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ADVERT Trapstar

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TRAPSTARLONDON


TRAPSTAR.COM


Welcome to Viper Style, a new publication from Viper Magazine. Here we’ll be showcasing the best brands and style icons you need on your radar, alongside fashion editorials and interviews with some of our favourite stylish musicians. Think of us as GQ Style for the man dem; a magazine pushing streetwear and street culture directly to the readers that love it most. Our three cover stars are all style icons in their own right, with Saint JHN, Shaybo and Pa Salieu in the spotlight. Very literally in Salieu’s case, with a luminous backdrop of chandeliers and a sleek Trapstar wardrobe. Pretty in pink, we have the stunning Shaybo, one of London’s best MCs. She comes through dressed like a princess, contrasting beautifully with her voracious delivery in freestyles. Brooklyn’s finest, Saint JHN appears as dapper as ever. In his cover shoot, he rocks Diana, a white fur coat I found in a market in Bologna, Italy in February. Who would have thought she’d already make a cameo in a magazine! Appearances from hotly tipped rappers like Ola Runt, Alicai Harley and DonMonique bring the star factor to our fashion editorials, in addition to a ride through the Jamaican city of Port Antonio thanks to our Bae, photographer Netti Hurley. Viper Style 001 marks the beginning of a new era for Viper Magazine and we can’t wait to take you on a wild ride...

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FOUNDER Lily Mercer

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF CREATIVE DIRECTOR COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR STYLE DIRECTOR HEAD OF VIDEO PRODUCTION CREATIVE ASSISTANT

Lily Mercer Scott Butler Lucy James Loach Eddie Cheaba Ola Busari

Editorial Office lucy@vipermag.com

ISSUE ONE

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CONTRIBUTORS

Faith Aylward Photographer My favourite accessory is probably a pair of shades. I feel like they always add an extra dimension to an outfit. Clear frame shades also look sick at night so they’re not strictly a daytime look for me. My style icon is probably Rihanna. Most girls my age would probably say the same. She’s been a constant source of inspiration and her versatility in regards to style is impressive - probably a huge reason why people love her so much; she can and has done it all.  didudietho

Monique Munroe Make-up artist

Jaz Lanyero Hair Stylist Jewellery is my favourite accessory - I’ve got a few pieces that I don’t leave the house without. My style icon is Solange Knowles. I love that she doesn’t stick to the rules, she wears what she wants and she looks amazing.  abitofjaz

I don’t feel that I have just one icon. I take inspiration from anything, everything and everyone. I dress how I feel so there’s a look for every mood! What accessory can’t you live without? Diamonds! Because they are a girl’s best friend. Jewellery has always been the final step to completing any look for me. I wear my favourite diamond pieces every day without fail. A Michael Kors watch, a Tiffany & Co bracelet and some diamond studs.  moniquexmunroe

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ART 4 GOOD

4BYSIX.com


CONTRIBUTORS

Elliot Hensford Photographer Favourite accessory is 100% any shoulder bag that’s not a man bag and style icon is Rocky Ola Busari Photographer

 elliothensford

I’d have to say my favorite item are shoes. I feel like you can tell so much about a person and their lifestyle based on what pair of shoes they’ve got on. I wouldn’t say I have a particular fashion icon, but I like certain looks from various people, celeb or not.  saintblck_

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SAINT JHN by Kno One

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The Goods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

Pa Salieu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 82

Live Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22

DonMonique . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94

Trend Forecasts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Ola Runt by Jiggy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102

Ashley Williams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32

Ova Porty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 106

Aliette . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34

Down By The Blue Lagoon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

Casablanca x New Balance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36

Eastwood Danso . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

Mary Katrantzou . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

Evan Oak . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132

Corteiz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40

Sunita Rai . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136

Milk & Honey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44

Très She . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 140

The Style Goddess: Leah Abbott . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

Skin & Sanctuary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 144

SAINt JHN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56

Holy Grail Beauty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 145

Shaybo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 68

Champs Barbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146


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With a rep for some of the best rap T-shirts on the Internet, I Am Kai have established an ethical and unique line of T-shirts, paying homage to rap legends like A Tribe Called Quest Wu-Tang, Big Pun, NORE and more. Blending nineties graphics with delicate pencil work, I Am Kai designer, Kaimon, takes inspiration from her favourite musicians to create stand out clothing for rap lovers. Our favourite tee from the brand boasts surely one of the best memes in history - Snoop Dogg wearing a fish hat. Just when you thought the moment couldn’t get better, I Am Kai recreated it with a sketch.

IAMKAI THE GOODS

Brand IAMKAI iamkai.co.uk


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FILA make a statement with their latest campaign, captivating retro-futurism through the lens of conceptual graphic design sister duo Fa & Fon Watkins. FILA set the trend, offering deluxe items that make up the ultimate summer wardrobe for ladies. The sportswear giants provide a forward-thinking collection straddling across athleisure, denim and lightweight outerwear, perfect to for those summer days that you need a look to take you from morning to an eventful night. Available worldwide at www.fila.com and via selected stockists.

Photography Fa&Fon fafon.online Brand Fila fila.com

FILA

THE GOODS


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Brand Vuhlandes vuhlandes.com

VUHLANDES

THE GOODS

With some of the grittiest black and white imagery on the block, Michigan based photographer, Vuhlandes has been captivating us for years. Whether shooting in his traditional film style, or experimenting with digital, he never fucking misses. So we were overjoyed to see that not only can we now cop prints of his iconic stills, jigsaw puzzle versions are also available. With the threat of a second lockdown being mentioned, this is sure to keep boredom at bay.


This year for Record Store Day, Patta got together with Washington DC based artist Davon Bryant-Mason aka Dreamcast, to produce a vinyl-only, threetrack 7” record and an exclusive t-shirt. This is a truly collaborative effort, with music by Dreamcast, co-A&R’ed by Kazim Rashid and Patta. This record will not be available anywhere else or digitally. This record is limited to 300 copies worldwide.

BABY PHAT

BABY PHAT ’S BACK

PATTA THE GOODS

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Model Dreamcast @dreamcast.moe Photography Tyrous @care.of Brand @pattasoundsystem @patta_nl


LONDON

LIVE EVENTS SPRI N G/S UMMER

2020

ELLIOT HENSFORD

@ELLIOTHENSFORD

LANCEY FOUX / SAM WISE / A$AP ROCKY A $ A P FER G / K V D S G OLI AT H / LI L M O SE Y

LIL MOSEY WEARS BALENCIAGA A S A P F E R G WE A R S A- CO L D -WA L L S A M W I S E @ I S L I N G T O N A S S E M B LY H A L L


LES BAINS, PARIS

NAKED WOLFE 2020

@JEREMYJFWW

JEREMY WALDER WILLOWS

SPRI N G/S UMMER

YUNG FUME / MS BANKS MASTER PEACE / KODER SHAMELL KENDRICK PA R I S FA S H I O N WE E K G O E R S STO R M E D TO T H E D O O R S O F L E S B A I N S D U C H E S S FO R A N I G H T THAT SHOOK THE CITY WITH LIVE PERFORMANCES FROM LONDON’ S FINEST ACTS AND DJ’ S .

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TREND FORECASTS

PRINTED LEATHER / ˈlɛð ər / There’s striking a pose and then there’s the pose that lasts forever... Street-slick leather trends are moving down the runway like they were meant to hang from the shoulders of every fashionista. A slick, underground aesthetic is what takes the printed leather treatment beyond the street, onto the catwalk as demonstrated by the talents of Mowalola. The Nigerian-born designer illustrated her profound skill with leather in her SS20 collection, which featured leather jackets printed with abstract images. Mowalola’s masterful process has been embraced by fashion-forward A-listers like Drake and Skepta; both enthusiasts of the Central Saint Martins trained designer. Her ideas are now seen on the rails of the most adored high-end fashion retailers globally. Earlier this year, Mowalola was spotted sending models down the runway in an all white leather two-piece featuring a ‘Scarface’ style bullet-wound and blood splatter, which took the ideas on printed leather to a new caliber. Another of Viper Style’s favourite looks of 2020, is a head to toe, black leather outfit by Kenzo; incorporating a traditional style with armour-like tailoring, demonstrating the extreme functionality of leather.

MOWALOLA / TOP RIGHT; ADAMANEVEN. BOTTOM RIGHT: AGR KNIT

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DIY / RE-CONSTRUCTED FASHION / riːkənˈstrʌkt / A tsunami of creativity lays the foundations for young talents, responsible for setting the season’s D.I.Y. trends. Such fashions were later adopted and sent down the runway by the major fashion houses such as Off-White, 1017 Alyx 9SM and Comme des Garçons. The beauty of re-working fabrics and upholstering old designs to make creative new ones, a trend offering elements of sustainability combined with the development of design norms. The emerging pioneers of D.I.Y in the denim realm - talents like Adam Aneven - tackle the issue of broad product options. Jaffa Saba collaborates with denim royalty True Religion for an exclusive line of jean-mastery for the new age. IMAGES: TRUE RELIGION X JAFFA SABBA, ADAM ANEVEN, ARG KNIT

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CASABLANCA

OPEN BUTTON SHIRTS / ʃɜːt / DB Berdan, Martine Rose and Prada all have one thing in common when it comes to the shirt; comfortability. At the centre of the 2020 oversized shirt trend is sleek functionality, beautifully constructed outfits from elegant cuts and breathable silks. As we transcend into the Autumn months, we’ll continue wearing labels like Prada and Casablanca who unveiled a series of fine-cut and exquisite silk shirts for 2020.

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REESE COOPER

ARIES

ASHLEY WILLIAMS

AMIRI

GRAPHIC KNITWEAR / ˈnɪt.weər / For most of us, a finely constructed knitwear garment can more time be found weaving up and down the spectrum of fancy. Knits reminiscent of the little old lady down the lane are now forgotten, as our next-gen designers lead the way and this year wool begins to make a re-appearance in many people’s wardrobes. Spearheading contenders in the knitwear game consist of Alicia Robinson’s own label, AGR Knitwear. Not holding back on the bright coloured wool and innovative patterns, AGR Knit crafts unique statement knit pieces for the growing creative culture. Having collaborated with A-ColdWall*Nike, while designing custom pieces for South-East musician Greentea Peng, AGR knitwear is rapidly gaining attention from all once more. Labels such as Fendi, Max Mara and JW Anderson also made use of knitted fabrics this year, playing on tailoring and exaggeration in their looks. This season, underdog designer Reese Cooper also takes a podium on the knitwear stage, as he debuted a stunning standout piece from the How A Letter Travels collection. The iconic sweater is fully embroidered with an architectural drawing of the post office in the town where the collection was photographed. Last season provided a new outlook, with designers like Ashley Williams London, Amiri, Aries Arise and Reese Cooper showing off their knitting skills by delivering a serious showcase of eccentric patterns, neoteric colour schemes and never before championed shapes; Tie-Dye splashed, oversized and graphic-centric.

