01 | ART
04 | ARCHITECTURE
A DEEPER AFFINITY
FACTORY BUILDING: VITRA CAMPUS
SAM ADEFE OLU SEYE
02 | PHOTOGRAPHY ROBIN JADE PHOTO SERIES BY CHARLES OGUNMILADE: MORROCO
05 | MUSIC AMA LOU ODIE ODUNSI THE ENGINE NEW WORLD RAY: INTERVIEW
03 | FASHION ELFREDA FAKOYA
WYOMING MAC MILLER & XXXTENTACION
MOJO KOJO LOOKBOOK A/W MUST HAVES: MEN AND WOMEN
06 | FILM
COVER STORY: JAI ELEVEN [NOTHING]
SAD! VIDEO REVIEW
EDITOR IN CHIEF Derrick Odafi DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Charles Ogunmilade DIRECTOR OF FASHION Teresa Mwangi
FEATURED PHOTOGRAHY Daniel Kulakov Nataline Lamptey Majeek Daniel Femi Olubode Faith Aylward Korrie Powell Tomas Radetich Jimi Agboola Chukwuka Nwobi Akash Khadka Ksenia Burnasheva Fadekemi Tejuoso Oscar Worldpeace Nicole Osula
New Wave Studios FEATURED MODELS WRITERS Brigitta Ben Eghan Chuck Onunkwo Seun Lasile Teresa Mwangi Prince Molife Derrick Odafi Shante Collier-McDermott PHOTOGRAPHY Charles Ogunmilade Lauretta Afful Derrcik Odafi Robin Jade Dara Phillips Eriella Attali Christian Richters Aik Bo
Paige Tyson Sims Dijon and Devontey Joy Ugoyah Haruna Jabak Sara Cheryl Jordan Osei Kady Salahou Prince Pierre Tanatswa Ocean Lewis Maiah Aimi Rae Elle Shokirie Clarke Shekinah Immanuella Jack Daniel Naomi Nimoh Sabrina Silver Constance Power Theresa Lola FEATURED ARTISTS Emmanuel Odumade 1200Jpeg Novar ~ Music Prince Dee Jr ~ Music Ganvdiaart
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As human beings, it is important to have a passion that drives you and your personal identity. This passion is our fuel to create and enjoy the process of creating. For this issue of our magazine, we have selected 3 individuals that we believe exemplify this process. For this section titled â€˜A Deeper Affinityâ€™, these three artists understand that their purpose does not stop at the beautiful pieces of artistry that they create. Their art is a platform to create a dialog and expose their viewers to ideas that need to be expressed in some way shape or form. Alexis Toimiro, Sam Adefe and Olu Seye are artists that are fighting a greater cause in different realms, we walk you through their personal stories and the depths of the work they produce at an exemplary standard.
Art is the creative construct of emotion, spirituality and politics framed in an individualâ€™s sense of beauty that may change with; time, understanding or exposure. This story will begin with the latter, exposure. This is something that the digital universe of cyber space and social media has afforded creatives in this day and age, with no need for elitist art institutions to disrupt any access to the emotion and spirituality that art feeds the soul. From the perspective of the artists themselves, where does their inspiration derive from? This is a question that 20-year-old artist Alexis Exe aims to answer through her warm and elegant digital illustrations.
Born in Toronto, Canada to Caribbean parents Alexis Torimiroâ€™s path towards being a recognised and sought-after illustrator began at an early age. Alexis would later afford herself the title of an artist during her high school years. During this period of her artistic development there was no mainstream black female figure in the industry to look to for inspiration and guidance. Aside from an example of similar creators such as herself, Alexis saw a lack of representation of afro centric women in art and black artists were not a regular topic of discussion in her art classes during her middle and high school years. Alexis credits her entry into art school as the best decision she could make for her future, the lack of knowledge she had for artists such as herself was a disturbing reality. During her years of artistic cultivation, black artists did not seem to be as celebrated/supported as they are now.
This frustration spurred her into developing a style that showcases the beauty and vulnerability of mostly afro female figures from an accommodating and attractive perspective. Her creative inspiration blossomed nd aided her in filling this gap in the artistic landscape by creating art that black people can relate to in some way, while incorporating traditional Japanese motifs. Her growth within art and her ability to disseminate a clear message has matured from her initial illustrations up until present day. Her time spent with her two favourite digital canvases (illustrator and Photoshop) have caused her to build a large following on social platforms, reaching out to the people she aims to inspire and encourage through her work. This creative evolution into the artist that she is today began during her first year of higher education at York University, in Toronto Canada. Alexis set goals and targets to stimulate the left side of her grey matter. With her new-found inspiration, direction and zeal she began to create and expose her work to a large audience by creating an Instagram account in the year of 2016. Her plan was to create and post a piece of Afrofuturism and contemporary Renaissance art, as she describes it, consistently online. However, the evolution of her style did not come without challenges. Alexis from time to time would find trouble with consistency, not due to disinterest but as a result of the dreaded creative condition known as â€˜Artist blockâ€™. These issues would come about occasionally along with a busy schedule allowing no time to create, but Alexis would actively make time. Time to grow her creative currency. Her passion for art, illustration and female representation/empowerment lead her exposure to inspirations such as Eloi Hawaii and Polly Nor. These artists use the female figure as a tool of artistic expression, Alexis would therefore fuse elements of female representation with a retro colour pallet, similar to graphics from the 70â€™s era.
Over the last few months Alexis’ signature style has transitioned from a more cartoonist figure depiction to realist imagery with a subtle use of graphic design concepts. These changes are carried out while always keeping a consistent motif that makes Alexis’s work distinct from any other artist practicing. These new territories within her artworks are unlocked through experimentation. The art of no caring is in full effect, allowing her to design art that she has been striving for since her beginnings in art school, creating illustrations that not only exemplify afrocentric connotations but also the idea that black art can be contemporary and transcendent over time.
Various colours, mediums and layouts were constructed and curated to propagate her work, a process that takes Alexis an average of three days of diligent work. Some of the running themes in her work that form the perimeters of her style are; the white lines which run from the eyes to the mouth of the figure. The purpose of this sophisticated motif is to illustrate the relationship between what we see and how we verbally express our vision, literally and otherwise. The subject in Alexis’s pieces are therefore “humanized” and force a conversation to be had with the piece by the viewer. Other themes in her early work include; flower illustrations, exaggerated features and overlays of images in specific areas of select pieces. 15
Overtime, along with the progressive realism of her work, from simplistic tones to more intricate and more realistic shadows with a beautiful grainy finish. At this point, the graphic design influences in her work begin to appear, most notably in the background of her pieces. From grids to geometries, Alexis used these elements to express micro ideas of abstraction and an interesting balance. Another interesting idea incorporated into her recent work is her lucid illustrations that make appearances in various forms across her recent projects. These illustrations seem to be inspired by the artwork of Chicago abstract expressionist Bryant Giles, scribbled images are in some cases overlaid on the subjects of Alexis’s work to resemble tattoos or cut and curated as graphic shapes.
With a growing fanbase and recently having her first overseas exhibition in London as part of creative debuts’ Anti Art Fair, there are greater things in the works for the amazingly talented creative. Through her stylistic progression, Alexis continues to create with her initial inspiration of shedding a warm light on the beauty of black contemporary art while forcing those all-important feelings of emotion, spirituality and politics in terms of breaking social barriers. The encouragement from lovers of her work are her fuel to continue to touch peoples lives and give young people, especially young black women someone to aspire to and learn from. Consistency and patience are her guides to success, traits she will also need to accomplish the future goals of fashion and design along with working with her favourite musicians. Although there were initial worries in her career choice by her traditional Caribbean parents, Alexis’s art in the modern era is as important as Shigeo Fukuda and Milton Glaser.
LEFT: OUT OF SIT, OUT OF MIND RIGHT: VISIONS
Outside of music and hairstyling, Alexis’s passion for art has the potential to develop a more than suitable platform for her to be recognised as a key figure in the world-wide creative industry.
An important question to repeatedly ask ourselves is what is necessary for us to create? And what is necessary to get our message across to our audience, through our creative discipline? These are personal inquiries that conceptual artist Sam Adefe applies to his creative process. Adefe is a designer and critical thinker, he continuously has the intension of scaling back the layers as an advocate of art with minimalism at the fore front. He is an artist of Nigerian origins, diligently creating art that speaks to our identity as human beings using vessels such as colour, lines and carefully curated composition. Creativity has always been part of his being, although existing within the art industry was something he did not foresee at a young age. As years passed, he became more and more confident in his abilities as an artist. The enjoyment of the craft shortly followed, and it became a burning passion. Through years of self-development and an understanding of what it means to be a creator, he has become a vanguard for the true meaning of being a visual artist. Adefe is an individual that understand the power that ingenuity has, crediting our mere existence to the creativity of a higher power. His mission statement is to empowered other young/emerging artist to pursue their artistic dreams without the thoughts and fears of not reaping the benefits of their hard work. Adefe’s work spesifically tells emotive stories through line weights, texture and the use of light, therefore it is no surprise that he is a graduate in the study of Architecture from London Southbank University. From an outside perspective, it seems evident that his study of form and communication through drawing are ideas that are still carried out in his work till this day. Adefe submerges into the minds of the viewers of his work through these creative guidelines, his work lives to create conversation and provoke the question, why?
His distinct philosophy of ‘Less is More’ is his design ethos, the way he scales back the layers and specific details in his work is used to make an audience ask why his work is the way that it is. In the current era of extreme hyperrealism and a spectacular level of life like art, Adefe uses the bare necessities to create beautiful art that speaks to peoples understanding of why less of a specific thing means more to them on a humane level. He makes artwork that resembles a concise sentence, art that can be paralleled to architectural designs such as the Barcelona Pavilion by Iconic architect Meis Van Der Rohe or the interior designs of Michael Gabellini, very aesthetically pleasing, easily digestible but yet thought stimulating. Adefe consistently tries not to try too much, leaving space for clarity and cognizance in his work. It is a life style he lives by, from even the way he dresses to how he presents his brand ‘Art Really Matters’, a revolutionary vision for the art market. Just like his ideology of simplicity, his creativity is fluid and not constrained to a particular form of inspiration, he is more focused on the process of making something out of nothing. Adefe strives for the ability to be as open minded as possible, therefore discovering things that take him further in his creative journey.
SUBMERGED, SAM ADEFE, 2018
Part of the beauty in some of his work is the interesting inability to tell if a piece is hand drawn or otherwise. Adefe is known to create in various mediums such as charcoal and chalk to digital art (which is the medium he has chosen to create his most recent work). His versatility has helped him develop his design identity; professionally and creatively. This is evident in his experience of working with technology companies, music record labels and now being the Head of Design at the widely popular art gallery Creative Debuts, whom thrive on promoting up and coming talents. Throughout the timeline of his work it is very evident that he has continuously reduced his interest in tonal detail and transferred that towards his understanding of line weights and their importance in the composition of his art pieces. On September the 6th 2018, Adefe held his first ever solo exhibition in collaboration with Creative Debuts and Adidas Originals. In this showcase he exhibited his recent pieces that have such sophistication without being complex. His muses are public figures, but what takes centre stage is every line and block of colour carefully used in each piece, every stroke of the digital pen is necessary for the message each piece affirms to its viewer. The textured backdrops give his work such a tangible aesthetic while the white bold lines always seem to take precedence in these works of art. The way in which they are meticulously positioned in some ways add depth to his work, even with a lack of tonal identity. Adefe and his work are unmeasurably important to the world of art. Not only does his work inspire and inform on the topics of the human figure, feelings and of course minimalism, but Adefe himself is a servant of the art community. Outside of his ties to the industry, he has a higher purpose. A purpose of making the profession of artistry be respected by its consumers and tearing down industry standards with the deafening mantra of â€˜Less is Moreâ€™. Less institutionalism can result in more income for the dedicated creatives that would otherwise be taken advantage of. This brings us back to the question, what is necessary for us to create? Is it sustainability? passion? Inspiration? Adefe lets us all know that there isnâ€™t a right or wrong way on our creative journeys. He is an example of staying true and being a forward thinker because the present is only temporary.
The Black male figure has and will always be a grand topic of discussion, the stereotypes of black men have progressively been discussed and tackled through art, from the work of impactful artists such as Jacob Lawrence to Horace Pippin and now, Nigerian-Canadian artist, Olu Seye.
LEFT: OUT OF SIT, OUT OF MIND RIGHT: VISIONS
Seye has a very particular and unmistakeable perspective when transferring his creativity to a canvas. Seye, as a London born Nigerian man of Yoruba descent, he is greatly influenced and inspired by his heritage and culture. The artistic and spiritual influences of his tribe are concepts that live strongly within his work, built around the nucleus of the form of a black male figure. The mythology and rituals of Yoruba tradition are references that play a part in the composition and presentation of his artistry, these themes allow his audience to not only understand a piece of him as the artist, but also gives a layered and traceable narrative to the work he produces. Seye Is never afraid to be as revealing and honest with his audience as possible, he is an artist that explores sensitive ideas such as the conflict between Christianity and indigenous religions within his work. Other statements in his work rage from socio-politics and pop culture to the preserved lack of vulnerability within the black male and sexuality.
Seye is an artist that paints, draws and performs art with a passion for adding to the conversation of self-actualization for black men in societies around the world, and especially in the city of Toronto where he lives. Portraiture is the artistic vessel that Seye has used to express his thoughts, feelings and identity. His understanding of his culture gives him the inspiration to tell such unique stories through art; stories that may not be overt but are arguably the most impactful aspects of his work, giving a clear understanding of how his experiences are converted into art.
