Sweet Badu

The new album from Erykah Badu drops Feb. 26th (may I suggest bumping it up to a more appropriate Feb 14th release?) and she's already starting strong with a dope video for her first single, "Honey". New Amerykah is Badu's 4th album and will feature production by 9th Wonder and Madlib among others. My 8th grade nostalgia is calling...I feel good about this one folks...

So light a candle, strip down to your skivvies and put your vibing robe on...Badu is back.

And since we're paying homage, I'll slip in an old school Badu too...



Judgey Wudgy was a HiPstEr

Trying to define the term Hipster often makes me feel like I'm trying to pin the tail on the skinny jeans wearing donkey. I can point hipsters out when I see them, I know the lingo, the humor and the overall vibe surrounding the subculture, but conceptually, the term is a moving target.

In the recent past (90's-early 00's), Hipster came to be associated with the angsty, ironic, Pabst drinking, Lynch watching, thrift shopping Williamsburg-esque 20-somethings. Please enjoy the following video for reference...

But times have changed. The current state of affairs on our concrete catwalks transcends all boundaries. Hipster is no longer just an androgynous gentrified-neighborhood white thing, it's not just an artistic or fashion or social thing. Today's conceptual Hipster transcends language, music, boroughs/neighborhoods/cities/countries, color schemes, dances, name brands or accessories (keep an eye out for the up-coming GLOBAL HIPSTER post!). In the vast world of Hipsterdom, then, what is it that unites them (us?) as a grand "subculture"?

(photo by Tone, The Adventures of Kesh)

Well there are many, but for the sake of this post, I believe there to be two important elements that tend to go hand-in-hand--one that the Snaps&Daps hipster audience will take pride in, and the second, one that y'all might deny. But I'll tell you right now, if you take pride in the first one, you're automatically guilty of the second to some degree.

In the 40's (though the hipster/bohemian scene actually predates the French Revolution) musicians used "hip" to describe anybody who was "in the know" about the blossoming (mostly Black) jazz subculture. Everybody in that scene was known as "hepcats." Subsequently "hipster" was coined to replace "hepcat" (I'm kind of loving the hepcat though!). This "in the know" part is what I'll highlight as the first globally unifying component. Hipsters have always been ahead of the trends--whether the so-called trends ever reach mass appeal is irrelevant--the hipsters found it, wore it, and listened to it first. They dug through bins, stumbled upon hidden treasures, and inadvertently (or deliberately) created "art". They may have done all this on a very small/"underground"/"alternative" (whateveryouwannacallit) level, but they were there. Doing it before you. Sorry dude.

Now, you can imagine what this "in the know" lifestyle does to a person (this is where the second unifying component comes into play). Some hipsters let it go straight to their heads and eat away at their humility like an acid wash on jeans. Others take it all in stride--minimal ego, appreciation for others in the know, network, perfect their craft, whatever. Whether or not you take it to the extreme or it even just crosses your mind, the second thing all hipsters have in common is the Judgment Factor. It might be as simple as giving the once over to the girl in khakis leaving The Gap, or as obtuse as the do's and don'ts from Vice (although we all know that those are always right...and entertaining). It's no question...when it comes down to who's in and who gets voted off the metropolitan island, hipsters will be the first to cast their votes (and their looks, with a discerning eye from behind their Cazals).

Don't worry, though, dear Hepcats, I don't judge you for judging. You (we?) can't help it, and I'm pretty sure I've decided it's not an intrinsically negative thing. Being in the know has some side effects, but lord knows the side effects to being out of it are worse. They key to humility in this business of Hip? Remember your roots. You weren't born with hipster, you were bred with it. Maybe you wore Sketchers in high school or listened to Chumbawumba on your walkman...remember black lip liner? Word. I should mention here (and mention briefly, because this could lead into a totally different post) that even with all of the top-notch hipster-breeding the underground has to offer, hipness is more than studying, collecting, and emulating other peoples' directions. Hipsters-in-training can only read so many blogs, or people-watch in LES for so long. Eventually all of the swag you've collected must be made your own...because trust me, if you're trying to cover a J. Crew soul with a Pegleg t-shirt, it won't go unnoticed. True hipsters sniff out posers like dogs smell fear...and you will be judged.