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POLO BY RALPH LAUREN HERON PRESTON

CUSTOM

THE NORTH FACE

GRAPHIC PUFFAS / ˈpʌf.ə / Taking a warm stance in 2020 fashion trends, we have the beloved puffa jacket. This perfect investment for chilly days comes in the form of a fashionable and warm extra layer. There are many great options, so select carefully amongst the new wave of graphic puffas. Keeping warm in the winter months should never hold you back from expressing your personality. Take note from leading streetwear designer, Heron Preston, who turned heads on the fashion week circuit with a python-printed, baggy, hooded jacket. Another crowd pleaser is the bold, all-over print puffa. The trend emerged with The North Face and later crept into the design houses of Marcelo Burlon - who debuted a blown up image of a multicoloured fantasy land on a quilted-down jacket and Japan’s Kapital brand, championing a paisley print on jackets and gilets. Creativity pours out of the lining of the puffa jacket, creating endless possibilities of originality. A darkly tanned leather puffer from Alejandra Alonso Roja’s 2020 fall collection stood out this year. Presenting a cropped silhouette alongside bold cuts, producing a natural earthy aesthetic. Another classic designer with a very individual signature style, this year Issey Miyake produced a bright neon yellow, multilayered puffer with detachable compartments.

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A LYX

B.B SIMON

A BELT REVOLUTION / belt / Belts that give you more are essential this season. Waist-wear acting as a symbol of wealth and flyness is nothing new, Skateboard P and Nigo first set the trend all of those years ago. We think it’s back for good, with multi-use belts expanding the traditional functions of a standard leather back belt. 2020 has delivered us the likes of B.B Simone, a breakout brand on the accessories scene. With their jewel flooded straps and cowboy buckles, they offer a statement piece, while holding your Evisu jeans above the waistline. Brands like Kenzo and Marc Jacobs delivered a combining element of a belt and bag, with the thick, cutting-edge style of catwalk belts on runways, taking a leaf from new-age designer Mathew Williams’ ALYX STUDIO whose belts and signature buckle are flexed by everyone from Bella Hadid, Kylie and Kendall Jenner to Playboi Carti and Lil Uzi Vert.

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COTTWEILER X REEBOK DMX TRAIL SHADOW

NIKE ACG

A LYX X STU S SY R OA H I K I N G

SOLOMAN X BORIS BIDJAN SABERI

COMFORT TECH FOOTWEAR / ˈfʊt.weər / 2020 has already seen some of the craziest footwear collaborations happen, beginning with Travis Scott’s rendition of the Nike SB Dunk that combined a navy paisley and horseback-brown treatment. Aside from star studded collaborations, dominating the approval of what’s ‘lit’, sportswear sets a new pace in fashion once again by providing the new wave of sneakers. The dad shoe is no longer a thing, active tech brands like ROA Hiking, Nike ACG and Vibram are now the new brands entering your 2020 wardrobe on a fitness flex. Fashion brands like Stussy and Alyx have taken up partnerships with activewear label ROA Hiking to deliver a new look in street fashion from the ankles down. Soloman has also made a comeback, linking up with German designer Boris Bidjan Saberi. Cottweiler is also paving the way with womenswear designer Charli Cohen, championing collaborations with sportswear giant Reebok.

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CATCUS PANT FLEA MARKET

KAPITAL

STÜSSY

CORTEIZ

LIAM HODGES

CARGOS / ˈkɑː.ɡəʊ / SS20 announced a recall for the baggy pant taking its grip on the utilitarian squeeze in a fresh, improved direction. With intelligent cuts and shapes, powered by a technical approach, the new season cargo revival offers vibrant colour and detailed patchwork for your summer wardrobe. Stüssy serves up a tie-dye rendition for cargo lovers, with the Velveteen Cargo, joining trendsetters and statement-makers Maharishi. The iconic designer label creates technical apparel inspired by military clothing, made in eco-friendly fabrics Since the All Saints years, they’ve killed the cargo game and reign supreme when it comes to this trend. This season, brands like London based Corteiz offer high-quality, printed, utilitarian black cargos for those donning the trend. It’s not the first time workwear has influenced fashion like this, yet 2020 offers some of the most finely executed cargo work - from the runway all the way to streets that inspired them.

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Catering to cool girls in cities nationwide since 2015, Ashley Williams has steadily climbed the ranks of British fashion. Forever serving up a mix of fun, playful graphics and colourful prints, she recently did the unthinkable and created matching knit outfits for humans and canines. OMG, we fucking Stan. Her spring summer collection is pure perfection, with graphic tees exhibiting classic cars and cute creatures. Her designs are often embellished with details, as seen with the SS20 cobweb bag, showcasing a fine spider’s web created using diamanté. Speaking of gems, Williams is responsible for those Instagram-friendly faux diamond hair clips spelling out SAD and ANXIETY. After graduating from Westminster University in 2012 with a BA in fashion design, Williams went on to stage her first collection on the catwalk at Fashion East in 2016. Her LFW debut came the following year, showing at Fashion East in February 2013. After three seasons, she went solo with her show in 2014, revealing her SS15 collection.

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Setting herself apart from her peers early on, Williams received the British Fashion Council’s Newgen award in 2014, later being crowned Elle Magazine’s Emerging Designer of The Year in 2015. Since earning these accolades, she spent the following five years establishing herself as one of the most important UK designers. Stocked everywhere from Harvey Nicks to Dover Street Market, Williams is an international bae. And her clothes are worn by everyone from Dua Lipa to Rihanna. In fact, research has shown that wearing Ashley Williams clothing will not only give you superpowers, but also increase your chances of becoming a global superstar. What the fuck are you waiting for?  ashleywilliamslondon ashleywilliams.com

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For years he made waves with his celebrity styling, I mean who can forget Zayn Malik’s robotic arm at the 2016 Met Gala?! Then in 2019 Jason Rembert embarked on a new wave of creativity, debuting his clothing line, Aliette. With splashes of citrus and jewel tones, Rembert takes inspiration from his mother’s heritage, in the Caribbean island, Martinique. Naming his collection Aliette, a name shared by his toddler daughter, as well as his mother, his designs are elegant and graceful, yet full of strength and power. Feminine and occasionally demure, while packed full of sex appeal. Following several years working with highly influential musicians and actors - Gucci Mane, Nicki Minaj and Issa Rae to name a few - Rembert often felt limited by his choices when it came to red carpet wear. While his fits are always fire, it’s his creations that bring the most life to the wearer, and so he expanded into design. Initially unsure whether to design menswear or womenswear, his decision came from his admiration for strong women, having been raised by a single mother. The duality of strength and vulnerability run throughout his work, as he creates fine leather dresses that you can’t believe are made of animal hide.

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Filling collections with delicate hand-pleating and honeycomb lace, the pieces are precious but practical. Initially intended as an eveningwear brand, Aliette soon expanded to include outerwear and separates, catering to cosy queens that love to get glam. Highlights from his AW20 collection include Ruby silk pencil skirts, military-style shirts, turquoise asymmetric evening gowns and metallic gold trousers. Speaking to Vogue about the show, he said “With this collection, I wanted to make sure that all women were felt,” Rembert said, “including the woman who has more than one woman inside herself.” AMEN.  alietteny alietteny.com

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One of the brightest new brands on the Parisian catwalk, Casablanca, has made waves with their eccentric approaches to summer tailoring and patterned silk shirts. The label’s founder, Charaf Tajer, channels his French-Moroccan dual heritage into all his collections and Casablanca’s latest New Balance 327 collaboration is no different. This is the brand’s second rework of the silhouette. In April, they dropped two summer-ready colourways, with green and orange motifs prominent across the trainer’s entirety. The tones on this release are far more minimal. Each pair comes with a white upper: one sports a solid black “N” whilst the other outlines its logo with a dark green trim - an ode to their previous release. Both pairs were debuted at Casablanca’s FW2020 show in Paris and signal another landmark in the companies’ fruitful, ongoing collaboration. Named the ‘Idéaliste 327’ model, Tajer’s sought after New Balances were instant sell outs last time. The Parisian’s latest adaptations are perfect for the pending autumnal months, so keep an eye out for their upcoming release.

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Words by Rachel Abebrese

Greek born, London based designer Mary Katrantzou was first introduced to the fashion world in 2008 with her infamous prints. After a number of collaborations with the likes of Topshop and Adidas, Mary has landed her talents in beachwear, extending the synonymous prints and striking colour she is known for into new realms. Mary Mare is the debut swim range delivered by the Central Saint Martins alumni. For readers who are drawn to warmer climates the news that this will be a mainline collection and not a diffusion line confirms that throughout the year Mary has ensured that clients will be fully fitted out in a collection of prints and colours. The first restatement dropped in April, in all its vibrancy. With prints featuring imagery from various beach locations, the prints are set to feature within their own right. Graphic postcards create standout prints that spark nostalgia, stimulating a remembrance of former travels. In a world that thankfully is becoming increasingly conscious of the environment, it’s no surprise that Katrantzou has confirmed the use of natural fabrics throughout collection, ranging from linen to silk-twill.

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Simple silhouettes for the collection have allowed for a compilation of graphic and colourful prints that appeal to a range of shapes. Katrantzou has begun to create ready-to-wear pieces up to a size 24. Many pieces within the range have a flattering cut, highlighting the move towards a catering for all females of all shapes and sizes. Wearable fabrics have been draped into liberated silhouettes, appealing to a much curvier audience. The tote bag and longline shirt dress in particular combine monochromatic repetitive prints with coloured stamp like graphics printed in blocks from popular holiday destinations. The colours really pop. And mirrored with the symmetrical prints, the collection includes great pieces to sit alongside other items in the wardrobe. The array of colours featured within this signature print allow the bag to be paired with almost any other colour, as the postcard graphics feature all the colours of the rainbow. The initial Mary Mare range offers an array of beach essentials inclusive of kaftans, beach cover-ups, swimwear, totes for the beach, sun hats and sneakers. Prices range from ÂŁ140 to ÂŁ1400.

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CORTEIZ C

1. NAKED WOLFE 2. VERSACE . 3 LOUIE VUIT TON 1. FRIETAG 2. VERSACE .3 LOUIE VUITTON 1. NAKED WOLFE 2. VERSACE . 3 LOUIE VUIT TON 1. FRIETAG 2. VERSACE .3 LOUIE VUITTON

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Who rules the world, Corteiz. Founded by man about town Clint, the brand commonly known as CRTZ remains undisputed in the rat race of fast, street fashion. From the streets, for the streets, Clint’s earlier experiments and creative endeavours equipped him with the knowledge to build a respectable base of individuals who engage with the Corteiz brand globally. Corteiz is a design-focused and community-led brand, championing moves in Lagos, Nigeria, where they hosted exclusive Pop-Up stores. Not to mention shooting campaigns as far afield as Morocco. It’s clear to see the brand echoes further than most and holds no creative nor territorial boundaries.