Seye explores the ways in which contemporary, historical/indigenous knowledges, myths, and identities come together to shape how black men are seen, how they see themselves, and how they perceive the world around them, aesthetically he would do so in a style heavily influenced by geometry. Art has always been something that Seye has enjoyed for as long as he can remember, however it wasn’t until later in his life that he saw the potential of making art his profession. As a master’s graduate in marketing, Seye’s personal brand on social media platforms has continued to grow, allowing the messages in his work to filter into the minds of art lovers from around the world, exposing them to what he describes as ‘Raw Cubism’ due to heavy influence of geometry and organic line drawing in his work. One of Seye’s most notable collections is his ‘Ori’ art collection. This collection was one that helped to develop his identity, not only technically but as a visionary. These pieces were inspired by the African metropolis that is the city of Lagos, in combination with the search for what it means to be from the Yoruba tribe of Nigeria. He took this time to delve into the history of his ancestors and what social/political changes were made to create a separation from that history over time. In this collection, the head of the black male takes centre stage. Seye took the Yoruba philosophy of the human head being the most important part of our physical identity and used the 3 forms of sculptural representation Yoruba’s would use to create art. He combines all these elements through human form, sculpture and mass. One of these 3 forms of Yoruba sculpture represent the realistic form of a human head, another that represents human consciousness and the latter is a representation of our spirituality. The geometric shapes cause the facial features of the figures he draws/paints in acrylic, charcoal and pastel to be so definitive and extenuated. The eyes of these figures are also a very important part of Seye’s work, he consciously aims to depict the idea of vulnerability when you look into the eyes of his subjects. This is something that is carried out through to his most recent presentations.
The collection that Seye is arguably most recognised for is his ‘Portraits on Wood’ project. Some of his most recognised pieces, such as ‘Mr Eddy’s Son’ and ‘Say With Your Body What You Don’t Want Your Eyes To Reveal’ are featured in this collection. These collections of paintings show his progression from a very monochromatic style to using colour for a specific purpose. The soft and sweet textures of the pastel medium used are a representation of sensitivity within the black male, which is something that is not usually associated with black men in modern society. These pieces show the complexity of the black male figure through dark shades and colourful highlights.
His latest Project is what he titles ‘NOW you see me’. This project continues to take steps in new directions for Seye, while keeping the consistent narrative of exploring the black male figure. ‘NOW you see me’ is a project that brings Seye to a place of understanding his immediate surroundings. Living in an industrial part of Toronto Canada, He fuses elements of his city into his work. Debris such as railway hard ware, bin bags and car rims help to depicts the lives of black men in cities such as the one he lives in. These new pieces are a representation of the juxtaposition of the realities of disproportionate policing and stereotyping to the reconstruction of the black male narrative into a more palatable light in the world of cyber space. This collection seems to have connotations to graphic design, through typography and layering. He continues to implement colour in his work, but rather than using it to highlight features on the make figure, the warm colours construct a feeling. Some may perceive this feeling as a form of empowerment. This idea of strength can be deconstructed from the use of symbolism used in religious art work, symbols such as the halo. The piece ‘St Attica’ Emanates this idea as a consequence of the beaming orange and yellow burst of colour behind the head of the figure. These pieces are beautifully composed but also seem to have a dark undertone of black male stereotypes that have been projected for decades. These pieces have less of a resemblance to his ‘Raw Cubism’ style and come from a more abstract perspective that causes the viewer to deliberate about the purpose of each layered element. Seye is an artist that speaks to breakthrough within the perception and self-realisation of black men. His work has consistently showcased beauty within the male figure while giving information about himself and his idea of what is important. He advocates pride accepting who you are and where you come from, no matter the price that must be paid in this life or after. His work is daring yet endearing in its quest for belonging.
PHOTOGRAPHER AIK BO
Photography is a beautiful art that captures stunning figures and the world as we see it, or as we want it to be seen. Robin Jade is a photographer that has used the art of photography to create visual moments and ideas that carry her identity with it. Her work is a platform for experimentation and conversation, finding out the passions within her subjects and capturing their aura through a lens. Her art is her passion and her vessel of progress, her talent undoubtedly is one that merits the applause of the pioneers within her creative field. Her relationship with photography began at the age of 8, with a film camera that she would begin to develop a love for. However, living in Holland she felt as though her surroundings were not suitable to nourish her passion along with her search for a city with a diverse cultural presence. Her journey through the city of London began, alone and with little to no help she began to make her way through life in London; developing her craft, building relationships and promoting her message of inclusivity and black empowerment through her work.
Robin is a creative that aims to push the experimental limits of her subjects, she depicts the figures she shoots in a very specific manor, which is difficult to be replicated. Her work is not just about the photos she takes but about the moments in which they are taken. Robin has the special ability to make images maintain a refined finish due to her complimentary retouching skills. Robin does her best not to over saturate her photography with laboured planning and overthinking, she captures beautiful moments of energy and spontaneity in the moment, created through her ability to tap into the aura of her models and her precise and expressive model coaching. Her spectacular eye of a stunning composition is evident in her series of photos with model Paige Tyson Sims. These photos are as artistically expressive and liberating as they are vulnerable and revealing. Being a model herself, Robin works with a specific vision for what she wants from each photo taken, to see her in action is an informative and impressive thing. 38
As a visual artist, she implements graphic design elements into her photography for special personal projects, from her use of colour to overlays and distortions she has freedom with her work and adds another dimension to her talents. Her versatility is also something that can not be overlooked, from fashion editorials to portraiture she continues to present quality to her audience and admirers of her work. As a photographer featured in Vogue on various occasions for her “State of Grace” series and her “Wonderfully Whimsical” series with creative director and model Paige Tyson Sims, along with multiple magazines digitally and in print, her respect and notoriety for spectacular imagery has continued to grow and develop. New Wave Magazine is privileged to call her a member of our talented team.
PILLAR OF THE COMMUNITY 45
Everyone has a story. Everyone dreams , everyone is full of hope and ambition, people go through a flurry of emotions each day. Itâ€™s what makes us humans, itâ€™s what makes us unique . Outside of our minds and to a lesser extent, our homes, we become blended in with the masses. Just another character in the long series that is life , no one more important than anyone else... just another face on the street. When in Morocco I wanted to try and bring a focus back on individuals and their private lives, but in a public setting. This mini series captures a single moment in these peoples lives; what is their backstory ? Where are they going ? Who depends on them? What makes them.... them ? I want these shots to make people stop, ponder and perhaps even come to their own conclusions as to what these individuals are about .
BE WARY OF STRANGERS
SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE
PREFERRED MODE OF TRANSPORT
NEXT TO GODLINESS
PHOTOGRAPHY & CREATIVE DIRECTION MAJEEK DANIEL
PHOTOGRAPHY & CREATIVE DIRECTION LAURETTA AFFUL | @LARAYEE_ MODEL SABINA SILVER
WORDS DERRICK ODAFI ILLUSRATOR & DESIGNER ELFREDA FAKOYA
THE FLUIDITY IN HER ILLUSTRATIONS TRANSLATES TO THE CLOTHING SHE MAKES. HER CREATIONS ARE FOR PEOPLE WHO DON’T CARE IF IT IS MEN’S OR WOMEN’S WEAR.
Challenges are the frame work for growth and development, a challenging idea or situation in most cases unlocks an element of our consciousness that may have been previously dormant. When perusing our passions challenges are inevitable, but quality and beauty are often the results of diligence and reflection. Quality is a word that is synonymous with the beautiful and eloquent creations of 23-year-old Elfreda Fakoya. Growing up in a rather big Nigerian family, creativity is something that she naturally gravitated to. Aside from her interests in film, illustration, music and travel, fashion is something she actively perused in recent times. From her time at the Fashion Retail Academy for two years and graduating from her BA Course at Ravensbourne, Elfreda continues to excel in the field and is gaining recognition for her unique perspective of clothing on male silhouettes. Elfreda’s earliest memories of Fashion come from fabric. She recollects to finding some Red Chiffon in grandmother’s room of approximately a metre and a half in length. She began obsessing over ideas of turning the fabric into a dress, probing her grandmother to grant her permission to tailor the garment. Her grandmother unfortunately refused. Elfreda’s exploration of men’s wear comes from being challenged. Womenswear was initially the direction she aimed to delve into, this came from a history of expressing herself through that element of fashion for approximately 3 and a half years, prior to my first year at Ravensbourne. After her first project, she was assessed by a tutor and commended on a good outcome, but she had not challenged herself. Elfreda therefore decided to try something new in order to do so and she has been creating menswear ever since. Fashion school was an extremely enjoyable time for Elfreda. Experimentation is one of her passions and this period in her studies where a time in which she was able to do so the most.
However tough and intense times did not fail to follow. Meeting the set requirements alone was not enough and proving herself was a constant battle and then doing it repeatedly as the challenges increased. A month can be spent creating a piece and presenting it, only to have tutors to reach of a pair of scissors and cut it up. Usually a new direction will follow and begin the process again. In a highly competitive environment she continued to progress and develop her craft, her tenacity and group of colleagues were vital elements of her success. Her craft gave her the chance to invest her time into something she has been fascinated with from a young age, helping to develop her own style and how to present and package it with finesse. Her time at Ravensbourne allowed her to understand where she could position herself within the industry and how she can be recognised in such a saturated and difficult industry. Another outstanding quality of Elfreda’s is her elegant and fluid illustrations. This talent interestingly began from drawing exaggerated versions of her face when she didn’t have a live model to reference from. This later progressed into her studying the styles of different illustrators that she held in high regard. Eventually, she found her aesthetic somewhere between a combination of all her references. Film relating to fashion is also something that Elfreda experimented with. A fashion film titled ‘The Gradual Collapse and Ultimate Death of the Fashion Industry’ was created by Elfreda, explored the operation system of the fashion industry. The film was an interesting and creative capsule that reviewed the industry and concluded that the infrastructure needed to be, in a sense, reborn in order to cut out waste and become a lot less damaging to the planet. The fight for the betterment of the planet through fashion is a concept that Elfreda continuously focuses on, and the fluidity in her illustrations translates to the clothing she makes. Her creations are for people who don’t care if it is men’s or women’s wear. The clothes are for people, to give the people a great mood or achieve a sense of self that they desire.
However, establishing her ideas came with difficult challenges. As a stylist herself, Elfreda understand the importance that styling has on delivering a narrative of a clothing brand, for her a look is never complete without accessories. She puts herself in the position of her buyers and realises that real people donâ€™t wear clothes without styling it. Having a very specific idea of what those accessories and supporting garments had to be, she realised that they had to be bespoke, self-made pieces. Aside from trying things with no prior experience, while creating multiple pieces per look. Colleagues of hers would have to make a dress in the same time she was tasked with making a pair of trousers, a top, jacket and a bag along with the fit. Safe to say many sleepless nights followed. The colour scheme of the collection came miss matching conventional ideas of what menâ€™s wear is traditionally seen to be. Her process begins with Ideas and research, constantly receiving and seeking new information and trying to transfer skills. Elfreda ventures to bringing together two or more separate worlds to create something new. As for her execution, half of it is achieved from simply trying to create a clear version of something in her head, clear enough for someone else to understand.
The way that it challenges set ideas of what things should and shouldnâ€™t be, it preserves yet propels culture in that way. In society today fashion is fleeting, in today and out tomorrow, I hope to present a different perspective, one where things a more lasting. Fashion has been a form of expression for Elfreda, and her ideas and hard work have been validated by being one of the top 25 graduates in 2018 out of fashion school. Although she is still getting acclimated with the industry, there is a great demand for her talents. Industry figures such as Fashion Scout, Sagaboi, Kevin Carrigan at Ralph Lauren and Vogue Talents peaked interest in her talents. As her experience and influence within the industry grows, her morals and values seep into the way my work is presented. As far as the designs, Elfreda tries to keep a completely open mind to stay inspired. As she grows her personal brand, Elfreda also aims to gain experience from renowned houses such as Margiela, Dior, Balenciaga and Commes de garcon, for their history and formidable founders. Her passion and unique take on the craft are traits that will take her to great heights within the industry of fashion however, her greatest achievement will be to live a life that shows people how to be creative not just within their craft or profession but in every area of their lives.
MODEL PRINCE Black Mojo Kojo Logo Hoodie
MODEL KADY SALAHOU Gye Nyame Pants Black Mojo Kojo Logo T Shirt Black Logo Bum Bag (Right)
MODEL PRINCE Kojo Klassic White T Shirt Maze Bum Bag
MODEL KADY SALAHOU Black Master Card Mojo Kojo T Shirt Kente Racers
PHOTOGRAPHY CHARLES OGUNMILADE & DERRICK ODAFI CREATIVE DIRECTION DERRICK ODAFI STYLIST KOYE ADESANYA MODELS KADY SALAHOU & PRINCE PIERRE
PHOTOGRAPHER JAY MODEL TANATSWA STYLIST RUMBIE SHANTEL
A/W 18 for women will be all about bouncy sneakers, tweed, polka dots, gloss, exquisite fantasy and a great symbolization of textures. From statement pieces such as heels, bags, hoods and coats; these are pieces that can be worn from day to night to renew your Autumn Winter wardrobe. 95
MM6 MAISON MARGIELA DESIGNER JOHN GALLIANO SET DESIGNER DEREK HARDIE MARTIN 97
1 | Hoods Whether itâ€™s a balaclava or a hood, this trend is promised to keep your head covered this winter. Versace and Margiela continue with the luxe street wear trend, first pioneered by Balenciaga, with their lo-fi versions that came in either jersey or anorak-style. Valentino offered a ladylike alternative a fairy tale likehooded cloak.
2 | Polka Dots Polka dots are making a come back, and there is no better way to welcome this season with Mary Jane pumps in fall-ready maroon.