And to all of you fabulous, judgemental hipsters--until the next time, keep on knowing, check the judgment from time to time, and as always...


With a Little Bit of Gold and a Pager!


Last night Snaps&Daps and a couple friends rolled through the home of the hipster fandom, otherwise known as Studio B, to pay some attention to The Cool Kids. We've been following their bass heavy careers for about as long as they've been doing the damn thang, so we were happy to have the chance to jam in person.

The show started on a nervous tip with quasi talented openers who either barely missed the mark or were completely overboard. Like real soldiers, we stuck through the overzealous stage shows, hipster scenesters and annoying crowd shouters to kick a li' something with The Cool Kids.

Senor Mikey and Mr. Chuck laid it down with a couple new bangers in the beginning, and kept the hands moving with well known classics. Incidentally, I reclaimed what I held as my theme song last year:

With a surprise appearance (very rare with the Kids) from Mickey Factz, another S&D favorite, the Cool Kids' performance was a 10, as usual. Examine the evidence.

Nuff said.


Please Note: you peeped this on Snaps and Daps, not on Perez.


Chicken now, Friends Forever

It was actually everything anyone with valid desires could ever want: fly people, dope DJs, dancing, fashion and the coup de grace, fried chicken and tofu. Snaps&Daps. attended yet another Dante Fried Chicken (a moment of silence for KFC) event.

The scene was hot- filled with beautiful people, dressed to the nines with the kind of creative flair one would expect at Supreme Trading in dear ol' 'billyburg. Although one would revel to simply be in the presence of curve setters (i.e. trend setters, style mavens, cool-people-you-wanna-be-like) the best quality of a party like this is the sociability of the heads in attendance. It wasn't the kind of soiree where people are only there to be seen, to stroke their streetwear covered egos; attendees were there to get up with old friends and meet new ones. In this kind of creative scene, based on working with and being inspired by who you know, the social aspect, over time, creates a family-like environment.

We got up with Downtown's Sweetheart, Va$htie- gave her props on her CRS video. Other industry insiders showed face like Buttahman from MTV and Shunda K of Yo Majesty as well as upstarts like Snaps&Daps favorite, Thelophilus London (damn, that dude can perform!). We met Jennifer, a partner behind Faux Real, budding musican/producer/actor Ayinde and promoter/dancer Lama (pronounced lamay). Peeps were in full effect.

Shout out to Fadia K, the ATLien transplant, here to give make the perfect flavor out of Georgia peaches and The Big Apple. Homegirl is busy! This creative soul has her fingers on Comeupkids.com, the Broke and Boujee party ATL party and managing soon-to-blow genre mashers, Proton. And some how, she still manages to stay grounded enough to find her greatest joy in chillin' with and meeting great people- along with some southern hospitality, she's "finna" bring all that jazz up north.

Let this be a testament to all those confused by the utter coolness associated with these kinds of parties- the coolest part of the scene is socializing with the creative class that sustains it, that is the ultimate hip, not the attention that fashion and braggadocio win you. In 20 years, when many current brands have faded, what will still remain cool is your association with the creatives who, by that time, will have made a solid impact on future pop culture. In other words, just remember: friends over fashion!



Great in '08!

It's 2008! The new year, a time for new convictions, trends, ideas and dope things all around. The list of illness below are my favorite things that I'm predicting are fittin' to blow in the coming months. Dig it:

W I L L J O H N S O N// G O R D O N V O I D W E L L

This dude is what a bohemian/hipster/musician/genius/madman was meant to be, someone more concerned about art and creativity than skinny pants trends, drug sprees and the discovery of the next "new". To the contrary, much of Will's widely ranging style is post modern at its core, using the old (sounds, themes, artists, etc.) to create the future. When he's not scribing for popular culture mags, like Remix and Antenna, or playing gigs with his contemporaries like Guillermo E Brown, he's experimenting with new styles and old schools to compose the most soulful, intelligent hip-hop instrumentals since who-knows-when. Just imagine if Curtis Mayfield or Stevie Wonder called Brooklyn home and made beats...this is what it would sound like.

Check his 'space- sample some cuts.