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Offering high-quality garments projected through the lens of nostalgic film photography and a rich cultural art direction, the vision is clear. Highlighted pieces from the Corteiz wardrobe include logo-emblazoned cotton track pants in a variety of sought-after colourways. They also flex a series of staple graphic sweatshirts, hoodies and statement tees, which are hard to miss on social media and the streets of London. As Cortiez continues to surpass boundaries, its values grow stronger and sustain the desired support from planet Earth’s coolest ‘kids’. Despite having a locked webstore for most of the lockdown, drops later gained hyped on social media before selling out in hours. Corteiz has also experimented with physical giveaways that caused riots across London’s Soho district. Corteiz’s brand attitude feels implicitly London, as they engage with their customers in a way a lot of other brands can’t, no matter how hard they try.

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How did you get started in the industry as a British atelier? When did you step into making pieces? We started in the industry in 2013, trading in traditional Fine jewellery, making pieces that included Grillz, custom pendants, and one of a kind engagement rings. Our experience and curiosity in design and goldsmithing combined was the catalyst for what was to become Milk and Honey London 4 years later - in 2017 we officially launched. How many talents make up the Milk & Honey team? THREE make up the business, SIX make up the team. Our team is like our family. We often work closely with family and friends of the brand on various projects too. Once Milk And Honey London was established, what was the first piece you sold? One of our first custom jobs was for international DJ, ‘Deejay Puffy’ from Barbados. At the time, he had just won the 2016 Red Bull Music 3Style World DJ Championships. We used this opportunity to show our creative skills in storytelling and intricate craftsmanship, by paying homage to Puffy’s roots. The piece was a Yellow Gold Bottom 6 set with hand-sculpted gold Tridents - replicating what you see in the centre of the Bajan flag - sitting on the two canines.

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You’ve created a great selection of grills and mouth jewellery - what’s your personal favourite to have made? DJ Puffy’s piece is one of my favourite pieces because it represented history and culture in such a simple but impactful way. Number 2 on the list would have to be ‘the White Gold Tierra’ which was a 2D concept that we formed into a functioning 3D ergonomically designed piece that would sit over the clients front 4x top teeth, it was tricky but it truly does exhibit royalty every time I look at it. Jewellery making isn’t simple, was it easy for you to learn and enter the trade?  Jewellery making isn’t easy for sure- people still underestimate the processes often associated with it. It is, however, a lot more accessible than it once was with initiatives like workshops, online tutorials, and home kits. The most difficult part of entering the trade has to be the competition, although it’s a big industry, the technical skills for making a well-fitting grill is very niche. Over the years it’s been a combination of taking formal jewellery making skills and working alongside dental technicians to get a personal formula for how we wanted our Grillz to fit our client. We can’t tell you the formula but let’s just say we can officially say we make some of the best fitting Grillz on the planet lol. For an aspiring jeweller just starting to create, what are the tools of the trade needed to make pieces? Tools for the trade for anyone starting out would be practicing patience along with determination. In terms of making I would say you have to perfect your craft before you think of making any money. Reputation is everything in this industry and mistakes are costly, essentials for making pieces are; plaster for your moulds, soldering iron, wax and wax carving tools. We know you’re based in London’s notorious diamond and jewellery Quarter Hatton Gardens, what does that mean for you and your trade? 

It’s a blessing to be so central within the city and additionally so local to other trade smiths. It’s like a small community, built off extraordinary talents and decades of experiences. Hatton is known notoriously for firstly being London’s jewellery quarter and secondly for the £200million heist that took place in April 2015. Being based in Hatton means we are part of a community that has history and first-hand experience in the trade of jewellery making, in some sense, we finally get to represent jewellery our way.  Milk and Honey is like our own language, we are redefining luxury and creating a space for it where there wasn’t one before, we represent the future of jewellery, inspired by traditional design and contemporary aesthetic- the new kids on the block in Hatton Gardens.  Being located close to some of the wellestablished brands and businesses like, The Vault, A-Jewellers, 777, and even Seattle gold once upon a time, it gives us a sense of accomplishment and a higher drive and ambition, to reach the brands

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that inspire us’ levels. You’ve worked with an impressive roster of artists and musicians. IAMDDB, Wizkid, Wretch 32 to name a few. How did you build a connection with musicians? WORD OF MOUTH and first-hand client experiences. Our relationships are built from the ground up, non-celebs come to get a custom piece made, and after having a first-class

customer experience with us, they then go on to recommend us to others, and in some cases, ‘others’ are music artists. Protoje is actually a great example of this, after seeing what we had made for Yasmin Evens over at BBC1XTRA, he approached us about a piece. He was scheduled to leave the country a few days later but within a couple of hours, we had him down at the studio to get his mould taken. It was surreal - we produced it within a few days

PROTEJE by Charlie Sarfield

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and shipped it to his team to meet him on tour. We’ve been in contact since scheming on our next bespoke project for the KING DIGG himself. Compared to the U.S., we don’t really have many jewellers that have a relationship with the rap industry. How do you feel about that?  This is shifting. We are in space that sees some of our biggest UK artists endorsing jewellery establishments, as opposed to jewellers themselves. When rappers get their pieces done personally, if they are happy with the outcome it’s hard to break that bond with the jeweller. What’s been the most extraordinary commission you’ve worked on to date? The most extraordinary commission has got to be the custom sneaker jewellery we made for Nike. We designed and manufactured eight different sneaker accessories to be worn on the Air Force1 in celebration of 35 years of the shoe release. All designs were inspired by the history of the shoe and pieces were limited edition and gifted to Nike’s VIP members. What’s the opening price for your custom jewellery? There’s not an opening price for custom jewellery due to it being custom. When pricing our custom pieces we have to take into consideration, the design and the complexity of it (as this will determine the time it will take to complete) as well as size, weight, materials, and the client’s budget.   Who, for you, has been the most famous individual to come through the door of Milk And Honey? What did he/she buy? WIZKID! He put his money where is mouth is and got us to design and produce a piece for him on the lead up to his sold-out AfroRepublik show at the O2. The piece was a Top 8 and Bottom 8 18k White Gold Grill, set with VVS D-colour white and yellow diamonds. The Top and Bottom centre teeth spelled out ‘SOCO’ -the name of his charting single at the time. It was wild working with him!

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DJ PUFFY by Alexander James

When did you start Milk And Honey and where do you see your brand in ten years? We started Milk and Honey in 2017 and wanted to be the establishment that represented Grillz culture in a premium way. We took inspiration from experimental design and that artistic curiosity grew and kept growing. Eventually, we managed to solidify where we stood in the market and where we wanted to go. The future of luxury redefined by us.  We see Milk and Honey London being the thread between luxury and culture, redefining opulence, sitting somewhere between COMFORT and LUXURY

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THE STYLE GODDESS HERSELF. Words by Rachel Abebrese Photographs by Kno One It feels strange to start an interview during COVID-19 without discussing the current situation. How are you finding things? I feel quite used to it now. I was definitely very restless for the last few weeks but now, it just seems like normal life. This week for me... I think it’s about week six. I definitely locked down in my house before there was an official lockdown just because I was a bit paranoid. This week has actually been one of my worst (laughs). I’ve fallen off with my workouts. I just haven’t been as productive as I felt I’ve been the other weeks. I guess I’m used to being at home and not itching so much to keep busy. I’m just feeling lazy and watching TV but I think that’s okay. I need to not be hard on myself on that for sure. I know that lots of people will be familiar with you with your work with Jorja Smith. If I caught you at a different time period on a regular day, would your schedule be really busy? Not really. I’ve had some calls with my agency just checking on me and I usually get that done in the morning or midday. I’d just be cooking lunches and making the hours go by.

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Have you been planning and prepping projects you would like to work on in the future? I signed to The Wall Group at the end of February. We had this plan of me moving into more editorial and working with more male musicians, doing more creative and fun stuff with more niche magazines just to show a different side to my work with Jorja. Then lockdown happened. At the moment, I’m trying to research different photographers to work with when we can all go outside again. I’ve been collecting different references and just schooling myself on other people in the game and looking at their work. I still have stuff in the calendar with Jorja, it’s just slowly getting cancelled one by one. Would you talk me through your journey? I moved to London when I was 18 and went to university. I studied English Language and I always felt that moving to London from Bristol, where I’m from, I met a lot of people that were really unique individuals and had their thing going on. For example, singers. At 18 it made me doubt myself because I really didn’t know what my passion was. I was at university studying English but not that into it and the only thing that sparked it for me was going out to parties and people would say ‘I love your outfit!’ or ‘Where did you get that from?’ just because I’d always thrifted and shopped in vintage stores with my Mum as a kid. It’s just how we shopped. So I had one-off pieces which I thought were my normal wardrobe, but coming to London people commented on them. I remember going out once in South and someone asked me to borrow the jacket I was wearing for a shoot they were styling and that made something click in my head. I thought, hold on, if you want to borrow my stuff to do styling, why can’t I just do that with my own stuff? From then I literally searched #stylist on Instagram (laughs) and stumbled across a lady called Luci Ellis, sent her a DM and became her assistant. It was all whilst I was finishing university, in my last year. How was your experience with Luci and how do you think it prepared you for what you do day to day? I think my experience with Luci was great, I was so lucky. She’s a lovely, lovely woman. She didn’t just teach me returns and pulling but taught me the business side of styling so things like PR, invoicing and keeping track of your receipts which I find super, super useful as a stylist. You are a business woman as well. You need to have that skillset as well as being able to put clothes together. She really took the time to teach me that stuff, it was a great experience. She definitely trusted me to do stuff that I hadn’t done before. I definitely had no experience when I joined with her. It works if you’re naturally a driven person. We just had a great vibe, it worked well.

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“I just do what I do and I guess, what tells me I’m doing the right thing is how people respond to it”


When lots of people start out as stylists they have photographers who they build relationships with and work alongside, was this the case for you? Luci had a studio I was working in that, whenever I wasn’t working or not at university, I would go there probably a few times a week. She was sharing it with a photographer called Leonn Ward, which was amazing because Leonn would be working on shoots in the studio and doing test shoots. Leonn also had an assistant who also wanted to start his own photography, so me being Luci’s assistant and him being Leonn’s, we kind of joined forces and did our own test shoots together as well. I was definitely in a creative environment and I think that in London everyone you’re around is doing something and has something that you can learn. Going out and going to parties is definitely a great way to network. How did you move on from assisting Luci to establishing yourself as a stylist in your own right? Well if Luci couldn’t physically be at a shoot, she would help me pull all the stuff and send me on the day. There were times where I was an assistant but I was still the only person on set, so I learnt that independence from there. I was also working in a vintage shop at the time. Fast forward a little bit and I’d finished university, was still assisting Luci and I had a part time job in Rokit on Brick Lane. Working in there, tons of people would come in. That’s where I met Jorja because she came into the shop and people would just really interact with us and the team. We were quite naughty. It was a very relaxed shop. People would come in and see our style. Everyone who worked there had a distinct style and a lot of people met me through that shop. I would help them find stuff and they knew me from that and trusted my taste, I guess. From there, Jorja met me and saw that I was an assistant stylist and she liked what I was wearing. She ended up asking me to style her. Our first job together which was the ‘On My Mind’ video. How was that experience? We became really good friends. She would come into the shop a lot. She would come and hang out with us after. We would all got to the park and drink a beer, so she would hang out with us there. I remember her texting me on my lunch break, I was sat in the shop in the staff room. She had only just started to release stuff at this point. She said, “I was meant to be shooting a video next week and the stylist’s fallen through. In know that you’re interested in styling. Do you reckon you could do it?” She said in the text, “It’s me, four other girls and it’s Kurupt FM.” As someone who didn’t have that much experience, it was very daunting. I originally wrote, “I don’t think I’m ready and it seems like a job,” but thank God to this day I just replied, “Yeah and I’ll do it.” I literally worked all night and day for about five days, managed to pull it together, pulled in every favour possible and that was when I started working with her.