LOUIS VUITTON SERIES 8
3 | Bouncy Sneakers Trainers especially thick soled ones are here to stay, inspired by ugly trainer trend. Balenciagaâ€™s Triple S and Louis Vuittonâ€™s Archlight have already set the mood for space-age silhouettes and patch-worked renderings. However, Stella McCartney offers simpler white styles and this is would suit the minimalist. 100
PHOTOGRAPHY Karl Lagerfeld STYLING Charlotte Stockdale, Katie Lyall and Amanda Harlech. HAIR Sam McKnight MODEL Adwoa Aboah
4 | Brown Is the New Black Tan accessories have been a big success in 2018 but as we welcome the A/W 18 dark rich browns are key colours this season. Brown leather and suede shoes and boots have been favoured by the likes of ChloĂŠ and Fendi for A/W 18. This is a highly recommended trend to invest in for day and night looks. 101
5 | Animal print Over the years animal print has had bad preconceptions but it is time to put that behind us as leopard and zebra prints are trending this season. As seen as seen on the catwalks of Victoria Beckham, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, Balenciaga and Tom Ford this is a must have trend. Animal print is best worn with a block colour piece or teamed with a pair of simple strapped heels or flats.. 102
PHOTOGRAPHY Zoe Ghertner STYLING Charlotte Stockdale, Katie Lyall and Amanda Harlech. HAIR Sam McKnight MODEL Birgit Kos
6 | Gloss High shine fabrics were key on the catwalks for A/W 18, whether vinyl, latex, plastic or leather. At Chanel metallics were created in a glossy material, while Simone Rochaâ€™s feminine dresses were given a subversive, fetishistic edge when created in patent red. Fendi updated the trench by giving them a rain-proof glossy finish.If you desire a daring piece this season to style 103
1 | Bring back the Nineties Full tracksuits, shell suits, bucket hats and oversized ugly sneakers. Prada are a brand that best take on this trend with bucket hats and cagoules. If you are planning to invest in the Ninties trend the bucket hat is the key piece to start with. 105
2 | Hiking Louis Vuitton is on trend this A/W 18 with hiking boots and oversized nappa backpacks. Christopher Raeburn also has this the trend on pursuit. This is a highly recommended trend for A/W 18 that can be worn day and night for the cold months ahead. Bally or Moncler are good brands to start with. 106
3 | Clashing Checks This A/W 18 is all about checks, the more the better. Vercase are leading this trend with bright checked donkey jackets teamed with tartan trousers and plaid shirts. Marni has embraced this trend with itâ€™s super-oversized checks on oversized overcoats. 107
4 | Classic Shearling A high quality shearling overcoat is a great classic lifetime investment that will keep you warm and trendy. This season best shearling coats are from Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Belstaff and Philipp Plein.. 108
5 | Wild Wild West The Western trend has been trending before A/W since Spring Summer 2018 courtesy of Calvin Klein and Coach 1941. If you want to add daring statement pieces to your wardrobe this season this is the perfect trend to invest in.
A COLD WALL
6 | Leather Overload The most dominant of all fabrics this season is leather with oversized, ultra-long leather coats in worn-out hides shown everywhere from Fendi and MSGM to Paul Smith and Dunhill. For a bold look pair a leather jacket with leather trousers and shirt. 110
PHOTOGRAPHER NATALINE LAMPTEY MODEL HARUNA JABAK
Nothing for Us is more than a clothing brand, it is an ethical reasoning, a state of mind and an awareness of self. The apparel created by creative director Jai Eleven aims to cultivate a brand that is not completely centred around what you are wearing, but what it means to wear it. [NOTHING] is an identity created out of frustration and anger, these emotions were the tools that drove the creativity and ethos of the brand. [NOTHING] is made for those that are aware of the superficial façade of our consumerist society, a paradox that stimulates conversation of what it means to be invested in materialistic things and how easily these things can corrupt the mind. Jai Eleven created a brand that made a statement that forces liberation from the matrix we live in, almost a message to the youth through apparel that can form a foundation to a new mentality interwoven in a system that the youth are already accustom to. The brand name comes from an interesting idea of wearing ‘Nothing’ In a philosophical sense and from a brand perspective. This brand is a social experiment that taps into the understanding of quality and marketing along with a prominent narrative that the brands audience invests in physically and monetarily. Being fashion forward and knowledgeable is also an idea that [NOTHING] advocates, spreading the message that the fashion community is not exclusive to only the elitist houses i.e. Gucci, Dior and Louis Vuitton. [NOTHING] can make you as fashion conscious as wearing the latest high fashion tailored garments [NOTHING] projects to its audience and promotes the idea that the only path to being extremely fashionable is knowledge of self. Jai Eleven is a highly emotionally intelligent individual and a brilliant creative mind, therefore this combination resulted in him having his emotions influence how he dresses and how he creates clothing. Trend and intermediate fads are concepts that do not permeate through Jai Eleven’s thoughts when creating, through finding his own sense of style, in the begining stages, he began to make clothing that would give the youth a voice within London and the rest of the world there after. Outside of the product itself Jai Eleven wants his brand to embody physical experiences and seamlessly travel though creative disciplines to give his audience experiences that are more than just the clothes they buy. From collaborating with culturally important brands such as Vivendii and Amo Amas Amat, gaining the attention and support of popular figures such as Davido, Iamddb, Virgil Abloh and more, [NOTHING] continues to be a staple of youth culture and is due to progress in a unique direction. We sat down with the mastermind behind this brand and a major figure within the creative ‘scense’ for Issue VI.
“NOTHINGFOR US WASN’T A BRAND IN THE VERY BEGINNING, IT WAS JUST AN IDEA. I JUST WANTED TO START MY OWN THING. I REMEMBER THE RALF LAUREN CAPS WITH THE POLO HORSE LOGO AND I USED TO THINK “F*** THAT, I’LL MAKE MY OWN.” Tell us about who you were before you were Jai Eleven the brand and the designer.
NWM: So, overtime the process became more of a reality?
When I was young, I never used to think that I was creative. In secondary school I was rubbish at art. At GCSE level I did product design, from a young age I was into that whole s*** but I never really started calling myself creative until I had my brand.
Yes, literally. It’s the creative process and the people demanding more and more until I had to make a page, create a website, buy the brand name etc.
I used to Jerk…The weirdest phase of my life [laughs], but in a way that’s what started everything because everyone in that scene is popping right now. I embrace my past because it was the beginning of everything.
I made a bomber Jacket, inspired by the Sistine chapel by Da Vinci, a cap and that was it. I was selling those for a year straight. I made 50 of those jackets and they caught a lot of attention on the internet really quickly and people loved it. That was cool.
We understand that your brand derives from a place of anger infused with creativity, how have you been able to convert that anger to progress through [Nothing]? By realising how to channel my anger and turning that into something positive. For example, when I started, I was frustrated no one wanted to accept me within the creative industry. Therefore, I sought out to create my own ‘scene’, to come up with friends and only work with friends and people who I thought were cool. How has your awareness of the world informed the concept of your brand? When I started my brand, that was when the word ‘Hypebeast’ became a thing, I hate that word. I used to see hypebeasts and think “I don’t wanna be like you”. I didn’t want to be so lost in the sauce that I didn’t know myself, therefore my brand comes from me trying to find myself and who I really am. We know you invested all the money you had into your brand to start, but how mentally invested were you? Nothingfor Us wasn’t a brand in the very beginning, it was just an idea. I just wanted to start my own thing. I remember the Ralph Lauren caps with the Polo horse logo and I used to think “F*** that, I’ll make my own, I don’t wanna be like all these people”. It was all out of fun, Then I began gravitating towards fashion, I was never really fashion conscious but as I grew older I began to realise what fashion is. I began to appreciate the craftsmanship, the aesthetic – Everything to do with fashion, including the magazines. It was never really planned, it was more forced. 122
What were the first pieces you put into production?
You studied computer Science for a year at the University of Essex, what interested you in this degree? When I see something I’m always interested in how it works. From an early age I was always fascinated by computers. I’m a PlayStation head, I like to call myself a gamer, I took it upon myself to learn how computers work. I wanted to have that power to create my own computer system or do whatever I want with computers. I’m a futurist and I saw computers as the future. I wanted to put myself in a position of power through computer science. Are there things that you learnt during your time at University that you still apply till now? Umm, Not really We understand after the first year, you wanted to change courses, what did you want to study instead? I Just wanted a change from computer science because I thought the course would entail more, building and other things, but it was just maths and coding. It wasn’t allowing me to really be free. I change my course to Information and Interface Design, which is dealing with user experience and user interface design and creating the software from scratch. You learn how to build things from nothing, how to organise your work space, how to carry out a project from start to finish. This has helped me with my brand because I didn’t really have that discipline before.
Do you have a fashion background? Other people in the industry have a fashion background, with me I’ve been in this for 3 years strong with no background in fashion; I’m doing it as I please, off my gut feeling. I don’t really have a fashion background. Would you say these past three years of creating [Nothing] is your fashion background? I’m one of those people that doesn’t just do fashion. Without sounding corny - fashion is our lifestyle. Our threshold of taste has increased over the years, so we are able to appreciate things that people don’t. I don’t really say I’m a fashion student or a fashion person, I just have a brand, I’m creative and I’m able to translate my ideas onto a garment. When did you connect with influential figures in the industry such as Ian Conner? When Ian came to London for the Ejder pop up in 2014, this was when the scene was small…like 20-30 kids. We linked up, he thought I was cool, I thought he was cool then yeah…that’s how that relationship started.
Yes, and give you genuine criticism from a place of love Exactly, my clothes are basically for the mandem, but other people want it, so I’ve made it available to them. The first [Nothing] caps were for the mandem, not because I wanted to be a designer. I just think friends are the most powerful tool, real genuine friends that want you to win. Once you have those people around you, I don’t see how you could fail. - 2014
What piece of information did they give you that helped you develop your aspirations within fashion? With Ian, I was just always motivated by his tweets, the things he would do and say, the way he would act. He would talk about brands I don’t know, I’d go home and research the brand then apply that research to my own brand. He was one of the first people to take advantage of the internet, in terms of marketing etc. The internet pays his lifestyle, being able to convince so many people to believe in you is just cool. Do you feel like he had a similar spirit to you in terms of rebellion? I think he was one of the first people to really embrace himself and trust his own style and gut feeling. He made it cool to be yourself. If you think back to the ‘Pre Ian Conor’ wave, everybody was wearing the Polo T shirts, the Puma suedes. I personally never used to wear Puma suedes, but everyone was on that swag. NWM: The Adidas All-Stars as well Yeah. Not consciously but I’ve always been the person to think “if everyone is doing it then that can’t be lit”, that’s always been my mindset What were the things that gave you the confidence and tools to execute your brand? My friends. I think loads of people come into the scene and try to leave their friends behind, but I don’t really see that as a way towards progression. The friends you grow up with are the people that know you, know your strength, those are the people that will be able to push you to new heights. 124
What do you want the clothing you make to say about society? I want the clothing I make to be able to evoke a response, I want people to be able to ask questions. When I made my first cap, it said ‘[NOTHING] on the front and on the back, it read ‘Your life is a lie’. I purposely put that on the back because I imagined someone wearing it on the tube and someone else reading that phrase, I want people to question that statement. I want what I make to evoke a response from whoever is in the prereferral of my product. Just like the long sleeve T-shirts with the phrase ‘There’s Nothing for Us’ on the sleeves Yes, I got that from Raf [Simmons] I thought the way Raf uses text to display an emotion or thought is such a cool concept and I’ve always wanted to involve that in my brand. Would you say youth empowerment is your mission statement? Yes, because I have felt and experienced what it’s like to be powerless and have no one to believe in you. People are forgetting that I was an outcast in this whole scene. There are a couple brands that I used to want to work for, but they would take the p***, ignore me and what not. But then again if it wasn’t for those people rejecting me I wouldn’t be where I am today, so shout out to those guys. Loads of these brands are always promoting themselves as ‘For the youth’, but no one is really investing into the youth, putting other people on, doing pop ups, donating to charities etc. People just finesse these kids out of their money and go. With me I try to always re-invest back into the youth.
MODEL ADAM (RIGHT)
MODEL EVA APIO (LEFT)
“I WOULD LIKE TO THINK THAT MY NAME AND MY BRAND HAVE ALWAYS BEEN A TOPIC OF CONVERSATION IN DISCUSSIONS RELATING TO UK BRANDS AND YOUTH. I WANT TO REMAIN RELEVANT TO THE CULTURE AND ADD SOMETHING TO IT.”
This can even be done though creating an experience. Yeahh, or even just by talking to them and letting people know that you can do this. That’s important. What state would you say the fashion industry in the UK is at within youth culture? Some of us feel like we are really in the Industry, but I think we forget how big the industry is. When I look at where Samuel Ross has gone and where I am right now, I feel like theirs so much further to go. He [Samuel Ross] has infiltrated the fashion industry on every spectrum. He has funding from the British fashion council, those are the type of areas I’m trying to manoeuvre my brand into. I just don’t wanna be caught amongst the youth forever, that’s cool but it doesn’t allow me to cause change the way I want to. I want to be able to say “Yo, Pop up in LA, lets bring a couple dope rappers from the UK over there”, do an art installation/exhibition and gives people new experiences that they can take with the for the rest of their lives. What has changed for better or worse, from when you started till now? I feel like the scene has been monetised, so people like me don’t get to be where they should be. I feel like all these PR companies, all these events and bigger brands really use their resources to control the playing field, but that won’t really last for long. Eventually people are gonna realise, “Wait, these people are just buying themselves into the culture”. That why some of these brands ‘pop’ for two years or an even shorter period, then they disappear. With me I would like to think that my name and my brand have always been a topic of conversation in discussions relating to UK brands and youth. I want to remain relevant to the culture and add something to it, not just take from it like some other brands are doing.
We have heard an interesting story about you at Selfridges, please let our readers know the story. Me and Ryan Hawaii, another Designer/Artist, first did a pop-up stall in February 2015 with Karl. He is another Designer, he’s an OG, he let us do that pop up for free. We didn’t have no money, nothing. The shop was probably smaller than this room. We had like 500-600 kids out there. This was the first time we ever did an event or collaborated with anyone. Skepta was outside, he was there for 5 minutes then he left because it was too packed. That was crazy because it was the first time we felt like we could really do something together. From there we had a group chat and we decided to just do a pop up in Selfridges. We were smart with it. We knew that we wanted to get attention from Virgil [Abloh], so we purposefully did it in the Off-White section of Selfridges. We did a giveaway because we had a few items left from the official pop up. We just gave them out for free then the security kicked us out. Why that story is important is because that is thinking outside of the box That’s what I want my brand to do. Empower people to take things into their own hands. That’s what we tried to do, and it worked. Virgil knows who we are now, and he likes the stuff we produce so it’s lit. You have an interesting concept of seasonal clothing, please explain it to our readers. I feel like, when you have a musician, none of them are forced to drop an album in the autumn every year. I believe I’m an artist so why should I be forced to waste resources or rush myself to produce a collection every season when I don’t feel that it’s right inside. Who even invented that rule that says clothes have to be dropped every autumn/winter or spring/ summer?...