I'm a little late to be posting on these, but it has to be done.
I wouldn't say that they will eclipse the popularity of the almighty Dunks, but Supra Skytops will definitely earn as much, if not more, street cred from sneaker heads out there than the usual sample of flyness on the racks. The famed gold pair that Jay-Z rocked was followed by a few dope colorways that proved absolutely fruitful. In '08, look out for these heart throbs and get the hat to match (but don't, really- it was just a good tag line).

Hypebeast, what up!

Million-C O L O R-Mania is O V E R

To the untrained/scenester fashionista, what I'm about to say is going to sound like heresy. This year, (super)matching is out and coordinating is in. Well, matching isn't out, OUT, it's just it's just a more diluted, better planned batch than last year. With the explosion of photoshop streetwear brands and the color-crazy sneaker industry, 2007 proved an easy year to find a pair of kicks, a t-shirt and hat that all had the same 9 colors. But that kind of grade school color matching is out for 08, the good look for the year involves a better understanding of color. Find colors that are related or in the same family, break up your colors vertically (hat- shirt-pants-shoes), use subtle accents to "match"- these kinds of techniques are gonna rock the next 12 months, as they should. So dust off that credit card and go cop those new threads (and NOT the hat to match!).


No more Chicken Noodle Soup, no more Toe Wop or Superman, the world is all cranked out and ready for a rest. Last year's dances were like watching your little cousin frantically run around your house for hours- completely hyper active and exhausting. This year, it's like your little cousin has gone home and you can put on your own music- which, if you're on it, will consist of players like Chromeo, Jupiter Rising and Calvin Harris- music made perfect for doing the honorable, ready-to-blow (again), two-step (no, not UNK). This dance basic has been in the shadows and in the background for way too long. Although it never actually went anywhere, it has barely been looked at as actively dancing, mostly because it has been overcast by frantic trends like the superman and the lean-with-it-rock-with-it. But remember, the two-step is one of the most swaggerific dances out there! It's simplicity makes for an artist dose of interpretation and can lead to some seriously dangerous grooves. It's the primary dance of Motown, the choice for the seventies and probably the impetus for your moms and pops getting busy. Embrace the movement.


This is a promise: we will get a feature with this dude! If you're tuned in, you know the hip-hop game isn't the same, rappers are made with catchy dances, producers are made by way of ringtones and none of them are actually "real". When I say they're not "real", I'm talking abou the validation of their skills as an artist and/or performer - you don't really get to see them at their usual concerts, the way it used to be when hip-hop was a less convoluted art form. At one point, it was possible to hear Slick Rick on the radio AND see him rocking a concert during the same week. These days, people actually credit T-Pain's voice enough to see buy tickets in case of a show. Not only have lyrics and wit been traded in for cliche gun talk and bullshit romance rap, the art of performance has been all but lost. As Theophilus' title track asserts, hip-hop needs a hero...and he just might be that.

Having seen this dude perform, I can stand behind every minute of his act- this is what a performance should be like. London delivers his words with a rare form of energy and theatrics that leave crowds in his wake fiending for more. On the indie trail, London is about to be the hottest thing since payday. I can just see you hitting up Myspace now- let me help:




Just a Touch of Wyclef...and Estelle

Wyclef killed it at the Nokia Theater last night. Opening with "Heaven's in NY", a mellow tribute from his new album, closing with a guitar shredding National Anthem and encoring with "Perfect Gentleman", Clef kept the crowd on its toes with our hands in the air. Pras made an unexpected cameo, taking us back to the glorious Fugees days when kids all got along and Roberta Flack became hip hop. "Fu-Gee-La" was followed by "Ready Or Not" (they skipped Lauryn's verse, which was disappointing but I suppose quite sensible)...and Pras brought back his 5 minutes of post-Fugees fame with "Ghetto Superstar". I won't get into every detail of this brilliant show, but I will tell you that there were carnival masks involved, Clef hung from banisters, did backflips and played guitar with his teeth, new tunes, throwback tunes, I was swollen to the brim with excitement, nostalgia, energy and just plain tomfoolery.

A surprising addition to the night was UK based Estelle (whose new album drops in February).