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When did you decide to work as a full time stylist?

What kind of music are you into or does it vary? What are you listening to at the moment?

It took me a while. I was working with Jorja quite heavily. I’m not someone who lives on the edge. I like to have stability. People would say to me, just quit your job and go for it. It took me until Jorja asked me to come on tour with her in 2018, I couldn’t get that long of a holiday so that’s when I had to quit. I worked up until that point and if I hadn’t gone on tour I probably would have stayed working there because I was too scared I wouldn’t make it. I’m happy that Jorja is independent. It’s all within the family and so easy.

Backroad Gee. That ‘Party Popper’ tune is so good! I’ve seen him in the studio and it’s insane. His energy is insane! Young T and Bugsey, love them. They released ‘Plead The 5th’ recently, but I went back and was like, “hold on, you guys have featured on a lot of songs I love and I didn’t even know!” Like ‘Ay Caramba’ with Fredo. I didn’t even know it was them on the chorus. DVSN, PARTYNEXTDOOR.

How do you find working with the creative team?

I love it! It’s still not the PARTYNEXTDOOR I originally fell in love with. Ok, to say I love it might be an overstatement! But there are a couple of tunes I really like. It’s the same with The Weeknd; The Weeknd will never be what The Weeknd was.

We’re quite a small team. There are four guys in the band. There’s me, hair and make-up. We have a photographer and two managers and that’s pretty much it. We’re a tiny team and it’s amazing. We’re the closest family and it’s probably the busiest WhatsApp group on my phone! It’s so beautiful and everybody that meets us will always say, “You guys are super tight!” It’s really unusual in this field of work, so I feel very lucky that I’m with such lovely people. I’m always thankful that Jorja allowed me to grow with her. Obviously when I first started, I had no idea. I turned up on tour with these crazy huge overpacked suitcases and it was all a bit all over the place. It’s always better to have a family that always supports you and genuinely supports your wins. It’s priceless. What do you enjoy the most about styling? Definitely just seeing someone’s reaction when they try on something they wouldn’t have picked up themselves. If I’m styling a client, I always bring a wildcard. Something I’ve never seen them in before and something I think that they possibly could say “hell no” to, but usually the wildcard is great and they really surprise themselves. I love that shock on their face when they look in the mirror. In terms of projects, I love doing music videos. I’m definitely someone who’s huge on music, I have tons of playlists! For me, being able to put my visual side of the music with the clothes is a dream.

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What do you think of the new PARTYNEXTDOOR album?

There are so many recycled images online. How do you maintain originality or do you not need to because of the way you work? And what do you think is the biggest barrier for a stylist in 2020? I don’t know, I guess that’s the talent if you’re doing the right thing. If you’re a musician, you’re meant to be a musician and you’re a great musician, then your music will be original and it will touch people. I just do what I do and I guess, what tells me I’m doing the right thing is how people respond to it. Finally, are there any more avenues you want to look into in the future? Do you know what? I used to work in a school and I love the feeling of teaching people, especially young people. I’ve always said when I’m 50 or whatever I’ll be an old teacher and go back and do teaching. Possibly even teaching styling, opening up an academy or something. If I wasn’t a full time stylist, I would be doing something with the younger generation. Probably teaching or a youth club. Something that fulfils my heart.


FIN.

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THE GHETTO LENNY. THE GUYANESE GENTLEMEN. Words by Lily Mercer Photographs by Kno One Styling by James Loach Hair by Jaz Lanyero Make-up by Grace Macartney There’s many terms you can use to describe the man they call SAINt JHN - but none quite capture his effervescence. Neither do they define his surety and self confidence in his identity and sound. Maybe it’s the New York in him, the city shaped him and distilled in him an ability to create magic. He speaks accolades into existence - as he demonstrates at the Viper shoot, claiming he’s not number two in the UK charts, but pre-number one. A week later, his song ‘Roses’ is sitting pretty at the top of the charts. No mean feat for a boy from Brooklyn. His journey in the music industry began with the release of his EP, ‘The St. John Portfolio’ in 2010, followed by a mixtape, both under his birth name. In addition to his own music, he’s collected song-writing credits on songs for artists including Usher, Jidenna and Gorgon City. His style is as unmatched as his musical talent, with an effortless ability to combine sounds and clothing that many others would be intimidated by. SAINt JHN is on the brink of something big, be a part of it...

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DENIM SET, MARC JACQUES BURTON JEWELLERY, ARA VARTANIAN BOOTS, YSL

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When did you first realise you were - Sexy? Whole life. But also better dressed than the average person, was that something you learnt in childhood? I’m better dressed than the average person? Thank you so much. I thought you’d never say it. I probably just know how to take a few more risks than someone who just works at the train station. They’re a little bit more blue, black, grey. I’m a little bit more pink, green, yellow. Also you’re from Brooklyn, New York - home of the triple XL bootcut jean with Timberlands... I mean, the home of hip hop - the culture right? That’s where the whole culture started, but the culture’s evolved since - look at me, I’m taking off my bellbottom Gucci pants. I think hip hop is a little further than when we started. Being from NYC, do you think the metropolis shaped your style? I think I had the added advantage of being from a city that was so progressive. Like New York is one of the capitals of the world, no matter where you come from. It tells you what the culture is, or for a long time it did, so I think I got the benefit of being around the coolest things on the planet. The apple don’t fall far from the tree - even if I turn into a different type of [person] I would still be where I came from. Even if I became a different version of - blank - I’d still be in the lineage of being cool. Caribbean men are the most stylish, does your heritage have some influence in your style? Big time, I’m Guyanese - I don’t know how to describe what I saw growing up in Guyana, what the traditional items were but I inherited a lot, things I didn’t have to try or work for. Like I got on this silk shirt, this is crazy, what is this? Oh wow, I didn’t realise that had matching pants! Give me the red leather pants - that’s a vibe. Let me put the choker around the turtleneck. Thinking through your past, is there an item that was your most treasured possession? I don’t know if I have a most treasured item, but I’m flashing back right? Going back to my childhood, there’s these Jordan 11s, patent leather right? Red and white Jordan 11s and this grey Rocawear jacket

my brother gave me when I was a kid and I wish I still had it. I bodied that Rocawear jacket, I’d wear it to death right now, I swear. I don’t got it no more but those are the two things that distinctly stand out in my memories from when I was a kid. Or things I wish I had, I’m still inspired by. When it comes to performing, what role does clothing play? I think it just adds a conversation piece - it’s another detail right? It’s like if you were shooting a movie and instead of the curtains being white or black, you made them sheer and printed pink with butterflies on them, the movie would have a different element right? It would have a different significant piece of the conversation that would make people think all these details were more important. That’s how I think of clothing, I get to say things that I didn’t have to say with my mouth - I said more that day, on days I dressed up more colourful. When you’re getting dressed, how do you approach each morning - is it a vibe or whatever stands out the most when you look in your closet? I think at this point I’ve been able to acquire things that I love and purely be around the things in my closet that I love. I trim and I shed clothes on a regular basis and give things away ‘cause if I don’t love it, I don’t want it. I don’t wanna be in my closet looking at the thing I’ve had for a decade that I never wore - I couldn’t possibly have loved it enough if I didn’t put it on or gave it a shot. Because I’ve been able to put myself in a space where I just love the things that I have, I don’t think about it. I wanna be able to close my eyes, pick an outfit out with my eyes closed and know it’s cool because everything I have I love. I don’t care if you put that shirt with those socks or those pants with those shoes and this hat with this bag, it’s all gonna be something I love, even if it doesn’t look quite right together I know every piece is gonna have its own conversation and have its own magic and that’s pretty cool. With such distinct style, people see you as a style icon. So if you were to dress to go outside without being recognised, what would you wear? Black. No print, all black. I would look like Tank Top Tone right now, security.

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When it comes to making your own clothes, you’ve got two clothing lines right, they’re separate from each other. They relate, but yeah. When did you decide that there was something you could make that wasn’t already out there? I didn’t know that there was something I could make, from a clothing aspect, that no one else could. I had no clue, I think you’re just telling me now for the first time. I made things ‘cause people wouldn’t give them to me - I made things ‘cause we didn’t have access to anything. I made things for the same reason any poor person creates anything, they wanted something they couldn’t have. Or they imagined or believed in something that they couldn’t see. So designers wouldn’t give me clothes, it’s a shock now but before it wouldn’t have happened. You couldn’t ask them for clothes, they had no clue who I was or why they would believe in what we were trying to do so we made them. We made the shirts we wanted to wear. I figure, you cut out the middle man between you and your dreams and you can get where you’re going a little bit quicker and happier so that’s what we were doing, cutting out the middle man. I’m still cutting out the middle man, every time, every shot I get. Do you see this becoming a fashion house? Music is your number one, would you see yourself focusing on the fashion line as much or is it kinda like your passion project? I don’t have any passion projects, those sound like hobbies I’m too busy, I don’t got that. All I got is the things I enjoy doing and all of them I enjoy doing and hopefully I never get to the point where I forfeited the thing that I loved. I don’t wanna trade something I love for something that kept me busy or something I was

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interested in - I wanna love everything the same way for as long as possible. Music has a feeling and an emotion that you can’t get from anywhere else, I’m not forfeiting that for clothes. I ain’t giving up sound for silk and I don’t have to choose - all of it. So I don’t know if it will ever become the fashion house the way you’re describing ‘cause there’s a lot of weight behind the words you’re using, I just hope I still enjoy doing the things that I do. If I wake up one day and think leathers and silks and sweats are boring to me, then I’m gonna decide it’s boring and I’m gonna be ok with that. I wanna say fuck leathers, silks and socks, I ain’t wearing it no more - it’s boring, this is where I’m at. And if not then that’s cool, if it develops into something else then it’s cool. I don’t consider myself a knower, a forecaster of all futures; I’m just here, I’m just figuring it out. In real time right now, if it looks good, it looks good. It looks great, I’ma wear it. You’re number two in the UK charts, congrats! I am number two in the UK charts, has everyone in the room heard? Guys, I’m number two in the UK charts in case nobody heard. We’re pretty hyped about it because we didn’t even know there was a route to do this so it’s like getting an award that you didn’t know was possible for you so everyday we wake up we go, ‘oh shit I’m number two!’ We actually say we’re pre-number one. Do you feel kinda on the brink of the next stage? I think I’m at the beginning, I think you’re barely scratching the surface with me. We’re only getting started. If I’m fortunate enough to live a long life, you’ll be inspired for a really long time.