So, what would you say to up and coming brands battling with this?
How important is the personal contact the people have with you and your clothes?
Don’t force it. A lot of up and coming brands are spending grand on pattern cutting, that’s cool if that’s the direction you want to go in but as a young brand, I feel like young designers should focus more on the narrative and developing their brand to have a story, rather than just spending grands on pattern cutting. What are people really buying into? A jumper that has a long sleeve? People don’t really care about that, people care about the narrative and that helps brands build to be in a position of power.
It’s one thing getting people to buy into your clothing, but getting people to leave their house and actually come and buy your clothes? That’s crazy. I just feel like it empowers me when people come to the popup stores etc. It just makes me wanna go harder, produce more concepts and what not.
Look at Places + Faces, their brand is about hosting cool parties, being involved in the youth and travelling. They’re in Vogue now, their everywhere. They own the scene, they’re even t Hypebeast fest in LA, DJ’ing at Complexcon. Crazy. Even brands like A Cold Wall Also, the architectural/ Industrial aesthetic is their narrative. That’s what people really buy into. A lot of youth out here that are just doing fashion because they think it’s cool, but there’s people like me, Vivendii and others that really have a thought process for everything. every post. every like, every comment, there’s a thought process behind it. It’s not easy to distinguish the genuine artists from the fake artists these days because of social media. Everybody just looks like they’re talented or an artist, which is kind of…just bullshit. With your need to have a thought process with everything, we noticed you don’t even follow yourself on your brand’s page, why Is that? What do you want that to say to people? I’ve never done it for ‘Clout’ or recognition. One of my inspirations is Margiela. Nobody knows what he looks like. Theirs only two pictures on the internet of Mason Martin Margiela. That’s it. That’s what I wanted nothing to be at the beginning, but due to complications I wasn’t able to produce a brand where the designer is a separate entity from the brand. It’s a double edge sword with having a narrative and story, because people connect to your story as well
I feel like it’s important for brands today to have a physical presence in the real world, because everything is over saturated on social media. On those platforms you can hide, but in real life theirs no hiding. Yes, theirs no hiding, and it could be argued; that is where you have the most genuine support. But then again, there’s a bad side to that because you have all these PR companies or companies in general just investing into all these events. Buying their way into the culture. All these kids that go to these parties and event’s they’re not thinking about the far-reaching effects. I don’t wanna name any brands, but there are a few that have literally bought their way into the culture, made money from it and not reinvested it and cut - I don’t F*** with that. You are very knowledgeable about what goes on, how does this come about? Not to sound egotistical, but I would like to say that I have a bird’s eye view of the scene, or especially what goes on in London. I want to be able to know what’s happening in London because obviously that’s where I’m from. Knowing everything that’s happening allows you to make the right moves. You can know who’s upcoming, who’s working on what project. It’s not to control the scene, it’s just to know because when I was coming up, I couldn’t even do that. I couldn’t even watch what was going on, I just think it’s cool, I’m a fan of everyone.
I think that’s cool as well, I can’t take away from the fact that if people relate to me they relate to my brand, because of the struggles etc.
“I FEEL LIKE YOUNG DESIGNERS SHOULD FOCUS MORE ON THE NARRATIVE AND DEVELOPING THEIR BRAND TO HAVE A STORY, RATHER THAN JUST SPENDING GRANDS ON PATTERN CUTTING” 129
As an analyst of the scene, what steps do you want [Nothing] to take to continue to be at the forefront of the culture? More stockists. More events. More collaborations, I wanna do collaborations with bigger brands. I wanna do a collaboration with Nike. I see myself doing something with Nike and doing something for the city, I wanna do community programs with Nike and s***, that would be cool. Workshops, funding, like funding someone’s degree at a fashion school. With me, when you think of a fashion designer I don’t look like one, my social economic background does not say ‘Fashion Designer’. I know there’s so many people that look like me, that wanna do what I’m doing but they can’t because they don’t have that extra push. I wanna be that extra push.
“I GOT TO LEARN A LOT FROM SAM, JUST HOW TO OPERATE, TIMING, HOW TO STYLE... I TRY TO USE THAT SAME MODEL THAT HE USED EVERY TIME I RELEASE SOMETHING.”
Amazing, and even if some people are talented they may not have the confidence that you have. I’m shy as hell, I’m a shy guy. It takes me a long time to warm up. When I first started my brand I was fearless, as I’ve moved into the scene I’ve become more conscious of everyone. To really flourish and do your thing you have to be fearless. Look at Young Thug, I would say he’s fearless. All the people I look up to are fearless and I’m trying to embody what they bring to the table. Who are the three people you take advice from when it comes to fashion or marketing your brand? I don’t really talk to people about marketing, everything is gut feeling at this stage because there’s not many people involved in my brand. That gut feeling comes from experience in the scene. ….Oh that’s a lie, Clint! I talk to Clint a lot about releases. We go back and forth. Even Joe, Kelvin, to be honest all the original APEX guys How emotionally connected to the clothing you make do you believe you have to be in this industry? I don’t really get connected to the clothing, I get connected to what the clothing does. When I see people wearing me s*** I’m like, “That’s great” but when I see people wearing my clothes and they’re doing other great things I’m like “Okay! Yeahhh”, I hope this person gauged my energy with the energy from the brand and tried to transfer that into whatever they’re doing.
In a sense, if they are wearing [Nothing] that says something about them Yes. You were a model for Samuel Ross’ A Cold Wall Collection in 2015, what was that experience like? That was my first official experience within the fashion industry/ modelling. I got to learn a lot from Sam, just how to operate, timing, how to style (from Ace Harper as well), telling the model how to position themselves, even how they edit their look books. That’s all from Sam. It was a really good experience, I did a couple collections with him and every time I could see the increase in quality, or the increase in thought behind the product. I try to use that same model that he used every time I release something. We did a shoot today for the cover, beautiful pictures by Robin Jade. Is modelling something you would like to do in the future? Slyly, but that’s only if I cut off my beard [laughs] If I cut off my beard in jumping back on this modelling ting and I’m F****** it up! No Cap! If you realise, I only stopped modelling because I grew my beard…cuz man’s got these cheek bones [laughs] What would you define Samuel Ross as within the British fashion industry? I don’t wanna say Innovator because that’s too plane…but yeah, Innovator
How do you feel about the reception of your brand in its early stages compared to how it is received now? I feel like my brand was better received in the earlier stages. I was one of the first, I was like 17,18 and the brand was cool, but now London is oversaturated, anybody and everybody is making brands. With me, I feel like being a brand owner means having an emotional connection to the brand and I feel like people are realising they can make money off fashion, so they jump on it. That’s why I feel like my brand isn’t as well received as it was before. But then again, I don’t really stress about that because I know a lot of these brands are going to die out. It’s about the longevity Yeah, that’s how it goes, everyone has their come up, once you get that you just stay down and do your thing.
When you reflect on the journey you’ve taken till this point, what are you most proud of? Bringing my friends with me. That’s it, I’m happy I’ve been able to empower some of my friends to accomplish their dreams. That’s really it. Friends. As a leader in the industry it’s with no doubt you’ll create opportunities for others, what are some of those that you’re most proud of? Wow, there’s a lot of things I can’t say, Haha. I’ve helped a lot of musicians with their careers. From image consulting to suggesting people they should work with. This is in the early days, 2015/16. Yeah… I don’t do it to take credit, I just want that person to be the best version of themselves. You were part of a collective called APEX, is this still an active collective of creatives?
I think it’s cool. Like Kelvin for instance, he was Freelance modelling. Bro, this guys face was in Piccadilly circus for 4 months straight, and just 2 years ago, he was modelling for my brand in a parking lot in Camden. I just think that’s crazy. Seeing everyone’s progress just makes me proud, and there’s still way more to do. We’re two years into this journey, and we came in when we were mad young as well. It’s Lit
We all still talk but we’ve all gone into our individual things, we still have a Group chat.
What times were the most challenging for you? Creatively or otherwise.
So, its more of a covert thing than an overt thing at this point?
I can’t lie, im still going through hard times now but I just know where I wanna be so that motivates me. Every creative goes through hard times. With social media you only see the wins, you don’t see Ls.
Yeah, I think we just grew up, no one is really trying to be 25-28 saying ‘Apex, Apex’, that wasn’t always the plan, but then again, we were too young to notice the impact we had. We noticed we had impact, but we didn’t use it. Of couse we had a few articles in magazines, free clothes, concerts and a few celebrates f***** with us but that’s nothing in my eyes. However, I like the way things turned out because everyone is doing something positive. Sam Cole is a writer for Complex, Clint has his brand, Kelvin is a model and rapper, Geo is a youtuber and he has his brand, Joe is a model and rapper, Ari is a stylist. Everyone that was involved is doing something positive and contributing back to the UK scene.
Like you said, all of the members of that collective are doing great things now such as Clint who owns Cortiez, what would you say about the creative progression of the Apex members?
What are your main aspirations within the industry? I know in a few years they are going to want to revamp the London underground. I want to be involved in designing it. Maybe doing the interior design for the trains. That would be cool. That would live on forever. I’m more interested in legacy than current affairs We noticed you take a unique approach with releasing your clothing, what are the reasons for this? I would just say its up to gut feeling, I just study people’s reactions and when I release something people are going to best react to it in a particular way, so I’ll do I that way.
“WHEN I WAS YOUNGER I REALLY WANTED TO HAVE MY OWN SKATE BRAND, I GUESS IT TURNED OUT TO BE [NOTHING].”
PHOTOGRAPHY AKASH KHADKA CREATIVE DIRECTOR/STYLIST TAMARA CAPRICE MODEL SHOKIRIE CLARKE
Who are the people that you consistently work with for [Nothing]? In the early stages I was working with Donika, she has Sirus.Film now. I don’t know, I like to change it up. Before I only wanted to use one photographer, but I have so many cool friends that all do different things, and with every photographer there’s a mood, an aesthetic and feeling that the photos give. That’s why I try to work with different photographers. When I thought about my brand, I could have taken the ACW, Off-White approach and have a general aesthetic but…I don’t know, that’s something I’m still deciding on. I love having the creative control to do whatever I want with my brand. It wouldn’t be fun if I had to follow a strict guideline. Just like your computer science background, right? Yeahh. We love the concept of your latest shoot with Akash Khadka, please explain the idea behind these shots. To be fair, I didn’t even know they were doing that. Tamara, the stylist had the photos and sent them to me, I was like wow this is so sick. That’s another reason for not having a strict aesthetic because different people have a different idea of the brand. It just adds to the narrative. People doing their own shoots wearing my clothes. Have you ever made any major changes as to how you market your brand or where its inspiration comes from? To be honest, no not really. Maybe with how I’ve designed it, how I’ve organised my creative time and my files etc. I feel like that’s what I really changed.
What symbolism does your bracket logo have and how did it come about? It was when these box logos were really in trend. In my head, I deconstructed the Supreme/Obey box logo and literally made my own brand. When I was younger I really wanted to have my own skate brand, I guess it turned out to be [Nothing]. I wanted to poke fun at people that buy clothes for the name, I wanted people to be like “I’m wearing a brand called Nothing today”, “I’m wearing Nothing” Excellent concept, also the brand seems to be about not doing too much Yeahh, it’s just about being yourself because people buy into brand names. I’m sure there are people that only wear Gucci because it’s Gucci. That’s not really true style, I’m a believer of true style and being the true version of yourself. Please tell us about your early pieces, such as the Touch of God polos and bomber jackets I just feel like these are timeless piece. If you notice with my brand, I really don’t design in trend. I like making pieces that are timeless. I Just feel like its an iconic piece that I can release in the next two years. It’s an archive piece now In my line of products, there’s a top, middle and base. The top rage needs to be cut and sew and they’re expensive to produce. The middle is for seasonal products I can release and just change the material or cut. For example, the hoodies with the brackets, I can produce a hoodies with the brackets in Vinyl, or in two seasons time I can produce a hoodie with leather brackets etc. These are things that people don’t really think about when they have a brand, there’s a strategic approach to it. Yes, just like the trouser you just put out Yes, that would fall into the middle category, I can make a vinyl or nylon version of those. I’ve seen that ethos from A Cold Wall, and when you think about Off-White, they’re not really bringing out any new designs or cuts, they’re just changing the material. Changing a cut, changing a zip to a velcro strap or something like that.
So basically, Living vicariously through them in a way Yeahh, literally. As a man of Nigerian decent what part does your heritable play in your work life? I never really get gassed, or I don’t get gassed for too long. I do something, I’d be happy for a day and then think “Alright, what’s the next move”. You know when you show your parents that you have sick grades, they get gassed for a second, then later ask you why you’re not reading etc Was there a cultural struggle to have the freedom to do what you do now? Of course, I’m even still going through that S*** now man. It’s just about being a strong person and a strong believer. People will have to respect it sooner or later. If you don’t budge. Say I told my parents I wanted to be a designer, then after a year I packed it in, they’ll be like “What are you on?”. The fact that I’ve stick to it and I’ve still been able to do what I’ve done, it’s just testament that you should believe in yourself.
You have a deep relationship with the creative scene in Nigeria, how did this initially start? It started with Vivendii. I went to school with [New World] Ray, I never knew the Vivendii guys, I just knew their clothes. These guys kept talking about Vivendii so overtime I became a major fan. Then yeah, we just linked up. We contacted each other through social media and yeah, that’s like family now. We know you have a great relationship with the owners of Vivendii, how important would you say they are to you? Very. We all have ideas of making Nigeria the best, and I feel like it can be done through all these creative projects. Nike are investing in Nigeria now, Fader. People like Grace Ladoja, Skepta’s manager, she’s doing things with Nike for Nigeria. Some of these brands are investing back into the local youth. That’s why I’m trying to be involved there as much as I can.
PHOTOGRAPHY KSENIA BURNASHEVA
Changing the mindset of Nigerians is going to start from changing the culture.
How did you guys get in contact with your stockist in Japan?