She sings, she raps...no surprise she'd be opening for Clef. Ridiculously reminiscent of Lauryn (or rather, the memory of the Lauryn we all knew and loved), she strutted around in black Louboutins, a dope short, low-cut military style dress, and a sassy haircut that we ladies all wish we could pull off.

She also has a videoblog that she posts on semi-regularly. This is one to watch out for--the big stars like Kanye and John Legend already know (as do a lot of the UK folks). Snaps and Daps tags this girl as an '08 blow up...and if ya don't know, now you know!!!



The New Oregon Trail...From NY to Non-NY

I have always been hard-pressed to find somebody of my generation who didn't play The Oregon Trail game growing up. Computers were still at their most basic, and needless to say, the graphics weren't exactly stellar. But nothing got our little grade school hearts racing like trying to shoot those stubborn buffalo or navigating the river while trying to avoid hitting the rocks. We got nervous when little Mary got typhoid fever, and knew that if we didn't slow our pace down from grueling to steady, or take a day or two to rest, there would be an unfortunate death in the family. The best part about this game was that it even had the teachers duped--the implied educational value of the game made it possible to play during school hours--and so grew the love for the game.

On my very recent trip back to Oregon (I just got off the redeye this morning) I tried to figure out what my home state had to offer (besides providing the historical backdrop for everybody's favorite childhood game) that the delightful NYC doesn't. Obviously it's not the over-abundance of tie dye, and if you think it is, get outta my face. Below I have chronicled some highlights...

#1: Coffee shops. They're everywhere. People sit in them for hours--talk, read, type--it's a culture that encompasses all age groups, races, genders, and sexual orientations (of which there are many in Oregon). People in New York do this too...but the coffee shops aren't as cute, the people are more pretentious, and the coffee simply isn't as good.

#2: Mom lives there, and she pays for everything. That doesn't happen in New York unfortunately. Lemongrass soup at the Vietnamese place? Sure! Need new headphones? No problem! It's a nice thing to feel 14 and spoiled again...love you ma :)

#3: Nature. Though I consider myself a city girl deep down, there's nothing like a little greenery to make you feel at peace. And Oregon is known for all kinds of fabulous...greenery.

#4: CHEAP Mani/Pedi's. God help any girl who would elect to be branded with that yellow color...but God help you even more if you paid New York prices for it. Cheap option for cheap thrills in the OR.

#5: Mio Sushi. Ok yes, I realize there are millions upon millions of sushi places in New York. But this nice neighborhood joint offers a mixed crowd (families, hipsters, etc.), smiley staff, veeery moderate prices, and drool-worthy sushi.

So...where does that leave me? I have no idea. Oregon has some good things...but as far as bragging rights, I'll stick to The Oregon Trail game.



Pumps and Dunks

For today's boys (and some girl's too!) it's not all about the uber tight, Maria Carey dresses or even the 24 inch Beyonce heels. As attractive as all that is, ladies are elevating the laws of attraction with the addition of a very unlikely article...sneakers.

Yes! KICKS! Today's hot girl knows that rocking some booty loving jeans with fresh Dunks can still get a fella to sweat her as easily as some skin tights and stilettos. What we have today is a correction of the nonsense that prescribed any sneaker fiending girl over 18 to be under the style curve or a lesbian- the Beyonces of the world can take a lesson from these sneaker lovers.

However, I do have to say, if you are going to introduce sneakers to your sexy game, ladies, know what you're doing. This is not an invitation to throw all the beauty tips you've been taught, thus far, out the window. Still, remember...tight jeans make the world go 'round (I say that with as much passion possible), especially now, with the re-introduction of colored skinny jeans. Wear them! Not only do they make your lower torso look good enough to eat (pun?), but they draw attention to the kicks that you've deemed good enough for your feet.

You CAN rock a T-shirt! But if you do, stay out of your boyfriend's stash and get some your own size. Rocking your man's shirt, which is probably much larger than you (unless you're dating a Williamsburg dude), will hide the curves you're working with. If you're trying to be sexy with a t-shirt on, make sure your tops still have a certain amount of cling- to your chest, to your arms, etc., and doesn't billow out like a moo-moo. Patronize the dope female street wear brands like Mama and Hellz Bellz for some options. Combine your t-shirts with coordinating kicks to show that you've got the brand new flavor in your ear!

