Method Man on it taken by Ricky Powell that I had bought at Yellow Rat Bastard on Broadway, listening to CD's I burned at home of Big Pun, Run DMC, and Wu Tang Clan. Time and people come to pass, but their influence lives on. When the opportunity recently came about to pay tribute by pairing Ricky, street culture's most iconic photographer, with the children of his subjects of years past - It was a deeply meaningful challenge that I knew I had to take on.
I originally connected with Ricky last year through a mutual friend. There was always an interest between us to collaborate, but not for the sake of shooting the same boring lookbook as everyone else or solely leveraging his pedigree. It was important for me to want to add to the discourse of iconic work that Ricky's created over the years instead of just leeching off of it, as is most often the case in our culture today, where brands and artists crawl into the abandoned shells of the greats of years past like hermit crabs.
Then in April I was introduced by Lou Morgan (son of comedian Tracy Morgan) to the work of his friend TJ Mizell -- an accomplished DJ in his own right
and son of the legendary Jam Master Jay. I sensed some potential there, but the concept needed to be developed further - so we waited.
Left: Run DMC in Paris by Ricky Powell, 1986. Right: TJ Mizell for Moss Clothing at Paul's Boutique, 2014
When I met Young Dirty Bastard I knew that we were ready to move forward. But time and again, things got in our way. Scheduling conflicts were abound - YDB became the father of twins and was living full-time in Atlanta, TJ was on the road with A$AP Ferg, and I had long-standing plans to travel in June. In the end these setbacks turned out to be a blessing, as they paved way for us to connect with the fourth and final piece of our project. Chris Rivers (son of Big Pun) was following in the footsteps of his father and had recently come off tour with YDB. It didn't take much convincing for him to jump on board and the rest was history.
Regardless of how the project comes to be received, it's enough for me that we were able to see this through and have as much fun as we did while making it happen. Still, I'm anxious for you to check it out. Keep an eye out for "Sons of Greatness" next week.
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