Through a change of the culture will come a change of the mentality, and only then will there be a change in Nigeria itself.
I think it was through Dms or email. Me and Ray went to Paris. When did we go to Paris?
All of us young people have a western influence, we are able to take the best parts of western culture and Nigerian culture and bring it all together. That is basically a description of what Nigeria is going to be in the next 20-30 years. Tell us about your collaboration with Vivendii and how you guys merged your brands during the design stage. We took the most important elements of our brands and tried to convey a message. It stated off with the Collab Tees, with their slogan “These are my church clothes” and the [Nothing] brackets on the back. I Think the way that we shot it gave the Collab a narrative, Even the popup stall with the installation. We bought a bike, we got Newspapers from Nigeria. Created a whole experience. Me, I’m a London boy and these guys grew up in Nigeria so its literally bridging those two experiences and translating that to one product. 142
NWR: Paris fashion week 2017 2017, I think we had a meeting there, they bought a few pieces from the collection, then yeah. You have to have a line sheet if you want to sell, they pick the items they want to sell, they pay you, It’s lit. That’s how most designers make their money. People like Sam, Geo Designs, they all have stockists, and their contracts are for like £30-40k. The stockist has to pay 40-50% of the retail price and they do that in bulk. As you know an ACW hoodie is like £300, 40% of that is £120.
What Brands do you personally feel invested in aside from your own? If I’m honest I only really wear my friends’ things. Ray has his merch, I wear that, love physical. My friend Ade has his brand MBA, I wear that. Mason has his brand 7th circle, I wear that. High fashion is just a foreign concept to me now, I don’t believe in that. You understand the importance of marketing and branding, why do you believe this is so important within the creative industry in general? I feel like you can bring what you learn in different disciplines into fashion, and from those experiences you can create a unique situation or experience for the user. Then from there it’s easy to market. We would love to know how your collaboration with KASE came about and how Nike came into the picture. I’ve been talking to Adnan and Pessa, there are like six people in case, it’s a collective. Apart from Sam (Samuel Ross) Adnan is my OG, anything he says, I do. He’s the type of guy that would be like “Yo Jai, read this book” or “Watch this interview” and I’ll do it immediately. How that came about is like…It was just bound to happen. He helped me make my tech packs for my brand, he’s a graphic designer first but he also has that same love of fashion that I do. Cambridge [University] hit me up to do the fashion show in the summer of 2017. I told Adnan or Pessa, but only in January did we decide to do the Collab, because our brands have a similar ethos behind them. It was quite long, doing that was the first time that I’ve personally worked with cut and sew clothing. Every piece of that collection was made by ourselves, our own dimensions, sizes, cuts. We printed the clothes ourselves from our own machines. That was the most empowering thing I did. How we got Nike involves is that obviously for styling we needed shoes for the models, so I literally just hit up Matt Hanigan. I think he’s the Brand director for Nike Sportswear for the whole of Europe. When I was filming the Nike advert he was on set. I said hi, introduced myself. It was just about being genuine with him. Nike is such a cool company because they’re open. You just saw what they did with Colin Kaepernick. Nike is really in tune with culture, it’s crazy.
Where is your preferred work space? At home or in an office/studio I can work anywhere, all I need is my laptop and Wi-Fi. I’m there. Please tell us about your design studio Jai Eleven Studios I just feel like every single object in the world can be designed better or it can tell a story. I’ve literally pin pointed my favourite things in the world, and I’ve told myself I wanna redo this, or I wanna improve this or I wanna change this because I feel this looks better like that. That’s literally it. Yes, we understand that everything around us has been designed Yeah, it’s crazy. That whole approach comes from my product design background, when I did it during my GCSEs. Product is just beautiful, anything, everything, I just wanna remake. What forms of design do you want to place your perspective on the most? Maybe furniture? Just everyday items such as spoons and cups, everyday items around the home. I love Ikea, every time I go to Ikea I’m gassed because I imagine having a product I made in Ikea… and that’s crazy because Virgil just did a Collab with them.
You do so much but is there one thing you want to always be known for? I wanna be free. I wanna be free like Virgil. He’s designing suitcases, rugs. I just wanna establish my name and my brand to a point where I can manoeuvre within any discipline I want to. Even computers and tech. I want Apple to holla me and say “Yoo, let’s get it!” The aesthetic of your website fits the concept of your brand, is the idea of simplicity something you want to carry out throughout your creative career? I feel like simplicity belongs in certain places. My brand is really a reflexion of how my life is at the moment. Once I start doing more Avant Garde, over the top designs, you’ll know that I’m in a better position in life. But right now, minimalism is just what I’m feeling to be honest. You recently designed the Davido UK tour poster with Aaron Austin, what was the idea behind the poster and how did that come to be a thing? We saw the original poster, we thought it was cool, but we just thought we could improve it. I was in a group chat with Davido’s Creative Director Tycoon and we just designed it. I’m really inspired by nostalgia, I have pictured of old rock tour posters on my phone, and I really f*** with Jimmi Hendrix. I literally found an old Jimmi Hendrix poster, I liked the colours, the aesthetics and the special arrangement, then from there we made the poster. People such as Davido, IAMDDB, Ian Connor and Luka Sabbat have been seen in [Nothing] why do you think these individuals connect with your brand? I’m not sure if they connect with me first or the brand but I feel like everybody has an aura and certain aura’s just go together. Certain energies just connect, and once your energies connect I don’t think they can disconnect… unless it was a fake connection at the start.
What is one thing you would like up and coming fashion designers to stay away from when they are going through the beginning stages? Stay away from fake friends that don’t really want the best for you, within this scene and culture, a lot of people are users. It’s happened to me many times, people are users, they tap into my energy and leave me where I am. My energy is like a battery, in 2015 I had full power. As I give people my energy, the less energy I have for myself. It’s all about maintaining that balance and not getting finessed for your ideas. Or your time. Because loads of people finesse out here. And they get away with it as well. So, the moral of that story is, stay away from bad energy. Stay far away. If you were to leave [Nothing] today and head a major fashion brand, what brand would that be? Off-White, ACW, Nike, Alyx, Rude or Geo designs… I’m open to any offers. What is the next big thing for Jai Eleven the creative? Putting my foot down in other disciplines. What Is the next big thing for [Nothing]. More stockist. More collections. More everything for your head top. And on that note, it’s a wrap, we appreciate you for the interview. It’s been a pleasure
Where do you see your clothing sold ? I’m trying to take over this Asian market, especially Japan. I’m trying to be stocked in Great Japan, United Arrows…I don’t really know too many stores out there because I haven’t been there yet, but I love Japanese culture, and I’m a huge anime fan. In this day and age as a designer do you feel like it’s important to get feedback from your audience before your clothes are released? Nahh, I don’t really care. Designers are always going to be petty, people are always going to have other ideas. People have been telling me to do this and do that, But that’s not really creative control. You have to allow trial and error to manoeuvre you into a place of strength, or a place where you can design freely. I will never learn how to operate in this scene/industry without doing it by myself. I listen to my friends though. What is more important to you, setting trends or breaking them? Breaking…People that break trends are the people who are remembered in history. The trends are remembered but the people that really set the trends aren’t really remembered. You only remember the trend, you don’t remember who was the first to do it. But when you break a trend you remember, “Yo! This person changed this”. I feel like breaking trends is way more important. Yes, People want to be credited for starting trends, but they may have not even done it the best. Someone said in twitter, it’s not about who did it first, it’s about who did it best and who’s being remembered for doing it. You can do it first but if no one remembers you for starting that trend, did you really do it? Who are the designers that get you excited about creating clothing? Ruggi from Rude, Samuel Ross, Virgil, Eastwood [Danso], Matthew Williams, Kim Jones, Humberto Leon.
We know that music is a part of who you are, tell us about how you came to be involved in music? My friends did music. I feel like fashion and music go hand in hand. Rappers and musicians will always want to be fresh and designers are always going to want musicians to be in their clothes. I don’t know how I really go into it, it just happened overnight to be honest. If you’re a fashion designer heavily influenced by music, do you feel like it’s important to make it clear that fashion is still number 1? Yes, because I’m a designer first. I only make songs for fun, I wouldn’t even call myself a musician. I know the trials and tribulations musicians actually go through, so out of respect I would never really call myself one. Have your connections within the music industry helped your brand to grow? I guess, but I don’t really like to call on favours. I hate feeling like I’m bothering someone. I don’t scream that I have a brand. If you know you know. When I introduce myself to people I don’t tell them I’m a designer, or that I do this and have done that. I just say what’s up. You manage a rap duo also, tell us about them and what you hope to do for their careers. 838 consists of Astro and K Feugo. I just believe in their energy and I feel like the UK scene is slow in terms of new trends and very one dimensional. I’m just trying to kick down that door, and hopefully by supporting these guys and being part of their careers, it will open the door for other artists. I feel like I’ve always wanted to be a rapper inside of me, but I’ve never had the ability to be a rapper. That’s why I try to involve myself with all my friends that do music.
I can’t lie, I just get inspired by my friends. My friends are my biggest source of motivation and inspiration.
“YOU HAVE TO ALLOW TRIAL AND ERROR TO MANOEUVRE YOU INTO A PLACE OF STRENGTH, OR A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN DESIGN FREELY.”
Natural disasters are events that tragically devastates the world we live in various locations; however, it makes way for new ideas and fresh perspectives in the realm of architecture. A chance to rebuild in a more sustainable and modernised manor. The Peruvian Archology Museum is a perfect example of a conclusion of beauty from an unfortunate natural disaster. Due to the severe structural damage caused by an earthquake in 2007, the building was subsequently demolished, therefore making way for the new build in 2012. The Paracas Museum, based near the Great Paracas Necropolis in Ica, Peru, is designed by Sandra Barclay and Jean Pierre Crousse. The structure is an exemplary fusion of modern minimalism and heritage conservation. The Museum seamlessly integrates into the overall landscape, allowing it to camouflage amongst the neighbouring hills. 156
The new build is re-constructed with its former linear and rectangular geometry, the building however carries a symbol of reembrace to the 2006 earthquake with a shift/crack in the form of the building, representing the earthquake that brought the demise of the previous structure. This ‘break’ in the form of the building also has a functional value, the shift in the volume separates the museum from the conservation spaces, including workshops, meeting rooms and services. This develops a separation between public and private space which isolates the functions of each spaces without disturbance. As a result, the museum is divided up into two wings – one containing the exhibition galleries and conservation areas, and another housing education spaces. A single corridor, as the circulation space within the building.
A significant feature of this building is the row of four distinctive box-like windows extruded from the wall on the south side of the museum. The primary function of these large openings are to allowed an adequate amount of natural light to enter the internal spaces, while at the same time protecting the artefacts from harsh and direct sunlight. The structure is 1170m2 in size, manufactured entirely with pozzolan cement, a material resistant to salt desert, while one luminous blue wall marks the entrance of the building. The cement material, which constitutes of a mixture of concrete and cement grinding, acquire a natural reddish colour that is complimentary of the landscape. The glazed finish left by builders in the polished cement gives the museum a ceramic complexion that resembles the pre-Columbian ceramics that are exposed inside.
Barclay & Crousseâ€™s ability to create such a distinguished structure with such limited resources and physical forms of inspiration showcases their ability to create powerful structures with a subtle element of finesse. In addition to structural and special fulfilments, environmental changes were also made to facilitate the interior qualities of the building. The interior of the museum is visibly different to the exterior view. The white walls finish the interior and disperse light through the building in the most efficient way. However, the exterior of the building has elements of the prior build as it possesses a â€˜seasonedâ€™ aesthetic, while the interior has a very contemporary composition. Inside, the circulations combine a labyrinthine route with large spaces. 157
Environmental requirements incorporate an ‘environmental regulator device’ to control natural light and ventilation. The device consists of a lamppost run, under which are the transition spaces between exhibition halls or circulation spaces, according to the needs and his position in the project. This device aids the control of natural light, artificial light, natural ventilation and cooling during different times of the day or during seasonal changes. The roof uses conchuela – a local material that serves as thermal insulation. In the upper part of the device, the atmospheric depression produced by the higher temperature sucks in hot air from the rooms by means of wind vents. The structure was completed in 2016 and has subsequently won multiple awards for its outstanding contribution to architectural excellence in Peru. The Paraces building was the recipient of the Bienal Panamericana de Quito BAQ prize in 2016 and winner of the Architectural Design / XII Bienal del Perú – first prize. The architects themselves have also earned accolades for their architectural contributions, Sandra Barclay being awarded the Architect of the Year for her work on Peru’s Site Museum of Paracas Culture.
Mention of a factory building breeds connotations of a dreary, ridged and aesthetically unappealing building, a structure ‘built’ rather than ‘designed’. These are connotations that fortunately do not ring true for the Factory building on the Vitra Campus in Weil am Rhein, Germany which would be a multi-use design for use as a presentation venue, production area and storage facility for the vitrahaus collection. This structure designed by SANAA (Sejima and Nishizawa and Associates) was planned by head architects of the firm, Kazuyo Sejima & Ryue Nishizawa. This typology of building would be a first for the Basel based firm, due to their specialisation in residential structures and small museum buildings throughout their early years of practise. Cultural institutions or universities would be the major completed buildings that would gear the practice up for their biggest project up until 2010.
A few years into the 21st century, SANAA was responsible for the completion of a number of prominent projects in Europe and North America, including the Zollverein School of Management and Design, the Theatre and Cultural Centre in Almere, the Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art. This string of impressive projects therefore leads to their involvement in the Vitra Campus in 2010. This new build was to replace the old factory that had been victim of a fire in 1981 and was no longer capable of current demands. The new facility was to provide 20,000 square metres of floor area – compared to 12,000 square metres in the old structure. The Vitra is a campus reserved for the most renowned in contemporary architecture. Building masterminds such as Tadeo Ando, Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron and Frank Gehry have had the opportunity to place their architectural perspectives on the site in various ways. SANAA was commissioned to design a building which would be a partial restructuring of the Campus grounds by separating operational logistics from public visitor traffic. 159
SANAA Is known for their unique and remarkable architectural works of art, buildings that have an aura of grandeur yet are usually humbly positioned on site due to their minimalistic use of colour and materials. The Factory Building on the Vitra Campus is no different, Rolf Fehlbaum, Chairman of Vitraâ€™s board of directors explained that the decision to grant SANAA the commission was due their ability to accentuate lightness with precision. Rigid form and uncharismatic originality are descriptions that the Japanese founded firm are not associated with in the slightest. They have an architectural philosophy of the removal of everything which is not important, which Fehlbaum recognized and understood. The incomplexity of the design ultimately gives visible form to the requirements of the building in its architecture and structure. SANAA were not interested in creating the perfect geometry, they felt as though a perfect circle, would be too rigid. They decided to design the building with a slightly less mathematical form with a more deformed and organic shape.