Dimepiece is one of the absolute flyest brands mixing streetwear and glam. You heard it here first, streetwear luxe!

Even while you're being arguably more casual, still take time to accentuate your facial qualities as if you were being traditional. I'm definitely not saying to slop on the clown make-up- hooker-chic went out of style after Julia Roberts did it in the red dress. I am saying, though, to continue to add make-up that accentuates what you already have: nice eyes, great cheek bones, plump lips, whatever. Wearing sneakers, as opposed to monotone heels, will allow a lot more color creativity than most heels. Kicks come in more colors than Skittles and will ante up on more room to experiment with your facial colorways.

High Snobiety implies the dopeness of this combination

Still though, the baddest (not bad meaning bad, but bad meaning damnshe'ssexy) girls are the ones that have both sides on lock, that can pull from either page. Being able to dress up, or down, for the occasion, is sexier than being of the highest expertise in just one style. Show them you can rock the block or the club. Hell, you can even mash it up, think Beyonce x Nike Stiletto Pack. This hi/lo fashion fusion may be the new cleavage...almost.

Granted, mastering both styles is a difficult feat, one that takes plenty of soul/sole searching. I've yet to find the lady who holds in down in this regard, so I'm putting it out there, this is the new frontier, being paved by fashion forward females. I'll be on the lookout for the bombshell who can tell me Club Monaco and Flight Club in the same outfit, who can show me laces and cleavage in one gaze and continue to bring sexy forward.



The Dye That's Killing Me

Fashion is all about recycling. Death and re-birth. What's old becomes new just as often as new becomes old. We all know this...we accept it...for some trends, even welcome it with open arms and a credit card. Reeboks have gotten their second time to shine (literally), everybody and their mothers suck in and squeeze into skinny jeans (obviously this is old news), while Nirvana grunge/lumberjack plaid has made its way back onto the backs of our angsty, yet trendy, twenty-somethings...and to my relief hasn't yet made it back tied around their waists.

My qualm is not with fashion revival in general...but with the resurrection of tie dye in particular.

Having grown up 3,000 miles away in Eugene, OR, I've developed a rather sensitive gag-reflex for tie dye. As far as I'm concerned the only person with any excuse to don the psychedelic pattern is Jerry Garcia--although I'm pretty sure even he rarely did that--because I tried to google image it and the the best thing I could come up with was this impersonator. Not cute, but I'll let it slide for what it is.

I should say here, I am no perfect being. I am guilty of rocking tie dye myself as a wee thing (and creating the garments myself using dye from the local craft store, rubber bands and my dad's old hanes t-shirts/socks/what-have-you). I like to think of tie dye, however, as the chicken pox--get it when you're young, develop an immunity, and never ever...ever...fall victim to it again.

You can imagine my dismay when recently my good friend, fresh on his trail to discovering the world of the fashion sneaker, gchatted me a couple of options for his first pair. Yes to the first pair--funky dunks, a hint of color (and I have a weak spot for tweed). Yes to the second pair, some flamboyant women's Vandals that he threw in because he thought I'd 'prece--undoubtedly I did. The third pair was not such a hit. The thought that the rags from my past (vomit-inducing) scene could have infiltrated my current scene was too much to swallow. I immediately vetoed.

Note: In case you're wondering, my friend didn't buy the tie dye kicks, and instead gloriously elevated himself to a much higher place.

But it doesn't stop there. The so-called "trend" is has even appeared on high fashion catwalks. The Balenciaga Fall 2007 Ready-to-Wear line took it there, as did Miu Miu with their $1,595 Suede Tie Dyed bag (heinous if I do say so myself). Designers Marios Schwab, Matthew Williamson, Topshop and Basso & Brooke also fell victim to the chicken pox haze. Damn shame.

My point is this...

Go ahead and wear tie dye. If you live in Eugene, Oregon. Keep it contained within those borders--like how you stay at home and don't have visitors when you've got the pox. In the real world, do not wear tie dye. Not ok on Halloween, not ok with a designer label sewn onto it, and I've decided while writing this post, not ok even if you're impersonating Jerry Garcia.

Please, let the tie dye die.