SHIRT, CHRISTIAN SEX CLUB

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“I probably just know how to take a few more risks than someone who just works at the train station”

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COAT, VINTAGE TROUSERS, GUCCI

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You’re multi-faceted with the song writing too. Right before the world knew SAINt JHN, it was just Carlos St John. Do you feel secure in having earned your stripes before you were a known name. Well I’m from Brooklyn, I felt this way before I got here. I already went through my gladiator training long before anyone heard my name. I knew who I was, I know who I am. It wasn’t song writing, or the music business or those things. You survive New York, you’ve done a lot - clap for yourself. So that was a lot in of itself but being in business and this side of the business, knowing that I’ve worked on both sides, and I know what I’m doing because I studied my art. I’ve studied the details, I know what I believe. Not because it’s what I believe but because I’ve learnt it through experience. That gets you a little bit of a... you can pump your chest with that - pause. Take away some teams behind artists and they’d crumble but not you - you’re the opposite. Yeah, I’m still the same human being, I’m fortunate - the luck, the magic I got is the people around me, my team we would all be the same people regardless of where we’re standing and that’s magic. That’s magic, all the players are the same players using the same instruments regardless of where you put them, how you place them and what time it is. Then it becomes the ’96 Bulls. It’s priceless to have people that want you to succeed as much as you do. It’s priceless to have any group of people who are comfortable being themselves, comfortable with whatever their job requires, comfortable clapping - think about that, most people aren’t comfortable clapping, they think it says something about them in a negative way. You gotta love yourself enough to love somebody enough to clap for them, to not feel like you gotta be on the stage in the spotlight doing the dance. That looks cool, let them do it. Nobody on my team wants my job and I don’t want none of their jobs, I don’t even know if I want my job!

SAINtJHN.com  SAINtJHN

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QUEEN OF THE MOTHER FUCKING SOUTH Words by Lily Mercer Creative Direction & Photos by Faith Aylward Styling by Kashmir Wickham Make up Monique Monroe If Shaybo ain’t 10 outta 10 then she’s a 9.9… she said it herself on ‘Ya Dun Know’. Despite her being at the youthful age of 23, the Lewisham-bred rapper has been stirring up the UK rap scene for a decade already. Her 2020 release ‘Anger’ made an impact, quickly informing the industry that Shaybo’s back like she never left - and this time round she’s here to dominate. With a face and body that could make a grown man cry, it’s easy to overlook her artistry, but with her ‘Queen of the South’ EP on the way, get ready to bow down to Naija royalty…

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TOP & SKIRT, OH POLLY SHOES, SIMMI SHOES NECKLACE, STYLIST OWN CROWN, STYLIST OWN

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BODYSUIT, PRIX WORKSHOP

“A lot of women have been through certain things but we don’t have the music to relate to the things we’ve been through”

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PUFFER WAIST COAT, REVIVAL LONDON SHOES, EGO


Are you writing in quarantine or are you chilling? Since my first video, ‘Bonjour Cava’ came out - I think it was September - I’ve been in the studio for the last four or five months non-stop, I was at the studio every week making something. So since I’m trying to put my tape together, I just wanted a break mentally so I’ve just been chilling and getting myself together, relaxing. I don’t really take time for myself, it’s just been music, music, music; so for me this is just a break and peace of mind for when the coronavirus situation is over so I can start again. I feel like sometimes people don’t realise artists are literally working all the time. Yeah plus finishing a project makes you extra busy! Yeah, and I’ve got some features that I need to do. I’ve been trying to get my project together as well so I have a few more songs that I’ve gotta complete. But the ‘Queen of the South’ project is like my baby, so I’m always changing my mind and making sure it’s perfect. It was scheduled for June, until COVID-19 caused delays. Can we expect a release soon? I’m gonna hold it back a bit but obviously I still wanna prepare it. Just in case ‘cause I have a video coming out, but it’s not a music video, it’s a link video so I’m having the team come over and they’re gonna leave the camera and the green screen with me and I’m gonna film by myself. Depending on how that goes, I really wanna build momentum with it, so I think I’m gonna push it back but I’m not sure yet. I’m just tryna go with the flow to be honest. What do you do in your down time? I literally watch movies, I watched Avatar, Avengers: End Game. I’m a movie person, I just chill at home and watch movies and when it wasn’t a lockdown situation, I just used to go cinema. It’s weird, I would go cinema by myself and watch something funny. I like watching movies, it takes me outside of reality. I can tell, you’re in the cinema in the video for ‘Ya Dun Know’ - was that your concept? Yeah when it comes to my videos, I do the treatment myself. When I’m writing I can imagine the video, so I just thought, let me put my history in - ‘cause I have 10 years worth of videos from when I was young.

For the people that don’t really know me and that I’ve been doing music a long time, I didn’t just come out of nowhere. So I thought that would be the best way to show that, me just looking back at myself and everyone seeing the progression. How have you managed to maintain such relevance over ten years? Because I started music when I was young, I had to go through the school process, the college process, so I was very distracted. Music wasn’t a priority for me, that’s why I used to start and stop but I feel like because I’ve been doing it for so long and everyone knows I start and stop, everyone’s always eager to hear what’s next. 100% I’m staying consistent this time but I don’t like to think about relevancy, I just do me and if they take to it, they take to it. But I don’t like to rush anything. I’m very big on the art of music and making sure my videos are perfect because I like to creatively be involved in the treatment of the video, my hair, my styling, the song… I give my 100% in releasing music.

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Your outfit in the ‘Ya Dun Know’ video reminds me of Mariah Carey in the ‘Heartbreaker’ video! [Laughs] ’Cause I was a tomboy, I’m tryna find the balance. Sometimes I’m always in trackies, and sometimes I wear heels - I’m just both, so it was really good for me to do both. Everyone was like, is that Shaybo?! You’ve got great style, do you like fashion? I wanna go into fashion! I wanna be a model but I’m 5’6” - I don’t know if they’re gonna have me but I wanna do my own clothing line. I don’t want it to just look like merch with a rapper’s name on, I want to do an actual clothing line. Even like some of the outfits I wear, like the ‘That Bitch’ top, everyone keeps asking me where did you get that top. I usually get my stuff from this website Dolls Kill, in America. So I always like to dress differently, I definitely wanna get into that, making my own clothing - that will be sick but obviously I’ve got a long way to go. What do you wear to perform in usually? When I first did my performance, I think it was Jay1 and Deno’s show, I went there in heels. You know the way the American rappers do it, I had a body suit but I felt like the way people were taking me in was funny. I wanna have my own headlining show so I can be more extravagant but when you’re doing live shows, it’s more about clarity and energy. In heels it’s really hard, so I think I need more practice but I do both most of the time; sexy and tracksuits. Do you see yourself as a business woman, more than just a performer? 100% I feel like music is a door in to other things you can do, like the fashion world, business, merchandise. I wanted to do my own eyelash company before doing music again, I just feel like it gets you into loads of different things. Like Rihanna, she started off doing music and she doesn’t even need to do music anymore, she’s got her whole Fenty make up line, clothing line. Music, I hate to say it but when it comes to females, it’s not as long lasting so I like to look ahead and think of other ways I can build an empire and still do what I love doing but branch out a bit more.

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Do you remember Rick Ross saying he doesn’t sign women because of the maintenance costs? Yeah, before the label I was sorting out my own hair, stuff like that. But at the same time, guys don’t understand what it’s like to be a woman anyway. And women right now, I feel are doing a lot more than guys; Beyonce, Cardi B, Megan thee Stallion. If you’re wiling to invest in a female artist it’ll be rewarding but you have to be in it 100%. Luckily I had managers who were ready to invest in me and it paid off for them. It’s just about people believing in your craft and people believing in what you’re gonna become but you have to believe in your self more than anybody because one thing I’ve learnt in my ten years of doing music is, you can’t rely on nobody. I’ve had to learn the actual business of music so I’m never in a position where it’s in someone else’s hands. I respect that, as a woman in the rap industry, you show a lot of assertiveness. There are a lot of bosses in the industry, especially female rappers. People are learning the business and people are learning how to conduct themselves, but I feel like it’s aura. Once you know your worth, when you enter the room people just naturally feel your presence. If you’re unsure, it’s easy for people to trip you up but if you know what you’re there for, you know what you stand for, it should be a breeze. It’s like big crown energy, queen energy - people know they can’t chat to you. But I’m cool, I’m a bitch but I’m a nice bitch! I’m a nice girl - I’m just very no nonsense. I feel like everyone’s time is going to come. I look at things from a different perspective ‘cause 10 years is a long time to continue doing something and just finally getting noticed. So for me, what’s another year, what’s another two years? I’ve been doing it for a long time so it’s just about being patient, perfecting your craft and everyone’s time comes eventually. When it comes to music, everyone’s time comes, if you’re persistent and you want it enough, you’re gonna get where you wanna go. Do you tend to write for women, or even to your younger self? On the ‘Queen of the South’ EP, I have a song called ‘For My Sister’. I have a social work background, I went to uni to study social


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work and through that experience, I saw a lot of the things I’ve been through in my life differently. I had to learn about manipulation, gas-lighting, psychological abuse, nature vs nurture and all of that. So my music is what I’ve been through in the past, where I touch on certain things. But obviously I haven’t shown that yet cause I’m still beginning, I have three songs out. I have this song, ‘For My Sister’, which is about the domestic violence and abuse I went through in my past relationships. It’s not really touched on, so I kinda wrote it from a sister perspective so it’s me talking to another girl. I also talk about no worries. I have a song featuring an American rapper and it’s about me being grateful for the position I’m in, me just talking about my past - look at me now, I’ve got no worries, everything’s cool. I have a lot of depth to me, I just haven’t shown it yet. But that’s why I take this project so seriously because it’s not even Drill. It’s me singing, I can sing as well. I feel like everything is gradual, I don’t wanna give too much of myself too soon. It’s rare for a woman in rap to speak on these issues, that’s amazing! It’s so close to home ‘cause I feel like a lot of woman have been through certain things but we don’t have the music to relate to the things we’ve been through. Because I’m a raw rapper, I’m kinda blunt with the way I rap. So the things I touch on, it’s a lot that most women will be able to relate so I’m just happy to have that voice and put it out there to the world. I feel like in the black community as well, domestic violence isn’t touched on like that. And in certain family structures there’s abuse going on but as a child growing up in that environment, you’re not really aware. So I pulled on my experiences of being a delinquent and always being in trouble and getting arrested, but then changing my life around and doing social work so I have experience in both and I articulate myself better with my music. You’ve got experiences with PTSD, is it important for you to speak on this? I feel like when it comes to boys and the things they’ve been through, people are more sympathetic. People don’t look at females and think we have PTSD as well, unless it’s about something sexual or physical abuse. But there’s actually women in the community that