The Indicial architectural description presented to SANAA by the company management specified a division of the total space into four separate areas that could operate independently from one another. The reason for this special organisation would be to provide optimal conditions for operations that required use of the entire space. After analysing the brief, SANAA suggested a revision of the preliminary area composition, replacing the four orthogonal volumes that were correlated to the existing grid of the campus with a single circular building. This proposal, which at first seemed unusual, would break away from the rigor of the existing site plan. Such a simple change could be an issue depending on the functionality of the building, however the circular form was a brilliant design perspective, based on the realization that logistics and production methods no longer adhere to strictly hierarchical principles but require flexibility. This was especially true in the case of the future occupants of the new facility, the shop fitting company Vitrashop.
Consequently, the interior of the hall is divided into different zone; the northern section provides high rack storage for delivered materials and semi-finished goods, the central zone is reserved for assembly operations; and the southern section contains the storage area for finished products prior to shipping. The circular footprint of the building permits the delivery and loading of goods in completely different locations, so that the flow of traffic inside the hall is reduced, optimized and simplified. The assembly zone in the middle of the building can also be variably configured to meet new requirements based on current orders. The provision of sufficient day light inside of the building through skylights was also a design objective, to create a comfortable work place for the people. 162
The SANAA designed structure covers the greatest surface area of all buildings located on the Vitra Campus. With a diameter of more than 160 metres and standing 11.4 metres in height, the building has a proportional relationship between its surface area and overall volume and is ideal to maximize peripheral surface area, favorable for truck docking. The hall contains a basement storey also with a spacious underground parking garage and several auxiliary rooms for miscellaneous use. To avoid repetition and confusion within the building a long central wall that runs along the longitudinal diameter, therefore helping to provide a clear sense of orientation. The building was erected in two stages, to minimize interference with daily operations. The first semicircular structure was erected next to the old factory, which was subsequently demolished to make room for the corresponding second half that completed the plan. Due to the grand size of the perimeter, an orthogonal steel framework provides the building’s structural integrity. The roof construction is supported by 9.5-metre-high steel columns positioned in a grid based on units of 17.5 x 22.8 metres. Due to the exterior concrete walls bracing the structure, it was possible to minimize the dimensions of the interior columns for a sleeker and more permeable perception.
However, a major challenge on this project was the installation of necessary mechanical and technological components. This problem was resolved with astonishing precision, creating a system that can be described as a great improvement on standard factory structures. The interior facilities were installed as central aspect of the architectural operation. Nothing seems to be left to chance, from the screws in the high rack storage shelving to the excellent lighting conditions, which contribute to the pleasant work atmosphere in the hall. Another essential element of the interior’s atmospheric quality is the radically reductive use of colour. Various shades of grey and white define the interior space, further aiding the distribution of light, whereas the signal colours so common to typical industrial interiors are completely absent. A distinctive feature of this graceful building is its curtain façade. Elements of the façade are suspended in front of the exterior insulation on the concrete walls and encompass the entire building volume, which presented a great challenge. The façade elements are made of acrylic glass with an undulating surface, equal to the height of the building. The outer layer of acrylic is completely transparent, while the inner layer is an opaque white colour. The individual panels were first cast in flat sheets, then heated to 60 degrees Celsius and vacuum moulded to create the wave structure. Since no manufacturer could be found who was capable of moulding such large pieces, an oven had to be specially constructed for the purpose.
Third Mainland Bridge The long, long bridge. Different models of cars pace about like lions, deers and tigers in a habitat; your rate of movement is encoded in social class-that is,of your car your rate of movement is also encoded in size-simply size. The lion(the predator) pounces on the deer(its prey) the large Range Rover overtakes the little kias,toyotas and the outdated lexus the bridge never seems to end. The beautiful landscape reminds me of the Lagos i envisioned: canoe men facing the tedious task of rowing the boat I reach for my camera, and attempt to capture the beauty but i can’t zoom enough my lens isn’t so powerful, it’s only six-teen mega-pixels Above, the cumulus clouds swing gently I reach for my camera; nature has been kind to the tree canopies The irony is behind those large trees are giant electric poles, cables, large apartments I am reminded that we are in a metropolis Infrastructure has strangled nature. The danfo drivers are as impatient as their passengers
Pause My song is interrupted by loud chants from energetic conductors Just saw the green signboard: Ebute-Metta is bold in white Hawkers(athletes-in training) have run past it several times. One winked at me-no comment My legs are crossed now i’m hungry and tired and cold it’s misty ,far ahead. Business men are sleeping while their chauffers drive
Play Street lights are the giraffes You thought i forgot the savannah It’s a race, you know It’s a race to work, a race to play. Another display of exuberant colours Coca-Cola billboards. I might drift away soon Ah,i nearly forgot the most hardworking creatures: The Lastma officials have upgraded their pale yellow shirts and wine trousers the uniforms still exist but most are dressed in biker jackets and leather gear Camera failed me-memory full And this poem is too long i’ll just keep watching Third Mainland Bridge, i’ll be here till Friday.
- Verse Writer 168
WORDS BRIGITTA BEN EGHAN
Ama Lou. That’s the name of the 20-year-old singer, songwriter and budding director from North London, whose distinctive sound and unique style has created quite a buzz in the music scene. The classically trained musician began song writing at just 11 years old however, today her music has transformed into a form that pushes boundaries and blurs the lines between art and R&B. Affiliated with Jorja Smith, of whom she went on tour with earlier this year; and endorsed by Drake, Ama Lou has already gained strong recognition for her talents from celebrities and fans alike.
In 2016 Ama Lou released her debut songs “TBC” and “Not Always”; both of which are a testament to Lou’s ability to translate powerful social and political messages into a form that is easier to digest. Referencing the last words of Eric Graner, “I can’t breathe”, TBC is a Black Lives Matter anthem focusing on police brutality and the annihilation of black and brown America in the early 20th century. In both the song and the accompanying visuals, Lou interprets the dark realities of POC living in the United States. When asked about the her politically challenged lyrics in an interview, Lou stated that; “My music and my songs are my strongest voice at the moment and that[‘s] how I am expressing my feelings and ideas.” 175
Similarly, “Not Always” delves into the issues surrounding gender as a restrictive concept, once again touching on a strong social message. Lou’s confidence in discussing such heavy topics in her music is incredibly admirable. In the music world, it’s not common for an artist to use their craft as means to speak out about such politically and social centred matters. Hence way it’s refreshing to see a young person incorporate such a means of activism within their music.
In March, Lou released her debut EP – “DDD” - Dawn, Day and Dusk. Collaborating with her sister, Mahalia Jones, this project is a triptych of music videos illustrating the life of a runner in a Los Angeles crime ring and their journey over a single day – with each track filmed at a corresponding time: daw, midday and dusk. Taking complete control over DDD, Lou guided every part of this endeavour from producing, to song writing, to the visuals and everything inbetween. Already raking in over 1Million views on YouTube, DDD is definitely a hit with fans. Filled with effortless transitions, DDD flows as a collective piece as opposed to three staple tracks on an EP. Beginning with “Tried Up”, Lou’s smooth vocals has listeners hooked from the get-go. Moving on to ‘Wrong Lesson”, Lou adopts a more up-beat tempo with a strong 90s R&B influence.
This track has more of an old school, feel-good vibe which is equally reflected in how Lou embodies her character in the visuals. She’s more ‘gangster’ like, showing off her ‘swag’ in the way she moves. Finally transitioning into ‘Wire”, her lyrics explore the realisation of mistakes and the need for a new direction in life. Ending on a slightly solemn note Lou’s raspy voice against the sounds of the saxophone leaves listeners wanting to hear more of this runner’s story.
Overall, DDD is a project that cements Ama Lou as a force to be reckoned with. The originality of her work is truly unique. DDD radiates a confidence and versatility that outshines the average expectations of a young and independent artist. Lou’s deep and gravelly voice, strong lyricism and her talent for film making, work together to uncover Lou’s upmost talent and authenticity.
The juxtaposition in her distinctively rough but smooth vocals paired with her impressive and expressive lyricism, means that listeners are forced to delve deeper into the different layers of her music. When asked about the future, Lou said, “I’m venturing now into this film world that I’ve opened up for myself. I think I’m just going to flood the streets with a bunch of Ama Lou.” - and we can’t wait.
WORDS SHANTE COLLIER-MCDERMOTT PHOTOGRAPHY UNDINE MARKUS
“Life Is Analogue. UNITÈ”
ODIE, an artist in his own lane. At only 21, ODIE is a musician with many feats and a lifetime more to come. Born in Canada to Nigerian parents and then later moving to San Francisco at age 12, ODIE was immersed into several different environments. The influence of it all is constantly shown through the words and depth in his music. Being from a Nigerian home regularly exposed ODIE to the sounds of Fela Kuti and Sunny Ade as well as household name Michael Jackson. Songs such as ‘Shakara’ and ‘Sweet Mother’ are some of ODIE’s earliest memories of music and subsequently have gone onto play an integral part in his own music. ODIE notes that the 1st time he came to the true realisation that he loved music was when his sister began to play the Usher, Confessions album around the house – the 2nd being when he began to explore music for himself in high school. It was also in high school that ODIE came across ‘Symphonies!’ by Dan Black & Kid Cudi, Cudi being someone he resonates with an artist and draws inspiration from. Both Cudi and ODIE are able tap into an unsaturated genre-bending sound that separates them. ODIE and his collective Unite all share similar vibes and values, all altering a modern sound in a way that’s unique to them. Fellow musician Yaqob makes up the other counterpart to the music side of Unite - with other individuals like ODIE’s best friend Chris, collaborating in the collective in other ways. A group with members hailing from an array of backgrounds, Unite is one that put an emphasis on embracing and coming together in the form of music and culture.
Described as a mixture of Hip Hop, R’n’B and Afro beats, ODIE presents something new. He has an impressive vocal range, drawing on a melodic and often whimsical tone in his music, ODIE has been compared to the likes of Frank Ocean. He combines singing and rapping in the way that many young artists do but also delves into a personal realm that is deep and contains special meaning. ODIE has exclaimed how he feels - that it is important to stay true to yourself and presents himself very openly. ODIE is considerably new to the game, with much of his public discography not going further back a more than 2-3 years or so. But it would not seem so, having hundreds of thousands of plays on Soundcloud on his earlier tracks such as ‘On My Own’ and ‘Catch Up’. The Canadian born artist also went onto get over a million streams on his 1st Spotify releases. He has a following that seems anything but new.
ODIE PRESENTS SOMETHING NEW. HE HAS AN IMPRESSIVE VOCAL RANGE, DRAWING ON A MELODIC AND OFTEN WHIMSICAL TONE IN HIS MUSIC.
Fast forward to 2018, fresh off tour as an opener Amine and a feature across several Apple Music and Spotify playlists. April 6th, ODIE released his debut album Analogue. An individual beyond his years, ODIE refers to being an analogue artist much like many of his earlier influences but in a digital age. Analogue is the young artist’s coming of age story that was made with the hopes to fully submerge his listeners into ODIE as a person and artist, flaws and all. ODIE talks about the creation of this project being organic and unplanned with many songs being conceived in the comfort of his own home. The album is compromised of 10 songs but nonetheless full of variety, giving ambient, sensual and up-tempo vibes. Reviewed as thought provoking and an excellent showcase of his talent, Analogue has impressive numbers with songs like ‘Little Lies’ and ‘North Face’ proving popular. This summer ODIE has headlined his own shows and appeared at several festivals, solidifying his place in the scene – and more recently, ODIE music was featured in Netflix Original, The After Party. Although no new music has been released, ODIE has taken to social media to let fans know that he intends to drop visuals for Analogue, the first being a video for ‘Story’, Directed by Dustin Stanek, which furthers the analogue theme of the album while documenting ODIE’s journeys from city to city, spreading his music to the world. ODIE is truly a rising star and undoubtedly one to watch.
WORDS DANIELLA FRANCIS & SHANTE COLLIER-MCDERMOTT PHOTOGRAPHY JIMI ADGBOLA STYLING HENRY UDUKU
Odunsi The Engine (born Bowofoluwa Odunsi) is a Nigerian singer, songwriter and producer who has infused numerous genres together to create a distinctive sound. The up and coming artist from Lagos, Nigeria smoothly blends genres together, creating what he calls Afro-fusion. Odunsi utilizes his ability to infuse genres that has influenced his musical growth (including RnB and Afro-pop) and replicate these influences in his music. Afrobeats is currently a popular genre worldwide. However, there seems to be less artists fusing Afrobeats with Afro-pop and RnB. The 22-yearold multifaceted musician has currently record deals with Universal Music Nigeria and Warner/ Chappell Music UK. Amber Davis the A&R director at Warner/Chappell Music UK said, “Odunsi is a fresh and impressive young talent. He has shaken up the music scene in Nigeria and is now attracting global attention”, doing so with an already has an extensive discography. During an interview with ‘Cultured Conversations’ with Ola Ayeye, we gain a greater insight to Odunsi (The Engine) as an individual. The stage name Odunsi (The Engine) derives from his family name ‘Odunsi’ and his high school roommates named him “The Engine”. ‘The Engine’ was a common name used to describe someone who worked around the clock - he was known to go to sleep late and still wake up at 5:30am for school. Subsequently, his friends found the name a perfect fit. After a while of using the engine as a suffix to his name on social media apps such as Blackberry messenger, Odunsi exclaims that it just stuck. It was also in high school when Odunsi kickstarted his musical journey.
