Legendary rapper of famed Wu-Tang Clan chose Vancouver to launch a design collaboration steeped in iconic fashion and music history with a nod to the genesis of all things fresh.
We sat down with “the chef” Raekwon (Corey Quontrell Woods) at Dipt premiere streetwear boutique for the official Canadian release of the Linx Beach Jacket to mark the 20th anniversary of his classic album, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx aka The Purple Tapes. The Jacket fashioned after the iconic Polo snow beach jacket by Ralph Lauren is available in two styles MK-1 and Mk-2.
THE BIRTH OF HIP HOP & FASHION
It was definitely in the early 80s, I figure when hip hop really started coming to life. We had dudes dressing like the Village People at first. Nobody knew what style they wanted, but then hip hop with Run-DMC, Erik B. & Rakim, Biz Markie, they had style, they had gear, you know what I mean? Ever since then it painted a picture for fashion in the hip hop culture and let everyone know this is how you want to feel, you want to feel good, look good in it, it just represents what you know is the real hip hop, and getting fresh is real hip hop. I remember days going to the clubs, everyone dressed up in Gucci boots, girls wearing bamboo earrings, dudes in Benetton sweaters, wallaby Clarks, you know spending money and just going to hang out and listen to good music. That was the life, the American dream.
ON DESIGNING THE LINX BEACH JACKET
We’ve been selling garments since ’95 – all the stuff that came with Wu-Tang Clan. It was just a matter of time before I started to do that on my own. We are doing it on an anniversary level, and also on a level to where we know that the product we are giving the fans is official. If you can get a jacket from your favourite rapper – LeBron James does it– why can’t Rae do it?
GIVING BACK KEEPS YOU YOUNG
It’s legendary man, it feels good to give back. My thing is we want to be able to reach our fans and let them understand that the culture of hip hop defines what your lifestyle is. So everything is lifestyle to me right now. Be big on certain things: sneakers, jackets, garments, all that’s a part of keeping you young and loving hip hop because that’s what hip hop does, it keeps you young.
THE IDEAL TRAVEL KIT
You know, a toothbrush, underwear, socks, white tees – the basics. Then get out the credit cards, get a good room, put on the movie channel.
VANCOUVER IS DOPE
I haven’t been really running around. I’ve been based in the downtown area. It’s a place to see though man, it reminds me of home. Vancouver is diverse, stand over here and you can get a tan, and go over there and fuckin’ go snowboarding. It’s dope.
NORMAL LIFE / RAEKWON MODE
You know, just listen to great music, sit down with the team, laugh, go to movies. You know normal deal, hang out with my kids, try to live a normal life. When I’m not doing that I’m back in Raekwon mode, doing whatever it takes to keep the music going, you know.