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have gone through the same things these boys have gone through. On top of that, they’ve gone through sexual abuse and all of that stuff. I’m a female and I’ve been through it. That’s why I made ‘Anger’ but I wanted people to understand; I’m not saying go out and fight people, but now you have a [relatable] song. I want women to listen to my music and relate to it. I make music based on emotions so there will be some songs on the tape about anger. But there will be songs on the tape where you can see the peace in me. I feel like girls that have gone through traumatic situations, they’re very defensive, and they have a wall up so in a way, I feel like I’m like that with my music as well, which is why people haven’t seen the domestic abuse songs, me singing and all of that stuff. So when they listen to the EP, they’ll understand the person I am. A lot of people don’t relate anger issues to PTSD. My anger stems from a lot of places but ‘cause I had to learn certain psychological theories, I understand myself a lot. I feel like even PTSD, trauma, there’s a barrier. After my previous abusive relationships, now I don’t trust anyone’s intentions, ‘cause I’ve been gaslighted so much, I’m like is this person genuine? What do you mean when you say that? You know when you look deep into certain things? Overthinking like that. You worked with traumatised children from Grenfell, what was that like? After I left uni, I got a job as a children and young person’s worker in Grenfell. Most of those children, they lost family members, they went to the school as well, so I did a lot of trauma-based work and I facilitated sports programmes. I teamed up with the local gym, I made a program and thought of different ways that can help the children be active but also release the emotions. So I was doing one to one work with them and when we went to the gym we would do tennis and stuff. I was just trying to built a rapport and make sure they had someone to talk to. We did the Grenfell march as well. I used to work in a nursery as well so I’m very good with children. I feel like people are able to relate to people that have been through what they’ve been through, because a lot of those children were delinquents


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“People think I’m this boujie girl, but when people shout me out I’m shocked ‘cause I wouldn’t believe that they would listen to me”


as well; they used to get in trouble, they was acting out. But obviously that’s because they’ve lost somebody, they’re going through grief, they’re going through loss, in different stages. I was trying to help them go through the stages, some people were in the depression stage, some people were in the anger stage, some people were in the denial stage. It was just me doing one to one work but I found that because I’m so into music, it’s not fair to be that support system when you’re not fully there. Because while I was doing it, I was still making music videos and I used to tell them, you know I’m a rapper right? And they didn’t believe me. But I spoke to them and I quit the job because my heart wasn’t 100% there and it’s unfair for me to be there when my heart isn’t 100% there. Because at the end of the day, I get to go home and focus on music but these children they’re going home and they’re still thinking about the trauma. I felt like I needed to let that situation go but I still visit once in a while. You can always set up your own initiatives in future too. Yeah I was gonna do that in my own borough, Lewisham, but I feel like I need to be at a certain platform before I can get my voice to reach as many people as I possibly can. I have been to a few events to help support the youths that are making music and that was great to see. But there’s a lot going on in the world! Back to music, I was confused when people are calling you a Drill artist. I know! Oh my gosh, thank you! I can’t argue it, because recently I have had three Drill songs and one rap song, so my next single is not Drill. But as long as people can say she does Drill well, I’m happy with that. It’s just about releasing more content and showing everybody, wow, she’s more than Drill. But you’re not even just a ‘rapper’ you have an artist quality for sure. I can sing you know? I’m not even trying to toot my own horn, but I can siiiinnng. Do you ever plan what you’re gonna create or do you just go in and feel the mood? Most of the time I’ve been in the studio, I’m singing; I’m actually making a record. I’m very good at making Afrobeats, more Pop songs, I’m good at

making lots of different things. I’m so versatile but it’s hard to explain that to people, so I just keep releasing content. I’m just very excited for the EP to come out - I barely rap. I feel like I’ve had time to learn and that’s why I don’t compare myself to other rappers. Someone that’s been rapping for a year, compared to someone that’s been rapping for ten years, it’s different - I’ve had time to perfect my craft. If someone asked me to do a song, I would rap but I wanna go into music as far as singing, melodies, pop, afrobeats… I can’t believe you went to school with Novelist, clashing him in the playground and that. Do you think you both sharpened your skills with your rap battles? Yeah we were like cats and dogs though [laughs]. You see me and Novelist, we used to argue! We were friends but you know them friends that argue, that was me and him. We used to clash as well and we had a couple other friends that would rap as well and he started his Grime thing around the time I started off my first video. He was already doing his thing and he was teaching me, we was learning off each other. He did the fast Grime flow, so if you listen to my old music, that’s how I knew how to do that back in the day. He’s got old man energy. Yeah he’s always been like that, even in school he was always like that always! He was the voice of reason and was very educated on so many things, so smart for his age - always like that. Your school’s sick, they must be proud. Did anyone else go there? Yeah Russ, my school’s full of talent innit! They need some plaques outside. When I get my first plaque, I’m gonna send it to my mum and dad’s house, like “Look!” Are your parents your inspiration? Yeah, when I was 13 and I had my first video - remember when people used to burn CDs back in the day and have your picture on the CD? He did that and was like, “Yo listen to my daughter.” But then because I used to be so gang-affiliated and the things I used to rap

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about, he was always like, “Why are you rapping this way? Why can’t you rap about something that’s good?” My dad is funny, and my mum as well. She’s a supporter but she wanted me to go down the education route first, as any parent would want their children to have education as a safety net. So that’s why I went to school, went to college, done the uni thing and now here I am. Are they proud to hear you taking influence from your heritage, like rapping in Yoruba? Yeah but I was trying to hide the ‘Oya take back your fiver’ part but somebody told my mum. That was a long conversation I was not ready to have. They 100% love that, it makes them feel proud as Nigerian parents because they can see that I’ve embraced everything they taught me which is a good thing. It’s important for London too, to have London rap blending with other cultures. Since it’s the most multicultural city in the UK, why aren’t more people rapping in their native languages? Yeah, 100% but you know, In the next two years we’re gonna have somebody else - I feel like everyone’s starting to come out of their shell, which is an amazing thing to see. In the years of music, we haven’t had as many female rappers as we do now. I feel like everybody’s coming out of their shell which is a good thing so we never know what the next sound or content is gonna be. I’m really looking forward to see how music progresses because it always changes at the end of the day. And I bet Nigeria’s proud of you too. I was shocked because I’ve got Nigerian rappers talking about me, like what the fuck? How do you lot know about me? I was like, “Wait, what?” But I feel like there’s such a huge Nigerian community and people really miss that gap in the market. Like when I’m around my friends, they’re Nigerian as well, when we was in school, everyone has a Nigerian friend so I just thought, why not? Why don’t I embrace my language? There’s a lot of people that will understand me and the people that don’t, they’ll still find it cool and they’ll wanna know more about Nigerian culture and what I’m saying, so I thought, fuck it.

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What’s been the best co-sign so far, I saw Lily Allen shouted you out! I love Lily! I was so shocked when she was the one that posted me, I was like Lily Allen? People think I’m this boujie girl, but when people shout me out I’m shocked ‘cause I wouldn’t believe that they would listen to me. Like Jorja Smith, Antony Joshua, Wale, Stormzy, I’m like wow, I actually listen to you guys! Like Lily Allen, I’ve been listening to since ‘Oh My God’ - I grew up listening to these people so for me, it’s like “Wow.” It’s a very humbling experience and I’m happy to be getting that recognition so soon. Which shout out was the most significant to you? Jorja Smith and Lily Allen. Jorja ‘cause it was my sister’s birthday and I just tried to shoot my shot and ask her to say Happy Birthday to my sister. She must have sent me a video like. “Happy Birthday,” she said my sister’s name - then she was like, “Shaybo, you’re sick! I listened to your ting ‘I don’t wear long nails ‘cause it hurts…’” and she knew my bars, I was like, “Fucking hell, wow.” Hopefully me and her get to make a song together, I really like her. One of your freestyles got 20K views overnight when you were a teenager Yeah it was the first one but you know what? When I was young and got 20K views, I wasn’t happy about it cause I was like, “Fuck, my mum’s gonna see this and I’m gonna get in trouble.” Now I’m happy about it, now I feel like this is the beginning, even though I’ve been doing it a long time. This is me putting one step in the door, I’ve got a lot to prove. I need my own channel, I need the streams, so there’s so many goals that need to be met which I feel like will happen in due time. I’m just going with the flow - I’m happy where I am now and I’m just gonna keep moving. I’ve got some fashion questions for you... Besides Hennessy, what’s your favourite accessory? [Laughs] Ahhh but Hennessy’s my best accessory though - my dog’s famous! I dunno, my Balmain bag. Is that your favourite designer, Balmain? I have a few Balmain, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana.


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“Remember when people used to burn CDs back in the day and have your picture on the CD? He did that and was like, “Yo listen to my daughter”


What’s your most prized possession? It was my Fendi trainers, but do you know what? I’m so pissed off yeah, I never wore them trainers and then Hennessy went in and he just ripped it. I was trying to use bold hold, the wig glue. I was trying to use the glue cause it has a velcro part he ripped and I tried to stick it but it wasn’t sticking. I had to throw away some shoes I never wore and I was so upset with Hennessy, I was gonna sell Hennessy, I was like, “Anyone wanna buy my dog? I don’t want him anymore.” Everyone was laughing. Hennessy is famous! I feel like he knows he’s famous, he slyly knows people know who he is, so he does what he wants.