Odunsi has always been surrounded by music, but interestingly Odunsi’s initial prospects did not lie with producing nor singing, he first identified as a rapper – he went from making beats to transitioning to singing in January 2015. His producing prowess was remarkably self-taught through watching internet videos and despite Odunsi’s evident talent, he still hopes to learn more about the art. He took up music as a profession in 2016, producing for several artists in Nigeria, and later decided to officially become an artist when he realised artists were creating the same sound, Odunsi wanted to try something different. “I wanted to do something that was not present already” - Odunsi (The Engine) Odunsi’s style of music derives from Afro-pop, his writing is mostly influenced by previous/current Afro-Fusion acts such as Remedies, Trybesmen and Paul Play. His writing and style is mostly inspired by Africa i.e. Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa. This is evident throughout Odunsi’s continuous use of Yoruba and Pidgin in his music. The influence of his production comes from US, Pop and Alternative music. Odunsi is inspired globally and applies this purposefully to different areas of his creative process.
The song “Happy Hour” ft Okuntakunte creates an uplifting vibe with elements of Afro-House. “Vanilla Freestyle” and “Uber” featuring GMK and Osato continues the upbeat tempo of the EP, we hear soothing vocals and African influences. “Farabale” featuring Dami Oniru fuses RnB and Afro-pop, we hear ambient and atmospheric guitar melodies which are coupled with soulful harmonies from both Dami and Odunsi. In 2017 The Engine released two breakthrough singles “Desire” (Featuring Funbi and Tay Iwar) and “In the Morning” under Universal Music Group (Nigeria), receiving praise and positive review. Odunsi also collaborated on an EP with Nonso Amadi (Afro-R&B singer songwriter) which was released in April 2017. This EP evidently combines African influences, soothing R&B melodies and nostalgic sounds through the production. Odunsi The Engine has teased fans with two singles during 2018 “Alte Cruise” featuring Santi and Zamir and “Divine” featuring Davido. Throughout Odunsi’s body of work we continuously hear distinctive and unique vibes. 2018 has also been a year of accolades for Odunsi, from performing alongside Skepta, Wizkid and Tiwa Savage at The BBK Homecoming Concert to being covered by The Guardian Life Magazine. Odunsi is a musician making waves and is seemingly not stopping anytime soon. Odunsi recently released his debut album ‘rare.’ A title that exemplifies his brand and perspective within his creative activities, the album has proven to be a huge success with a timeless sound that warrents immense praise with its sonic intelligence and intricacies. A project that sets a high standard for the new wave of talent coming from Nigeria and Africa as a whole Odunsi only continues to captivate. His videos mirror the time and effort he puts into his craft, an aesthetic that is sophisticated, thought through and fun. This is shown in the way he presents himself too. Odunsi is on the path to becoming a style icon with a history of great fits’ and colourful trims. His social awareness and engagement with fans have been admirable and well received, speaking out about mental health on social media illustrating him as well-rounded commendable individual. This is only the beginning for Odunsi (The Engine); he states that his music mission for the most part is just to create and be great – and he is positive about where he and the Nigerian music scene is headed. Odunsi is definitely an international superstar in the making. 187
INTERVIEWER DERRICK ODAFI PHOTOGRAPHY NOA GRAYEVSKY
Tell us about your early beginnings before music. Music has always been there from the beginning, from as far back as I can remember I’ve always been making music What is your earliest memory of music? I remember writing lyrics in class since I was 5, I always used to tell the other kids to stay a little bit after school, so I could perform it to them. I did this since first grade for every single year. What has your journey though music taught you as a person? How to be creative, how to be different, how to persevere in difficult situations and how to express yourself through something you’re passionate about and a whole lot more to be honest What type of music most inspires you to create? Music where you can tell the artist is trying to do something that’s left, something that’s creatively different than the general standard. Music from artists like Death Grips, Kanye west, James Blake, Travis Scott. You’re a versatile artist but do you have a preference within your sounds? Nah, I love my versatility. It makes me excited to create cause even I don’t know what to expect. What are some of the things you need in your studio to create your best music? Nothing in particular, I just need the studio. I am all I need to create my best music Please tell us about Love Physical and what it means to you. Its about loving and accepting the life and situation you have in front of you at that present time, being in a digital age where you can see how other people especially rich celebrities are living, it’s extremely easier to hate your current lifestyle and wish for something better. I’ll admit, I’m a victim of that too
How did the collective No Politics Mob come about? I first created that name in A levels where I had the artists who I went to school with at the time be a part of the collective. Then when I got into university I lost contact with them and I started meeting other people with a similar vision and talent level as I did in their own respective fields. So, I recruited them to create the new and improved No Politics Mob What inspired the name of the collective? No Politics = No Bullshit Who is in the collective? New World Ray, Maison2500, Jai Eleven, ElmoCamo and Ade T Did you begin your career in music as a Producer or an artist first? An artist first
How does being a producer as well as an artist help the music you create and the lyrics you lay down?
What are some of your favourite moments in music this year?
It allows me to experiment with my music more and also express myself on a higher level. So I’m expressing my self not just lyrically but sonically, my mind fully envelopes the creation.
Opening for Waka Flocka in London, Performing at Village Underground, Killing it at Boiler room too, Parking lot freestyles with other rappers in Atlanta, cooking up track after track with Jammer in the studio. Crazy year to be honest.
Do you write your lyrics down? Most times but not all the time, sometimes I just feel it and that’s all I need. What is the usual process of the creation of a New World Ray song? No usual step, sometimes I make the beat first, sometimes I make the beat as a I go along and record on it. Etc. A usual process will make creating a very systematic process and you can’t do that to creation, creation must be free form. Your voice is very distinct, do you believe it aids your music? (Can you take more risks? Are you able to consistently hit a certain frequency? Yea I do, but I also feel I put in work to have the ranges my voice currently has. I take more risks with my voice, I’ve recently been singing in falsetto. Which shouldn’t make sense considering how deep my voice is What are some of your favourite memories in the studio.? I was in Atlanta and my n***** Section and Kash took me to this house party, the house was packed, hella shawties, hella dudes. I stumble to the back drunk as hell and enter one of the bedrooms and its just this soundproofed room and n***** are in there making music, I don’t know anyone in the room but I’m like “Hell yea, this what I’m talking bout, let me join the session”. Ended up making three songs with em that night and didn’t care that a whole party was going on outside Who are some of your favourite collaborators within the creative industry as a whole? Me when I’m on a song with me. People still ask me “how many people are in New World Ray” lmaoo. Cause of how many different voices I use in my music. One of your main collaborators is Maison Vendetta, tell us about your friendship/working relationship. That’s my brother for real, Maison too hard, I know I can leave a verse for him and he (is) goin’ kill it, no doubt about that. He’s also someone I can trust you know? You can have a lot of friends but not a lot of people you trust if you feel me?
You don’t seem to feel any pressure to release multiple projects or albums with long track lists when it seems to be industry standard now, why is that? I do feel pressure to do that, but I just don’t adhere to it. Reason being I’ve always just done what I feel is right, I try to never let external influences affect my choices What artists did you admire before you began making music yourself? 50 cent, Justin Timberlake, Eminem One of our favourite songs of yours is ‘Vibrations’, a very revealing song. Were you speaking from your perspective or the perspective of men that find themselves in that situation? My perspective, but I knew people will be able to relate because we all go through similar situations. Whenever I make music I try to speak on my personal experiences, so if any can relate there is already a connection there. The hook of the song has a party vibe, but the verse is very intimate, was this a conscious decision? Not really, I freestyled the first verse and I made that song pretty quickly actually then moved on to the next one, I must have come back to it and realised that, It’s actually pretty cool. You are a very stylistic individual, what inspired you to be so fashion conscious? I feel fashion is another avenue for us to express ourselves and my main form of expression is my ability to experiment, and my dad always told me to look good at all times. So it’s a mix of expressing myself and wanting to look good at all time. For this issue we have a story on fashionable accessories right now, what is your favourite accessory? Vivendii Side bag with the chain on it.
You have a strong relationship with brands such as Trapatlanta, Nothing for Us and Vivendii, how did this come about? They f*ck with my music, I f*ck with their clothes, very simple but organic relationship. One of your latest singles ‘Get Right’ Seems to be getting a lot of great attention, what can you tell us about the direction of your new music? My new music will be out of this world on God. Get right doesn’t really do any of the new stuff I have coming out justice. You just released another single with Kida Kudz, what was it like collaborating on that song? It was nice, I played him the song, he liked it and he got the verse done within a week. These are the type of artists I like to work with. NO POLITICS about this collaboration you feel me. Please tell us about the vision behind the visuals I don’t wanna say too much because I like people to also interpret it in their own light. But the water represents the infatuation. Infatuations is basically short-term love. When your wet, you will dry eventually. So, when I’m wet in the video I’m infatuated but when I dry up, I’ve gotten over the love. Another one of your visuals that is very engaging is the video for your song Hunger, why did you go with this video concept?
How are yours and Jammer’s sounds able to blend? Were both willing to experiment, I feel this project were working on is some of the most out of this world music I’ve made so far. What has he taught you about music and the industry? To remain organic and confident when making music and also being a part of the industry. They won’t show love if you don’t show confidence, he told me I remind me of him when he was coming up but in my own way. He taught me a lot more to be honest, he’s the type of person that can randomly throw out gems and information that you just have to deep. He told me to be more confident in myself and my music “this studio is in west, I’m not gonna come all the way from east to link you if you’re not talented” he said lmaoo What can you tell us about that particular project? So far It’s Amazing, I feel its bringing out a new style and sound of music. It really does sound like Alternative Trap America meets Grimey London You recently just graduated from university, what did you study? BSC Business Management Do you believe it can play a part in your music career? (What you studied)
The song gives me a trippy vibe, so I made a trippy video for it.
Yea, because managing your music career is essentially like managing a business. I love making music, its my passion but at the end of the day It’s a product that I have to package, promote and sell to potential customers.
You have very enchanting song structures, are these planned, or do you just let the music lead?
Tell us about some of the people you work with now that you meet at university.
I just let my creativity run wild then I follow through with it, If I don’t like the structure I will change it and try something new. The first track of the new project I’m working on, I’ve changed the structure more than 12 times.
No Politics Mob
You were recently in the studio with Jammer for 12 hours straight, what can you tell us about where your passion for music has taken you.
We constantly give each other our advice and opinions on new projects were working on. The way we see it, my music is his music too and his clothes are my clothes. He’s also put me in touch with a lot of other creative people in London in the past few years.
I feel like it’s taking me where I’m supposed to be, this is all predestined. Who knows who ima be in the studio with next.
A close friend of yours Jai Eleven is on the cover of our 6th issue, what can you tell us about how he has influenced your career in music, either socially or technically.
What are 3 things artists need to be able to collaborate with you. Talent.
What would you say has been the key thing to keep you going in such a tough industry? Listening back to the music I make always reminds me of how good I am and why I’m still going. Your art should be able to remind you of why you deserve to be here and why you go so hard What has been your biggest struggle? Balancing a lifestyle of working a job, being an artist and also furthering my education. Feel like I have no breathing space Where do you see your music taking you? To Mars, Jupited, etc the guap I make off of this sound will be invested into a space programme that will take us to other planets. What mind state do you want your listers to have after listening to a full project from you? I want them to feel motivated and also lit How would you describe your live shows? Rageee Who would you love to tour with, so you can learn to be the best version of yourself? Travis Scott As an independent artist, is having a major label backing something that you aim for? If the deal is right its something I’d consider, I got offered a deal last year but the terms didn’t favour me in the long run What is your next creative path after music? I already design clothes and direct music videos under an alias. I will reveal when the time is right, I have never been a fan of limiting creativity, if you are creative you will be tempted to explore other avenues where you can express your art Can we get an dates on some of your projects? Videos, albums, merch etc RUN FOREST, 1ST FEBRUARY 2019 Thank you for your time Ray, we look forward to your new projects coming soon. A Pleasure
Any hip hop fan would tell you that 2018 has been absolutely stacked so far in terms of new projects released by many talents and especially from the likes of major artists. From early releases such as Culture II by Migos in January to later releases like Tha Carter V by Lil Wayne in September, 2018 has been a big year for hip hop fans and it’s not over yet. With so many releases it’s possible you’ve missed some, so this article takes a glimpse at the month of June which was taken over by Kanye and his peers at the GOOD Music label. A year after Kanye’s The Life of Pablo album, the media reported Kanye was working on new music in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with several other collaborators.
This year these reports were confirmed when West himself announced that not only was he working on a self-titled project and collaboration with Kid Cudi but also that he would personally produce the albums for GOOD Music artists Pusha T, Nas and Teyana Taylor. He claimed all the album to be as short as 7 tracks taking up just under half an hour in length with each releasing every week from May 25th. The projects were released as follows; Daytona - May 25th Ye - June 1nd Kids See Ghost - June 8th Nasir - June 15th Keep That Same Energy - June 23rd 204
DAYTONA Pusha T (May 25th). Daytona was the first project out of Wyoming and received critical acclaim for its sharp production and hard-hitting lyrics. Kanye’s production is up for show on this album as the sound he crafted complements Pusha’s bars extremely well. Make no mistakes however, this is Pusha’s album and his flows and lyrics debatably make this the best of the Wyoming releases (not to mention the ensuing beef with Drake which followed the release of this album but let’s not talk about that). 205
Ye Kanye West (June 1st). The second project from Wyoming was the self-titled Ye from Kanye which followed the controversy surrounding his political views and â€œinteresting commentsâ€? on TMZ. The album was said to be scrapped and rerecorded in the wake of its scheduled release, whether the backlash Kanye received from his political views played a role in this is unknown. Despite this and criticism of the album itself, Ye is an album with high highs and one that needs a listen to form a real opinion. 206
KIDS SEE GHOST Kanye West & Kid Cudi (June 8th). Next from Wyoming was the collaboration of Kanye and Kid Cudi which fans of both artists were excited to hear. Production wise this album is very different than all the other Wyoming projects as rock and jazz samples take precedence over the sound, with mellow or chaotic vocals from both artists on top. This sound was lauded by fans and critics alike as it received an overwhelmingly positive reception, even going as far to debut as No. 2 on the Billboard 200.
NASIR Nas (June 15th). Nas has been teasing a new album since 2016 with the song Nas Album Done on DJ Khaled’s collaborative album. While Nasir may not be the exact album that was promised it’s more than likely the songs on this album have been worked on for a long time while only recently been added with Kanye’s production. In any case, the album was greatly anticipated by many hip hop fans for good reason, but ultimately left most disappointed whether it’s due to the lack of meaningful lyricism or the lack of engagement Nas has with Kanye’s stellar production. 208
K.T.S.E. Teyana Taylor (June 23rd). The final instalment of the Wyoming Sessions and perhaps the most overlooked release. K.T.S.E (Keep That Same Energy) brought a close to the summer releases from Kanye and GOOD Music. This album broke the trend of having 7 tracks that the previous four followed as Teyana was allowed an additional track to be entered. Despite the warm reception she received for her album, Teyana claimed it to be incomplete as some tracks were removed due to sample clearing issues whilst some of the ones that remained had verses left out. K.T.S.E still sounds complete and worth a listen but not the full project the artist intended. 209
Through are all the releases of the Wyoming sessions, for better or worse Kanye and he artists at GOOD Music, who were part of this elaborate roll out, made their mark on summer 2018 with more to come as Kanye is reportedly working on a project with Chance the Rapper titled ‘Good Ass Job’ and a separate project with Cyhi the Prynce. WRITER CHUCK ONUNKWO PHOTOGRAPHY ZACHERY MICHAEL (Pusha T) ALBERT WATSON (Kanye West) UNGANO AGRIODIMAS (Nas) DEWAYNE ROGERS (Teyana Taylor)
Many were devastated to discover the news that, Malcom James McCormick (Mac Miller), at the age of 26 years old had passed away on 7/09/2018 from a suspected drug overdose in his California home. Mac Miller music ranged from party music to tracks about drug use and dejection. Mac Miller had a strong following as people from all walks of life were able to relate to the deceased rapper. Mac had a successful career; He had a debut album, Blue slide park that reached No.1 in the top 200 album chart in 2011, the first independently distributed album to hit first on the billboard charts since 1995. One of his biggest songs was the 2011, the platinum-certified mixtape track “Donald Trump”, which prompted a feud with the future president. He asked his fans not to vote for Mr Trump, who was flirting with the idea of running for president then, and publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement. He released his fifth, full-length album “Swimming” last month, with Variety calling it “a simple, stately, poetic autobiography.” Rolling Stone called it “silky, deep vibe redolent of the L.A. alternative soul scene.” New Musical Express said it was “his best work in years.”
The album included the song “Come Back to Earth,” with Miller trying to chart his way through tough times: “In my own way, I feel like living some alternate reality/And I was drowning, but now I’m swimming through stressful waters to relief.” Miller talked of pressure before death Miller described feeling “pressure” from his fame and his struggle with depression. “A lot of times in my life I’ve put this pressure to hold myself to the standard of whatever I thought I was supposed to be, or how I was supposed to be perceived. Fellow musicians such as Chance The Rapper, J Cole, Snoop Dog, Missy Elliot and Ed Sheeran all paid tribute to Mac Miller after his tragic passing. This displayed the respect that the Pittsburgh rapper garnered from around the globe but not only as a musician but as the individual himself causing many people to detail their interesting and most times funny interactions with the 26-yearold artist. He will surely be missed. R.I.P
It is no secret that Jahseh Onfroy, known as XXXtentacion, was one of the most controversial musicians within this era of music due to his unconventional approach to the way he expressed himself through his music. XXXtentacion music could be described as violent; however, as time went on the 20 year old displayed his versatility in various tracks that has become popular among this generation. XXXtenacion also brought a lot of attention to importance of mental health due to his personal struggles, which many of his followers could relate to. At just 20 years of age XXXtentacion gained a rapid rise to success from being hugely popular on Soundcloud, where underground rappers usually become recognized. He then became a known globally from the track ‘Look At Me’. On August 25, Florida rapper XXXtentacion released his debut album, 17, which entered at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. The album received a positive response from critics, some of which lauded the album for its personal narratives and diverse musical style. Onfroy’s second album, ‘?’, was released on March 16, 2018. It debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, with its singles “Sad!”, “Changes” and “Moonlight” all making appearances on the Billboard Hot 100. In addition, the track ‘Roll in Peace’ where he featured on Kodak Black’s ‘Project Baby 2’ gained a position on the Billboard Hot 100, debuting at 52 and peaking at 31 on the chart. Unexpectedly, on June 18, 2018 in Deerfield Beach Florida, he would be killed in cold blood by thugs looking to rob him while in his BMW i8. He would struggle but eventually be shot in the neck, Onfroy was inicially in critical condition upon his arrival to the hospital but tragically passed away soon after. Mass hysteria from his fans and the Hip Hop community followed as many believed he was on his way to changing his life, beginning with his motivational messages to his peers and the ‘Helping Hand’ Challenge in which he started to support those less fortunate. All his accused killers are now in police custody.
Onfroy’s open casket funeral allowed all his fans and peers to come and pay their respects and they came in droves. Artists such as Lil Uzi Vert, Denzel Curry (Who lived with X at the early stages of their careers) and Eryka Badu were in attendance. On June 19, the day after Onfroy’s death, Spotify’s singleday streaming record was broken by Onfroy’s track “Sad!”, with over 10.4 million streams compared to the previous record of 10.1 million streams. Sales of his albums and singles rapidy increased, causing both is albums ‘17’ and ‘?’ to be certified platinum in the month of August. In the week following his murder, Onfroy’s highestcharting single, “Sad!”, went from 52nd to 1st on the Billboard Hot 100, making him the first artist to top the Hot 100 posthumously in a lead role since The Notorious B.I.G., with “Mo Money Mo Problems”, in 1997. On June 28, his management team posthumously released the music video for “Sad!”, which has received over 90 million views whilst the audio has over 520 million views. XXXtentacion at just 20 years old began making waves across the hip-hop industry even with his outrageous music videos. Although there was much controversy surrounding him, he believed he was attempting to make positive alterations in his life, therefore, setting aside XXXtentacion’s personal life, one could imagine with the talent he possesses, what he could have achieved later along the line.
PHOTOGRAPHY FEMI OLUBODE MODELS MAIAH AIMI (right) RAI ELLE (Left)
This year has had a lot of very shocking moments, especially in the music industry. One of the saddest and most heart-breaking moments was Hip Hop losing an artist with an exponential creative potential. Dwayne Ricardo Onfroy, also known as rapper Xxxtentacion, was fatally shot and killed in Florida while leaving a motorcycle dealership on the 18th of June this year. Just a brief back story to ‘X’ as the artist and person. The 20-year-old man had been the subject of controversy both in the industry and in his personal life. X had been the defendant of numerous allegations that at times seemed to cloud his ability to create amazing art that he gave his fans and the world. With songs like Look At Me, Changes and Moonlight to name a few, X knew how to show how diverse he was, changing his sound came naturally to him and this was always clear in the music he produced and in the visuals.
The visuals begin with an opening scene introducing a creature called Gekyume, which, according to Urban Dictionary, is a word invented by the rapper that indicates a “different state” or “next” universe of thought. From the beginning X is subconsciously telling the viewers that they are entering a different dimension. This new would may be deciphered as the thoughts of X himself, an internal look into the troubles he faces as a young man with a troubled past. As the audience of this video are greeted by Gekyume, he proceeds to ask intrusive questions that forces the viewer to check their bias and analyse their true reason for being part of the visual experience.
After X was released from house arrest in March, 2017, he then released his sophomore album “?” which debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. This album is the album that contained the song SAD which is a certified hit by the artist. The song reached No1 on the billboard 100 chart shortly after his demise, but that wasn’t the most significant thing about the song. After his untimely death 10 days later, the video for the single was released and everything about about it was nothing short of chilling. The visuals for ‘SAD’ is so coincidental it’s scary, the late rapper XxxTentacion sadly predict his future with eerie precision. Written and creatively directed by X himself, ‘SAD!’ features X attending his own funeral. For such a well-known and influential artist, it is very interesting that X only has 3 official videos under his belt, ‘SAD’ being arguably the most unbelievable piece of art.
Soon after the dark screen fades into X walking down the aisle of a church. There seems to be an eerie tension in the air as you hear gusts of wind as X walks closer towards a casket. The camera cuts to a tracking shot of multiple people with Their heads down, mourning the passing of the individual in the casket, meanwhile Gekyume continues to ask questions of the viewer. As he reaches the alter it is now fairly clear to see that the person in the casket is actually X himself, the old X with half blond dreads and a heart full of anger, frustration and a search for attention.
The X that was known for fighting in the physical sense while also battling his demons on a daily bases in what seemed to be a losing bout. The visual of the old X in this casket is powerful symbolism to the mindset of the man shortly before his untimely death, he was ready to leave his past behind and begin as a more positive human being with words of advice and comfort for his peers.
In this video he seems to be present to say his last goodbyes to the person he used to know as himself. This is an unbelievable and ironically tragic situation given the fact that the world we all live in did not give him a chance to change the world within himself as a human being. A very powerful series of scenes that interrupt the song through out the video are that of X and Gekyume, manifested as a Grim Reaper architype in the clip. Gekyume seems to be instructing X while also encouraging him to cast aside negative energy, spread love, and “change the overall cycle of energy we are digesting”. The visual message of Gekyume towering over the new and improved X, as he sits on a stool with his head bowed down, is one of humility. The new X is open to receiving instruction for the better, X seems to be depicting himself a messenger to relay the instructions from the “next” universe to the people and especially his fans.
The song which sparked the creation of this video begins almost half way through the visual. This shows that the song was almost secondary to the story that X wanted to tell. X is not new to visually striking content that forces viewers to talk, fans and detractors alike. As the song begins, the old version of X in the casket comes to life and reaches for the neck of the new version of himself. The internal battle begins., this time in physical form. As the new and improved Xxxtentacion commences a merciless beating of his old self, this can be deciphered into X finally wining the battle of positivity but in a very brutal and uncomfortable way. Shortly after a close up shot of X, the viewer then travels into his mind as they are met with a visual of a stop watch flying by to represent the passing of time. The video continues to showcase a fight between living X and an alter-ego. The fight which began in a church later moves into an alley. The video reverts to Gekyume and X as the grim reaper figure scolds X about his inability to detach from his past and teaching him the power of his mind and his ability to achieve the impossible. Immediately after the visuals transition back to the alley fight, something has changed.
At this point X is no longer a physical threat to his old self, he no longer has to exert kinetic energy to defeat his demons. X has now become a higher being with strengths that would be impossible in the physical realm. As people crowd around, instigating the fight, X crouches in one position with his head bowed down, waving his finger around as his opponent flies from one side of the ally to the next, crashing against obstacles. The powerful representation of this scene is X’s understanding of his inner strength, he can finally control his demons with minimal effort. Through the eyes of X, we are then lead into a light, a white void that seems to be a representation of the afterlife. X lays his old self to rest and walks away peacefully. The final piece of symbolism comes in the form of two incredulous handwritten message, they read: “OH! AND I WANT HER LOVE ALL TO MYSELF” “People change, things change, and so did I. As long as the outcome is good for family and myself I’m not complaining.” 221
Prior to his death, X shared multiple videos of himself talking about his immortality and a myriad of varying life issues. Prior to his murder, the rapper had a long rep sheet of physical violence, false imprisonment, and battery. This video was to be the turn of a new left for the troubled superstar as he was actively working to help people in his community, most notably with is ‘helping hand’ challenge. This was amongst some of the other things that X had began to put out to the world on his journey to change himself and his environment of controversy for good. It is sad to realize that his last wish did not come true at all. But his death would not have been in vain if his message lives on. Despite the bizarre and intuitive music video, the lyrics speak about a breakup that XxxTentacion is unable to move on from. 222
X was an artist who was definitely going to impact the music industry with his creativity, Some go as far as saying he could have have taken over from where an artist like Kanye West left off in the future. But unfortunately, with all the gun violence that Florida has it’s a shame that X had to be a victim of it all. His music will still continue to reach the youth and help those that may fight and battle with things like depression that they aren’t alone in this world and they can overcome it all and not have to turn to other negative substance that could end up harmful in the long run. X was only 20 when he left us and now just like artists like Pac and Biggie we are left with just the thought of what he would have been if he was still around with us. I guess all they is left to say is Rest In Power Prince X.
PHOTOGRAPHY DANIKA MODEL CAMILLE MUNN
MODEL NAOMI NIMOH | @GNVIDA PHOTOGRAPHY OSCAR WORLD PEACE
EDITORâ€™S LETTER For our sixth issue we wanted to continue to grow our influence and understanding within the creative industry, the process of putting this body of work together has allowed us to come into contact with many amazing creatives with bright futures. Being able to tell their stories or put a spotlight on their talents is a privilege that we have an immense passion for. From the artists we speak about such as Alexis Torimiro and Sam Adefe, to writing a story on our photographer spotlight Robin Jade, many beautiful moments have been shared even before we had the opportunity of opening the creative floodgates of art, inspiration and motivation to you the reader. Coming to the end of the year there are many things that we felt were important to present our perspectives on, from fashion trends, artist features on talents such as Ama Lou and Odunsi(The Engine) to paying homage to diseased artists that have left a lasting impact on the world, the stories in this issue are designed to allow our readers to reflect on what has been and what could be. Having great conversations with important creative minds such as our cover star Jai Eleven are moments that will be encapsulated in this issue and will be a point of reference for years to come. The people we speak of or sit down with tell us something about ourselves and we hope to give our readers something to take away from our editorial, something that adds visually or mentally to your daily creative activities. The year has been a long and eventful one, from our physical magazines selling out at our first pop up and releasing five issues in total in the calendar year, building relationships and bonds that are highly valuable to us and building our team to consciously give you quality content, New Wave Magazine is slowly but surely becoming a staple of the creative culture for any and everyone looking for a platform to develop new ideas.
DERRICK ODAFI EDITOR IN CHIEF
PHOTOGRAPHY NICOLE OSULA