 ShayboMusic

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FROM THE FRONTLINES OF COVENTRY TO THE HEART OF THE GAMBIA... Words by Lily Mercer Photographs by Isaac J Cambridge Styling by Ruby Diamond Bursting onto the scene with ‘Frontline’, Pa Salieu sent a siren call to the music industry to sound his arrival. Hailing from Gambia, via Coventry, the rapper has already made an impact that belies his 22 years on this planet. As demonstrated with his latest double-drop of two new singles, ‘Betty’ and ‘Bang Out’, Salieu has come to shake up the scene. Bringing energy and influence that no other artist can stake a claim on. Expect Pa to be a big problem…

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HAT, TRAPSTAR JUMPER, TRAPSTAR

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“When it comes to expression, there are no rules as long as the narrative is there. You know Picasso, Cubism and that”

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You’ve had an amazing year already with ‘Frontline’ and then ‘Hit The Block’ with SL and Backroad Gee’s Party Popper [Remix]. What do you have coming this year? I’ve got just more stuff I’ve been recording. I’ve been recording a lot, got a lot of songs! So you’re using a home studio during quarantine? The studio equipment landed two days ago, I’ve got four tunes recorded already. I’m trying to teach myself the mixing and recording right now, whilst I’ve got this spare time. I’m learning from scratch, started three days ago. I’ve been on calls with Dre Skull, him and an engineer - that’s the only people I’ve been talking to in regards to the studio and beats and all that. Has Dre Skull been producing anything for you too? I’d love to hear you two work together on music. Yeah he sent me two beats - I made something to one. When you drop a project, are you gonna start with a mixtape or are you gonna do an album? I’m planning a mixtape, then after that an album. But the mixtape… I’m struggling right now - there’s just a lot of tunes, there’s a lot of songs to pick right now. It’s nuts! Why did you decide to learn the mixing and the engineering - is that something you’re really passionate about or is it due to COVID-19 lockdown? Isolation but I write all the time, I wanna be able to mix my stuff ‘cause you see when I make music, I’ve got OCD - it has to sound like how I hear it in my head. I had a session with Kenny Beats, he told me the same thing about Young Thug. Young Thug, he pushes a producer to the side when he gets anything wrong. He goes and does his own thing ‘cause he can, he knows how to mix it. I just wanna be comfortable when I record and hear it. I’ve got bad OCD with my music. Can you listen back to songs you dropped any more? I can’t listen to ‘Dem A Lie’, I can sometimes but only the first verse. You see I just started music so I’m learning, nothing’s on full effort yet. Kwes and JD Reid made ‘Hit The Block’, what producers are on the tape? JD is one of the first producers I worked with - him, Kwes, all the producers I’ve worked with - they’re all on point

man. Kwes, Felix, AOD. I’ve recorded more than 200 songs, it’s a lot right now. That unreleased song with you and Backroad Gee is crazy. It’s gonna be on my mixtape. It wouldn’t make sense dropping it now ‘cause everyone’s at home. What genre are you? I don’t believe in genre man. You just make whatever music you want? Yeah, I’m really trying to go for the impact with messages in my lyrics. This is not just music - fuck, I wasn’t expecting a million views, I wasn’t craving a million views. Coming from you know ….to what i’m coming from. I just like my lyrics to be understood - people to relate to it. The song blowing and everything… I wasn’t really paying attention ‘til now. I was on 2% before ‘Frontline’ dropped, now I’m on 3%. I’m happy, yes I appreciate what’s happening but I’ve got a lot more to show. In a way that’s probably what helps you always come across as natural because of that - you’re not trying to force yourself to be big. If I can sing, I’m allowed to sing. If I can rap, I’m allowed to rap. I don’t care as long as my narrative, my story - the message is the same, what I’m trying to do is motivate people like me from back home to deal with back home. I can buy 10 acres of land in Gambia for cheaper than any price here - I’m trying to build primary schools right now - it’s mad. I want people to get that message - there’s messages in my lyrics - there’s a lot of people that’s coming from where i’m coming from. Do you think people categorise you due to your lyrics? You know when I started music, I was still on road innit - even ‘Frontline’. But that’s not my only kind of music. I’ve got a lot of different kind of tunes, trust me. About life about back home, about my culture - I’ve got a tune that’s about black youth dying. I can’t release that but when I do, I don’t want to sound like a hypocrite because I’ve been talking about “mash that work like Rambo, run up in your bando” and that shit. But I had to release ‘Frontline’, I didn’t like it but in order for me to release those tunes, the explanation of why I’m speaking this crud. I’ve gotta bring out my story.

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Yeah, you can still speak on past experiences, it doesn’t mean you’re still living that life. You see when my mixtape comes out, what I’m tryna do - I used to do art like proper art, fine art paintings but you see when I do that, I want to mix it with my music - it has to be done, I don’t know how. But every song on the tape, I’m gonna have an artwork for each of them. You know how art’s subliminal what it means there’s explanations in art, there’s subliminal messages in art. I wanna have an exhibition after the mixtape release with ten pieces of artwork and ten tunes. How long does a painting take you? For one painting it would take me properly a week. Does creating give you a release? I did art because they didn’t want me in sixth form like that ‘cause I was a bad yout’. Them times I was a dark yout’. If someone wants to chat shit, I will not take it - so I was fighting every day. I made myself the bad guy, since they made me seem like the bad guy but I wasn’t. Art, I just fell in love with it! I used to trap the same time I was going college, I fell in love with art just like the music. I’ve never spoke to a rapper with talent as a painter, you’re special! There’s nothing different with art and music. True, but not everyone’s good at both… Nah they say they’re not good at it but there’s no rules in music, there’s no rules in art. I sketch differently, I looked at it as scribbles. The way I sketch is weird but there’s no rules to nothing. When it comes to expression, there are no rules as long as the narrative is there. You know Picasso, Cubism and that. Pree it, cubism - imagine them times you’d look at it as scribbles but that’s art! There was no rules, he didn’t do a proper sketch. It’s like Van Gogh! Why do you think ‘Frontline’ is the song that made you blow up? I think it’s because a lot of people can relate. You know every area has a frontline, that was one of the narratives why I released it as well. I come London, I went Manchester and certain

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parts I went to, I see a frontline - there’s always that side to every city; a frontline. A lot of people come from a frontline, there’s a lot of people that can relate to me you know. I think it’s ‘cause of that because there’s a strip everywhere, there’s a lot of people that grew up around blocks. My frontline is the same street as the school I used to go to, I used to come out and see things before school. Get out of school, there’s fiends, cats on the frontline. There are frontlines everywhere, there are a lot of people that have seen what I’ve seen, been where I’ve been. It’s crazy. My thing with the music is, it’s about the music. If you can relate, you can relate. It’s the combo of quotable lyrics and an addictive beat - it’s almost like a siren call. For real, man’s coming from Coventry - the victim of the blitz and that - all you hear is that, come on! And Jevon made the beat? He’s from Coventry too - I get your beat style now. I have no genre so I can enjoy any beat with any producer, I get on with every producer I’ve ever met. For me, it’s face to face with energy. I can clock your energy with certain people. When did you start making music? I started when I was 18, I went to my first studio, I’ve never seen a studio like that before. I don’t know what a studio’s supposed to look like but he had one of those big Bose speakers, not a studio speaker but obviously at the time loud. I was gassed - I was like ‘Yo, swear down?” I gave him extra, like can I stay an extra two hours to figure this out? I ended up staying there for time ‘cause they said I’ve got a nice voice innit. Got a few recordings done - dead quality but it sounded sick to my ears them times, I’ve never been to a studio like that! He’s from Romania, he was an international student at the time. It’s crazy, my man’s from a totally different country what are the chances of me meeting him at that moment. It’s crazy how I started making music, like even from there he went back to Romania, so his spot there lasted for two months - I didn’t find any more studios to go to but I still carried on. I used to put instrumentals on YouTube and write to them, freestyle, record, put a dead BTEC clip on


“Folk music was to explain our history and the story of our family; to understand where you’re coming from. And when I look at music, that’s all I do!”

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Instagram. Mandem would show love, my n****s would show love and people in the city showing love but that motivation got me to start investing in little sessions. Have you got a lot of fans in Gambia? Gambia’s playing my music with pride, that’s what makes me feel better - they’re looking at me with pride. I get messages like, “I’m Gambian, I’m in England. I’m starting to make music, can you give me advice?” Come on, this is what it’s for - of course I can! I ain’t one of those wastemen that can’t reply to a request ‘cause I still pree the request messages. I’ve never tried messaging a famous person but I would love to hear from them. The way they’re looking at it like man’s not gonna reply. It’s crazy, the pride part I’m not just coming from the Gambia, I’m coming from the roads. I’m coming from Coventry - I’m coming from a place a lot of people came from, you know what I’m saying? This could become good energy after I explain where I’m coming from. The outcome could be good, I wanna have impact like some Bob Marley impact, some 2Pac impact. But 2Pac never did melody, he did rap. Bob Marley didn’t do rap, he did melody. I’m gonna do both, I’m gonna still speak my truth and motivate the way I need to do it. I feel like you have what it takes to make music that has a legacy. It’s cool you’re mixing it yourself, would you ever make beats? Imagine if I knew how to make my own beats! You see when my song got synced with Ballers, it’s 50%, so imagine if I made that beat, I would have had a full 100%! I wouldn’t mind making my own tunes still. What kinda beats would you make - a Pa Salieu type beat? [Laughs] A real Pa Salieu type beat - the n***a with no genre! I’d probably come up with a new wave ‘cause I’ve always tried to do some weird shit like that - on god. I like the feeling when I play a tune you hear one verse and you hear chorus and someone will look at me like, “Is that you?!” I like that reaction. I have about 10 different accents, or 10 different voices when it comes to studio ‘cause it’s still something new - since back then. That’s why I say I ain’t ready, I’ve got so much to practice, to perfect. Even shows, I wasn’t ready like that - before coronavirus I had about 7, 8 performances already.

Right now, I’m still learning myself. I’ve been in the studio, putting a song on and just performing. UK music has been so focused on London for years. What’s it like coming from a city outside of London’s scene? Coming from Coventry makes everything easier. I know it sounds bad but my life in London is just for work. My mum’s gonna wanna move back to Gambia one day so if I keep this mindset, it’s gonna help me a lot. I don’t go out, I just go studio, come back home. I could count how many events I go to in London, I’ve been here three months now. And before that I’ve just been coming in and out for sessions. Gambian Folk music inspires you a lot right? It makes my culture even better, I feel lucky. Folk music is mad, it’s something England’s never heard. Folk music was to explain our history and the story of our family; to understand where you’re coming from. And when I look at music, that’s all I do! My aunty’s a folk singer - she’s big, she travels the whole world. It means a lot to me you know, I’ve got another side. There’s no rules, I don’t need no rules - if there’s melodies I’m gonna use them melodies. It’s not the same melodies [as the UK], I believe most of my melodies come from back home as well. Does your Gambian heritage influence you a lot creatively? For real, I’m still talking about where I’m coming from, the whole story. From when I was sent to Gambia, why was it a good thing for me to be sent to Gambia, when I came back to England I was pissed! I was a bit jealous of my little brother, like why’s my mum send her eldest son - I felt like an outsider! But thinking back, she did the right thing. I got to know my culture, I got to see my grandma before she died. I know a lot about my culture, there’s stories about certain people my grandma told me about that I can make a movie about. Directors are influenced by true events. I’m inspired by a lot of English things, I was born here so I have a lot of inspiration here. But at the same time, what makes me different is that I have a lot of inspiration from back home. I’m the kind of artist that goes into the studio and says, “I wanna make every music in the world.” I wanna explore everything.

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How’s COVID-19 affected your work flow, you had shows get cancelled right? I saw it as a blessing! Me, I thought everything was moving too fast anyway. Don’t get me wrong, I was excited [to do shows] but I believe everything happens for a reason. Me, I could’ve died nine months ago anyway, I’m happy with anything to be honest. Certain things make you see life differently - like almost losing your life. You know, it’s crazy! Like in the space of two years I’ve lost six friends already. I wasn’t used to seeing that at all, when I lost my best friend is when I realised. My first song was released September 1st. My friend got stabbed the day before but died September 1st. I couldn’t stop the release but I took it as a sign, I’m weird like that. Anything that happens, I take as a sign, I don’t gas about nothing - I’m content with anything, I’m a very appreciative person. You give me something, I’ll probably say thank you three times instead of one. Your real name is Pa Salieu, why did you choose your government name as your artist name? Yeah it’s me what? I’m not above it. This is my name innit, I’m proud of my name! I’m proud of who I am. If I say I’m a king, you have to be proud of who you are. Like I’m proud of my culture, you won’t find my name anywhere, besides back home. I’m named after the oldest from my dad’s side, the oldest son. He died my age, 21. He was the one that looked after the family, he got the first job in the house. When he got his job as a policeman, he used to look after the family good. And that’s what I’m doing, and tryna carry on doing. I’m carrying on his name, Pa Salieu. My name’s great innit. The person I’m named after is great - I come from a great family, Salieu means the highest one. I can’t use any other name.  pa_salieu

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“Salieu means the highest one. I can’t use any other name” VIPER STYLE • 93


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Eyes that reach Eyes that fill Eyes that don’t conceal Moments of red Expression of blood

Photography Jordan Hall @jordanthomas Styling Justin Rose @justinrose__ Poetry Tawana Michael @awana.mikayel

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OVA PORTY Photography Netti Hurley nettihurley.com

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DOWN BY THE BLUE LAGOON

Photography Netti Hurley nettihurley.com

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Cellophane skin Permeable to air I run through neither here nor there Look into me Are we not both like water

Photography Jamie A Waters jamie-waters.uk Poetry Tawana Michael instagram.com/tawana.mikayel All clothing and accessories from the AW20 Eastwood Danso collection

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Based in Minneapolis, photographer Evan Oak has made a name for himself capturing life in his hood, with gritty, monochrome stills. His analog images give the viewer a rare spotlight into a lifestyle bearing arms. Viper Style checks in with Evan to hear about his journey so far.

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When did you first pick up a camera? I first picked up a camera when I was 18. So about four years ago, but it took some time before I knew what I was doing with it. You’re based in Indianapolis, is that where you grew up?

What goals do you aim to complete in your career? In all honesty I don’t want a career as a photographer. I have gone down that route before and it almost ruined it for me. You have to shoot a lot of a bullshit. For me it’s all about shooting what I want and nothing else.

Yeah Indianapolis has always been home. I grew up and still live on the west side but you can find me all over the city taking pictures.

You shoot very raw and gritty scenes, are there any shots you almost didn’t take?

How did you establish your visual style?

No, not really. As far as posting it to instagram? Yeah there are a bunch.

Mainly through trial and error.

What’s the wildest photo you’ve ever taken?

Do you have a favourite photographer? Yea without a doubt it’s Estevan Oriol. Huge inspiration for me. You mainly shoot portraiture, what do you love photographing besides people? Believe it or not I love shooting nature. Also basketball; that was my first love. Your style is very documentary-like. Do you ever want to explain the backstory, or do you prefer the photos to speak for themselves? For me it’s all about the photo and however the viewer may interpret it. I feel the story is something personal to me and whoever is the subject of that photo.

My buddy was selling some Jordans and the dude that bought them had just gotten stabbed. The picture is of him holding the Jordan’s with this big ass blood stain on his shirt and a huge smile. How do you get such intimate access to your subjects? Mainly because I have known the people my whole life or because we have mutual connection. What advice would you give to someone wanting to shoot similar subject matter? Just keep shooting, and don’t be afraid to ask somebody to take their picture. Thats the most important thing. The best things in life are outside of our comfort zone.

Black and white is your trademark, do you ever shoot in colour? Not really unless I’m shooting stuff for my family. They can’t stand black and white.

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Photos by Fa & Fon Styling by Sunita Rai

Fast-rising fashion stylist and content creator, Sunita appears in our beauty editorial. Celebrating her Nepalese culture, which inspires her expressive sense of style and creative artistry.

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Words by Rachel Abebrese

With the UK on lockdown since March, the beauty industry went into a spiral with many women screaming that - amongst toilet roll and other essential food items - beauty treatments are most definitely essential! Fast forward to July and we’re seeing a lot of selfinflicted beauty regimes being employed by those wanting to maintain their appearance despite these strange and uncertain times. Enter Très She - the instant nail company, answering the prayers of acrylic lovers missing their regular trips to the salon. Beginning as a press-on nail business, today the company manufacture acrylic nails unlike any other, with a polished finish giving salons across the globe a run for their money! Created by nail artists, they’re the leaders when it comes to talons, delivering an array of trends and styles in a signature curved coffin shape. Personal Viper Gang favourites are “Hot Girl”, “Crystal” and “Pay Cheque”. Self-explanatory with its neon flame tips, “Hot Girl” is defined by a hot pick outline bringing the heat. On the contrary, “Crystal” appeals to any individual looking for a more natural style while still having the desire for length.

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Finally, “Pay Cheque” feels like the desired look for those keen to maintain that element of class and glamour when it comes to their hands. Metallic tips infused with pink add a pretty contrast to an otherwise hard look, verging on claws. All in all, Très She offers nails that cater to all. Handmade pieces come in three sizes for the perfect fit, priced around $34 to $46. all other nail styles range around $20. The long lengths can be trimmed or styled to any shape, depending on your personal preference and each nail kit includes application kits and spares, just in case you mess up first time!  tres.she

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Hackney based facialist, Skin & Sanctuary are the best kept secret in the borough. They may look like beauty therapists but they are legitimate life savers, trust me on this. As a Medical Aesthetic Clinic, they are the new face of cosmetic injectables and medical grade cosmetic treatments like the Hydrafacial®, Microneedling and Aquagold®. Whether you’re looking for a quick refresh or an overhaul of your complexion, they’ve got you covered. And cosy, with beds that are second to none, providing the perfect cocoon to relax in throughout your treatment. For those with problematic skin and deeper issues that a facial can’t fix, there are treatments like Dermapen and chemical peels, which have been known to battle cystic acne. Personally, these combined sessions resolved extreme issues I was having my skin and cleared my congestion. Check out their site and social media pages for information on treatments and get that skin right before the social scene is back up and running!  skinandsanctuary

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It seems like only yesterday that a skin care routine could be limited to 3 steps. Nowadays that seems as gross as only brushing your teeth once a day. In 2020, nothing less than 7 steps is acceptable; and “Retinol” is the most seductive word in beauty. Alongside “Serum” that is. How do you take yours? Vitamin C? B5? D? The latest godsend to hit the serum scene is created by amazing beauty brand Holy Grail Beauty. Their skincare range consists of a varied array of products including their incredible 5-in-1 rejuvenating serum. Super-charged with 5 of the most age defining ingredients on the market, it plumps, hydrates and brightens for a radiant, younger, velvety smooth complexion. Their products are cruelty free, made up of 70% organic bases so there is no need to have to choose between natural or effective skincare. While Holy Grail has a boutique range of serums to invest in, this one is essential in our beauty cabinets.  holygrailbeautycompany

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London’s Soho, a thriving square mile of suave faces, connecting the elite of the capital’s music and fashion worlds. Crossing the busy streets - brushing past brick and mortar locals - you cross the fine line dividing tourist-packed Oxford Street from Fitzrovia. There sits the famous Red Chopper bike that crowns the porch of Champs, Soho’s ultimate Barbers. Housed in the heart of the city, the Champs Barbers legacy continues to grow since its beginnings in 2012. “It was all a dream” says Ian “Champs” Hoyes, owner and founder of Champs, adding “You know the haircuts are on point ‘cause even Spike Lee comes to my joint!” Who can forget the fond experiences shared in the barbers chair since childhood? Here the vibes are set and the banter never falls short, unlike the clippers catching your fade as you sip a cold beer to a ‘Liquid Swords’ soundtrack. Champs is far slicker than your average barber, don’t play yourself and think otherwise. If the welcoming laughs of Champs’ hefty team of 15 pro-barbers aren’t tempting enough, or their roster of star clientele, we suggest you take a trip down and experience it for yourself. We had the pleasure of catching up with Champs Barbers during the UK Lockdown, where head huncho Ian, gave us a run through of some of his favourite passerbys. In addition to previous Viper star and Wu Tang Clan legend, Raekwon the Chef, Champs has had the pleasure of shaping up the likes of Travis Scott, Justin Bieber, CeeLo Green and even Tito Jackson of the Jackson 5 has embraced the Champs experience! Hoyes notes, “We have friends all over from the states including Omar Benson Miller, Paulie Malignaggi, Spike [Lee] and a whole lot of others.” Well what are you waiting for? Make your way to Soho immediately... Champs Barbers, 17 Riding House Street, London W1W 7DY  champsbarbers

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STOCKISTS

Thankyou to all the brands featured in this issue

TRAPSTARR LONDON FLAGSHIP STORE UNIT 21 PORTOBELLO GREEN 281 PORTOBELLO ROAD NOTTING HILL GATE LONDON W10 5TZ UNITED KINGDOM SELFRIDGES UK TRAPSTARLONDON.COM MARC JACQUES BURTON ONLINE SELFRIDGES & CO JEFFREY H LORENZO LUISAVIAROMA L’ECLAIREUR PARIS FARFETCH INSTORE DOVER STREET MARKET LA H LORENZO JEFFREY ATLANTA XHIBITION JEFFREY NEW YORK RICCARDI HARRODS LUISA VIA ROMA LE CONCEPT POP UP CONCEPTS ENDSTATION GALLERY CDG TRADING MUSEUM PARIS BOYSLOFT LUISA BOUTIQUE BRUNAROSSO CAVE UNFOLLOW UNFOLLOW OSAKA INNERSECT MJB.STORE EASTWOOD DANSO SSENSE ONLINE EASTWOODDANSO.COM ARA VARTANIAN 44 BRUTON PL, LONDON, W1J 6PB – UNITED KINGDOM BROKEN ENGLISH NEWPORT, 3431 VIA OPORTO #103, NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92663 SHOPPING CIDADE JARDIM AVENIDA MAGALHÃES DE CASTRO, 12000 PISO TÉRREO – CIDADE JARDIM NK STORE SÃO PAULO, RUA HADDOCK LOBO, 1592 CERQUEIRA CÉSAR BROKEN ENGLISH, 56 CROSBY STREET – NEW YORK, NY – 10012 AVENUE CHARLES MALEK QUANTUM TOWER BUILDING, ASHRAFIEH PHUG HOMESICK - STRANDGATEN 68, 5004 BERGEN, NORWAY

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